“Sher Dil” Pakistan’s Top Gun | World Defense

“Sher Dil” Pakistan’s Top Gun


Dec 20, 2017
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Here’s a scene from a movie that someone has dubbed “Pakistan’s response to Top Gun”.

Disclaimer: I’ve not watched the whole movie so I have no idea what the rest looks like. You can find plenty of reviews online, though.
“Sher Dil” (Urdu for “Lion Heart”) is a Pakistani action movie released on Mar. 22, 2019.
The film tells the story of a young pilot, Haris Mustafa, the grandson of Pakistan Air Force hero pilot who died in a PAF F-86 Sabre during clashes with Indian Gnat fighters in 1965. The young Mustafa wants to become a combat pilot so he joins the PAF Academy and, long story short, he eventually becomes a fighter jock flying the JF-17 Thunder, Pakistan’s most advanced combat aircraft.
The JF-17 is a lightweight, single-engine, multi-role combat aircraft developed from a joint venture between the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) of China. It’s considered a 4th Gen. fighter If confirmed, this would be the first kill of an aircraft by the JF-17 (the Thunder shot down an Iranian spy drone in 2017).
One of the scenes of Sher Dil, a movie that some Asian media outlets called “Pakistan’s response to Top Gun” shows a dogfight between two PAF JF-17s and two Indian Air Force Mirage 2000s, a scene that may bring to your mind what happened earlier in the morning in the skies over Kashmir during clashes between Indian and Pakistani jets on Feb. 26-27, 2019.
As you may recall, the Indian Air Force launched airstrikes on terror camps across the Line of Control at the border between India and Pakistan. The raid was carried out in response to the suicide attack that killed 40 CPRF (Central Reserve Police Force – the largest of India’s Central Armed Police Forces) soldiers earlier that month. As a consequence of the Indian air strikes, the Pakistani launched retaliatory raids across the Line Of Control (LoC). During such missions, IAF and PAF jets were involved in aerial clashes over Kashmir whose outcomes are still unclear.
All the details of what happened in those days are contested, so much so it’s impossible to get a clear idea of what has really happened based on a lot of conflicting claims. While some of these could be easily debunked, others couldn’t be verified. We are not even sure a certain kind of aircraft took part to the skirmishes or not, even though both sides provided pretty detailed accounts.
As explained back then, the only fact, that has been confirmed by both sides, is that an IAF MiG-21 Bison was shot down and its pilot captured by the Pakistani forces. We don’t even know for sure which kind of aircraft downed the Indian Fishbed derivative: some sources claim if was a JF-17 Thunder, others say it was an F-16.
With this in mind, the Sher Dil scene below shows two IAF Mirage 2000s intruding into Pakistani airspace and causing the PAF to scramble two JF-17s to intercept them. The short clip is interesting as it provides a glimpse into Minhas Airbase, located to the northwest of Islamabad, homebase to the 16(MR)sq “Black Panthers” of the Pakistani Air Force. Unfortunately, after the 00:47 mark, all the flying scene is CGI. Still, the initial footage, that shows the pilots scrambling to the jets, strapping into the cockpit and taking off for the intercept mission, show the JF-17 Thunder pilots’ helmet, flight gear, patches and some other pretty rare and cool details.
In this case, the outcome of the aerial engagement is clear but if you read some reviews, you’ll find out that Sher Dil, released less than one month after the clashes over Kashmir, is more a story of cameraderie and unexpected friendship between Pakistani and Indian pilots than war between the two rival nations.


Staff member
Nov 17, 2017
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Some of you might be interested in these comments by General Chuck Horner (retd.)

General Chuck commanded the US and allied air assets during Desert shield and desert storm, and was responsible for the design and execution of one of the most devastating air campaigns in the history.

He also served as Commander 9th Air Force, Commander US Central Command Air Forces, and Commander in chief, SpaceCom.
Book: Every Man A Tiger.

Every Man A Tiger:

"Iraqi pilot training came from three sources: France, Pakistan and the former Soviet Union. Lucky for us, Soviet training proved dominant, with their emphisis on rigid rules,strict command arrangements and standardized tactics. Coupled with this centralized
approach, the Soviets were suspicious of non- Russians and disliked Arabs. The Iraqi students were taught to take off and land their aircrafts safely, but otherwise their training was so basic, so lacking in advanced tactics, as to be useless. There was however a wild card. Not all Iraqi training came from the Russians.

Iraqi pilots, were trained well by their French and Pakistani instructors. Pakistan has one of the best, most combat ready airforces in the world. They have to; their neighbour to the east is huge, and the two nations, have a long history of hostilities. For Indian war planners, the Pakistan air Force is their worst fear. Pakistani pilots are respected throughout the world, especially the Islamic world, beause they know how to fly and fight

On one or two occasions, I had the oppertunity to talk with Pakistani instructor pilots, who had served in Iraq. These discussions, didn't give me great cause to worry. The Russian domination of training prevented the Pakistanis from having any real influence on the Iraqi aircrew training program.

Still, there had to be a few Iraqi pilots, who had observed and listened to their mentors from France and Pakistan and the useless guidence of their inept leaders. It was those few, I was concerned about - the ones with great situational awareness and good eyesight, who had figured out how to effectively use their aircraft and its weapons to defend their nation."

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