The final tally depends on which side does the counting, but on a single day, September 24, 1958, the Nationalists’ Sidewinder-equipped Sabres shot down at least 10 Frescos.
As Red Chinese and American warships faced off in the Formosa Strait, Nationalist F-86F Sabres flew against Mi G fighters, including the new Mi G-17 “Fresco.” Cruising above and beyond the reach of the Sabres’ machine guns—weapons that remained basically unchanged since the dawn of fighter aircraft—Fresco pilots enjoyed not only superior numbers but superior technology. In late September the Sabres took on new, American-supplied weaponry—needle-like, 9-foot-long rockets that were barb-tipped and finned, with delicate glass noses instead of steel warheads. For the Taiwanese pilots the conclusion was inescapable, if unbelievable: The Americans had created a missile that could seek out and destroy the enemy on its own.
The “Missile With a Man In It” carried missiles too: Lockheed F-104 in Pakistani colors Maximum speed: 1,328 mph Service ceiling: 50,000 ft ft Wing loading: 105 lb/ft Armament: One 20 mm cannon, up to four AIM-9 Sidewinders On September 6, 1965, Flt. His Lockheed F-104A Starfighter was a high-level interceptor, not a down-low dogfighter.
He blew through the Mystre formation on full burner, at better than Mach 1.
The air battle was unique: primarily American versus British and French warplanes.
The Pakistanis were outnumbered 5-to-1, but they had Sidewinders. 9 Squadron, Pakistan Air Force (PAF), caught four Indian Dassault MD.452 Mystre IV fighter-bombers strafing a passenger train.