NEW DELHI: After a US Air Force (USAF) pilot was shown in a YouTube clip trashing India’s frontline fighter jet Su-30 MKI saying it failed to impress during the recently held Red Flag war games, the organisers of the exercise have apologised to the Indian Air Force (IAF) for the remarks.
In a letter to Air Headquarters, an official of the Red Flag said it was the personal view of the USAF pilot talking in the clip and not of those involved in the exercise.
The organisers are looking forward for the participation of the IAF in the future editions of Red Flag, said the letter.
The appearance of the clip in the cyber space had embarrassed the IAF even as it was immediately rubbished. The clip shows a pilot apparently giving a presentation but there are no audience shown in the video.
The person, in uniform, talks about how the Su-30 MKIs were dominated by USAF’s F-15s and F-22 Raptors.
The person said in the clip how the aircraft lost out during dogfights and singled out problems with its thrust vectoring and the fact that it took up to a minute to arrange its take-off while the rest of the aircraft took only seconds.
The official, however, praised IAF’s MiG- 21 Bison which has been modified with Israeli radar, active radar missiles and electronic jammers. He claimed MiG-21s were nearly invisible to the F-15 and F-16s, a fact which was demonstrated when the USAF fighters had taken part in joint exercises in India. After the clip surfaced, the IAF took up the issue with defence attaché in the US embassy and efforts were made to get it removed.
The officials said some of the technical claims made in the clip were incorrect and it was a pathetic attempt to prove a point.
Aviation expert Pushpender Singh told to this website’s newspaper that it was unfortunate that the most powerful air force in the world was resorting to such tactics. He said the video was full of inaccuracies. For example, the person in the video claimed that the MiG-21 Bisons were equipped with the Israeli radar.
“It is wrong. The aircraft has a Russian radar,” said Singh.
The clip is being viewed as a ploy by the industry to prove a point. It might be an attempt to convince the US Government in ordering more F-22 Raptors. The US aviation giants Boeing and Lockheed Martin, the makers of F-16s and F-18s, are also competing with Russians for multi-billion dollar contract to supply multi-role combat aircraft to the IAF.