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Rafale ‘Shot Down’ by JF-17 “Thunder” in Turkish Exercise?

Not much is known about the air exercise, but some military analysts, claiming to have insider information about "Anatolian Eagle 2021," suggested that the exercise provided an opportunity for the Pakistan Air Force to test the real capabilities of its JF-17 "Thunder" aircraft, which it developed in collaboration with China.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — In June 2021, an air exercise involving air forces from Turkey, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, and Qatar called “Anatolian Eagle 2021” took place at a Turkish Air Force base in a coastal city in Konya, Turkey.

Among the aircraft participating in the exercise were Turkish F-16s, Pakistan was represented by five JF-17 “Thunder” Block II, Qatar had four Rafale, and Azerbaijan showcased MiG-29 and Su-25 “Frogfoot”, which had previously seen action in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

NATO, which Turkey is a member, also send an E-3A AWACS aircraft.

Several Turkish media outlets reported that Malaysia had sent its air force officers to the exercise as observers.

The “Anatolian Eagle” exercise is an annual training aimed at enhancing the capabilities and understanding among the air forces of the participating countries through the execution of various tactics simulating air combat scenarios.

Rafale
Qatar’s Rafale during Anatolian Eagle 2021

 

Systems like the Post Mission Analysis System and Air Combat Maneuvering System (ACMI) were also used in the “Anatolian Eagle 2021” exercise.

Not much is known about the air exercise, but some military analysts, claiming to have insider information about “Anatolian Eagle 2021,” suggested that the exercise provided an opportunity for the Pakistan Air Force to test the real capabilities of its JF-17 “Thunder” aircraft, which it developed in collaboration with China.

 It also helped them assess the true capabilities of the JF-17 “Thunder” in air combat simulations, especially against the Dassault Rafale aircraft of the Qatar Air Force, which is also used by the Indian Air Force.

The key point was that Islamabad wanted to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the JF-17 aircraft when pitted against the Rafale aircraft fielded by the Qatar Air Force in air combat simulations during the annual exercise.

The “Anatolian Eagle 2021” exercise provided a significant opportunity for the Pakistan Air Force to test the real capabilities of the JF-17 aircraft it developed in collaboration with China, particularly when facing off against the Rafale aircraft now operated by its traditional adversary, the Indian Air Force.

JF-17
JF-17 “Thunder”

 

In addition to facing Rafale aircraft, the JF-17 also encountered MiG-29 aircraft brought by the Azerbaijani Air Force during the Anatolian Eagle exercise.

According to reports by defense analysts with insider information about the “Anatolian Eagle 2021” exercise, the JF-17 Thunder aircraft performed quite well in air combat simulations against the Rafale aircraft of the Qatar Air Force.

Sources said that the “kill ratio” of JF-17 aircraft against the Qatar Rafale aircraft was 6:2, meaning that the JF-17 Block II aircraft from Pakistan “shot down” the Qatar Rafales six times compared to only two losses in air combat simulations during the exercise.

This conclusion was made by defense analysts based on unconfirmed sources.

Whether the JF-17 Thunder aircraft managed to “kill” much more advanced and modern Rafale aircraft in the Turkish exercise is still a subject of debate.

Anatolian
Azerbaijan’s MiG-29 aircraft

 

However, it’s important to approach the statements from defense analysts with caution, as they could potentially be part of Pakistan’s psychological warfare strategy to undermine the morale of the Indian Air Force, which used Rafale manufactured by a French company, Dassault Aviation.

There is also a possibility that the positive statements about the “excellent performance of the JF-17 Thunder” are likely a form of “marketing” using internal sources to promote the capabilities of the Pakistan-China-made aircraft.

Nevertheless, there is also a possibility that the information provided by those sources is accurate. – DSA

DEFENCE  SECURITY ASIA APPS

 

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