Did China ‘Bring-Down’ The Indian MiG-21 Fighter Jet Using Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Technology Near Pakistan Border?

Did India’s enemies use electromagnetic pulse (EMP) technology to bring down a MiG-21 fighter near the Pakistan border on January 5, 2021?

What perhaps assumes utmost importance, particularly, in a war-like atmosphere on the Indo-China-Pakistan border, which has been building up since last summer, is that an Indian MiG-21 crashed near the Pakistan border on January 5, 2021.

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The Indian MiG-21 aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed near Suratgarh in Rajasthan, with the pilot ejecting safely. The incident took place around 8.15 pm. “During a training sortie in the western sector, a MiG-21 Bison aircraft experienced a major technical malfunction this evening. The pilot ejected safely at about 2015 hrs. There is no loss of life,” the IAF tweeted. The IAF has ordered a court of inquiry to ascertain the cause of the accident.

Considering the gravity of the situation, on the following day on January 6, an IAF team reached Suratgarh, which is around 210 km from the Pakistan border to start the probe. TOI said quoting a defense official: “The team will start the inquiry into the cause of the crash and once they submit the final report then we will definitely know more about the mishap. The remains of the aircraft will be removed once the investigation is complete.”

Two years back, a MiG-21 fighter aircraft of the IAF had crashed in Rajasthan’s Bikaner as well.

To decode the usage of the word ‘more’ by the defense official, in order to know about the mishap, then it can be construed that India is serious into deciphering whether China has let Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) technology be used by Pakistan to bring the fighter jet down?

The claim cannot be put down as a mere exaggeration considering there have been a series of such MiG-21s and MiG-29s turning into fireballs for no apparent reason in the past couple of years, intriguingly close to borders with China and Pakistan or even inside India.

The grave possibility just cannot be ignored, particularly, when Dr. Peter Vincent, Executive Director of EMP Task Force on National and Homeland Security, US, in his report of 14 pages on June 10, 2020, had declared that China may also attack the US using EMP technology and that the country is in possession of even super-EMP weapons.

What, therefore, are the EMP weapons? According to the report, “EMPs are a new type of weapon capable of causing mass destruction by instantly releasing high-intensity EMP…They can interfere, damage, and overheat electronics, resulting in logic circuit dysfunctions, control malfunctions, or total failure”.

The report further states that “by early 2016, China had performed six successful tests of hypersonic weapons and by 2019 deployed at least two, the DF-17 HGV with a range of 1,500 miles and the CM-401, a short-range (180 miles) anti-ship ballistic missile. If armed with a nuclear or non-nuclear EMP warhead, either of these could perform a surprise EMP attack.”

The report was released just prior to when India had lost 20 of its soldiers to China and maybe, then it did not invite proper attention. But now when China is said to have used Directed Energy Weapons against India, as The EurAsian Times has speculated, such a probability over the destruction of MiG-21 just cannot be ruled out.

Particularly, when Peter Vincent had already forewarned that “China has great strategic incentives for a clandestine capability to perform High Altitude EMP attack by satellite as a means of pre-empting or retaliating against its many nuclear-armed potential adversaries—the US, India,” etc.

Although, the Indian defense experts dismiss the usage of EMP by either China or Pakistan to bring down an Indian fighter jet, saying “Such a thing is highly unlikely because there are no declared hostilities and apparently is a one-off incident, the cause of which can only be ascertained after the culmination of the already ordered court of inquiry.”

“Secondly, had China been capable of doing it, other Indian aircraft flying in the same region would have been subjected to such hostile measures setting a pattern to it,” one of the experts on the matter said.

Another expert The EurAsian Times spoke to said it was highly improbable for such an attack to happen as the military aircraft already have EMP shielding, which is old tech. He added that such an attack will require an enormous power source and was, therefore, impossible in the current situation.

EMP weapons even have the capability to destroy an enemy’s ballistic missile in flight, although its main advantage lies in destroying an adversary’s ability to fight without killing or wounding, fewer casualties caused by downed weapon platforms or aircraft due to EMP attack.

Defense expert, Air Marshall Ani Chopra (retired), told The EurAsian Times,

“An electromagnetic pulse (EMP), also sometimes called a transient electromagnetic disturbance, is a short burst of electromagnetic energy. Such a pulse’s origin may be a natural occurrence or man-made and can occur as a radiated, electric, or magnetic field or a conducted electric current, depending on the source. EMP interference is generally disruptive or damaging to electronic equipment.”

“MiG 21 is not a fly by wire aircraft. At best EMP can affect electronics. Maybe the computer that generates HUD display etc. Only if the pilot was to be flying in very poor weather and taking recourse to many independent instruments.

“Even fly by wire systems have redundancies. So in my opinion it is very highly unlikely that an EMP would bring down a MiG 21,” he asserted.

Notwithstanding, India has every right to probe this aspect vis-à-vis Pakistan too as China might have exported the weapon to its all-weather ally Pakistan, more particularly, when the war seems to be getting nearer in the Himalayas between China-Pakistan and India as there are day-to-day reports which suggest deployment of massive forces by all the three nations.

The latest to occur has been the move by India to shift its Rashtriya Rifles (RR) from Kashmir to Ladakh, as has been reported by Anadolu Agency on January 7, 2020. RR is the most lethal Indian force, numbering around 67,000, the highest in the world, according to one of India’s most prominent defense analysts, Praveen Sawhney.

The alarming situation on the Indo-China border has necessitated this massive deployment to the extent that India has been forced to shift its troops from Kashmir to Ladakh. Sawhney is also learned to have tweeted that India’s Chief of Army Staff General MM Naravane told him in an interview that “China is (now) the primary front. Rules of the game have changed.”

Chinese newspapers have been repeatedly putting that to ward-off the US in the South China Sea, the communist nation would need to resort to EMP warfare. Hence, India also needs to investigate threadbare whether the Abhinandan Varthaman fiasco of February 27, 2019, also rings the same bell?