Exactly 12 years ago, the same day an F-16B Sr# 83-605 from No.9 MultiRole Sqn shot down Indian Air Force Searcher-II UAV near Lahore. The Indian AF UAV was on a spying mission over Lahore. Such mission was of vital importance to Indian AF as both sides were in high tension on border and gathering any information behind enemy lines may have been game changer.
During the Operational Sentinel, which lasted from December 2001 to end October 2002, PAF remained high alert and distributed its fighting elements across various Forward Operating Air Bases (FOBs) and air fields and conducted Combat Air Patrol (CAP) missions across Pakistan.
During one similar CAP mission, two IAF UAVs were spotted near Lahore, both bogies took off from airfield in Jammu. Hot scramble was initiated from two locations Rafiqui Air Base, Shorkot and Minhas Air Base, Kamra. In the initial scramble by two Mirages and two F-7s; Searcher-II drones with low-radar and low-visual/IR signal were not spotted. Later an F-16B spotted the low level flying UAV at about at 13,000 ft. Sqn Ldr Zulfiqar Ayub and Sqn Ldr Afzal Aman flying in the F-16 opted for AIM-9L heat seeking missile for the kill. The wreckage fell off at the Dogran Kalan village, South-West of Lahore.
According to ACM Mushaf Ali Mir, CAS PAF’s statement ” The UAV was spotted by the mobile observation units when it crossed into Pakistani territory and was immediately gunned down.”
Today the wreckage of this UAV is placed outside No.9 Sqn Office and Mushaf Air Base, Sargodha history museum marking a unique encounter of a supersonic fighter aircraft with UAV.