Undercast clouds prevented IAF from acquiring real time Balakot airstrikes footage

The Hush Post | 14:34 | two-minute read|

The February 26 Balakot airstrikes on the Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist camp was a big time victory of the Indian Air Force. But since the IAF had not shown any video proof of the strike, a few had raised questions over the operation and if the strikes did take place?

The lack of video and photographic evidence proved to be problematic for the Indian Air Force, especially, when the satellite images of the Jaish camp was released by the IAF which appears to show intact structures with only a handful of signs of clear bomb damage.

According to Adrian Zevenbergen, the Managing Director of European Space Imaging, which released an image of the Jaish camp a day after the IAF attack, “The image captured with Worldview-2 of the buildings in question showed no evidence of a bombing having occurred. There are no sign of scorching, no large distinguishable holes in the roofs of buildings and no signs of stress to the surrounding vegetation.”

The IAF review of the strike on Jaish camp confirms that any video evidence could not be produced because the Crystal Maze, the key Israeli air-to-surface missile, which would have provided a live video feed of the weapons hitting their targets, was not launched.

In the review, the IAF said that its bombs struck their targets accurately and destroyed targets within the Jaish terror base located near the town of Brisian, north of Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunwa province.

At the same time the IAF’s Mirage 2000 fighters which made a shallow incursion across the Line of Control on February 26, did manage to launch five SPICE 2000 penetrator glide bombs and struck their targets accurately.

However, they did not bring down the buildings they struck and since the SPICE 2000 glide bombs were not configured to provide the launch aircraft a live video feed as they approached and struck their targets, the video evidence which the IAF hoped to play out in public after the attack, could not be acquired.

Consequently, the IAF could not play out actual video of the strike in public. The assessment of the strike’s success was made through high-resolution satellite images which were procured from a friendly strategic partner and confidentiality clauses have prevented the IAF from showcasing these images in public.

An NDTV report says that the presence of low clouds prevented the launch of six Crystal Maze missiles meant to accompany the SPICE 2000 glide-bombs. The IAF planned to use the Crystal Maze in conjunction with the SPICE 2000 penetrator bombs. The Crystal Maze was meant to target the top floor and the SPICE for the first and ground floors. Used together, the smart weapons were meant to comprehensively eliminate all the terrorists and bring down the entire structure.

According to the NDTV, “The weather conditions of undercast clouding precluded this. Once launched ‘The Crystal Maze requires acquisition of the target visually by the pilot of the launching platform to manually steer it to its precise point of impact trough an electronic data-link- between the launch aircraft with the weapon.”

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