On February 28, the Indian authorities showcased the wreckage of a US-made beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile that was reportedly launched by a Pakistani warplane during an aerial engagement over the Line of Control (LoC) in the region of Kashmir a day earlier.
The missile was identified as the AIM-120C-5 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM), which has a range of more than 105km and an active radar seeker. The Pakistani Air Force (PAF) is known for arming its F-16s with this type of missiles.
According to the Economist Times, the PAF F-16 launched the AIM-120 during an aerial engagement with a Mig-21 Bison of the Indian Air Force (IAF). However, the missile missed its target.
According to an Indian version of the events, wing commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was reportedly flying in the targeted Mig-21 Bison, escapted the AIM-120 and engaged the PAF F-16 and fired a Russian-made R-73 missile at it, effectively shooting it down.
All of these claims were dismissed by Pakistan, whose air force shoot down two warplanes of the IAF over the Pakistani-controlled part of Kashmir on February 28.
The escalation between the two nuclear-armed nations began on February 14, when a suicide bombing in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir killed 42 Indian paramilitary soldiers and injured many others. The attack provoked a fierce response by India, which bombed an alleged military camp of the attackers within Pakistan territory.
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