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Fact-check: Is this a video of Pakistani fighter jets?

July 23, 2019
Fact-check: Is this a video of Pakistani fighter jets?

A video of two fighter jets flying close together has been viewed millions of times in multiple Facebook posts which claim the planes are Pakistani. The claim is false; the aircraft are computer-generated Russian jets in a video game.

The 35-second video was shared in this Facebook post on March 4, 2019.

It has been viewed more than 2.7 million times and shared more than 144,000 times.

The post’s caption in Urdu translates to English as: “These are called extremely brave Pakistanis. Share it so much it reaches India”.

Below is a screenshot of the misleading Facebook post:

The same video has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times in other Facebook posts alongside the same claim, for example herehere and here.

The claim is false; the aircraft seen in the footage are computer-generated Russian jets in a video game.

AFP used video verification tool InVid to analyse keyframes from the video on Russian search engine Yandex.

Reverse image searches found the video’s keyframes corresponded with screenshots from the DCS combat simulator website, which allows people to design and fly virtual planes.

Below is a comparison of a screenshot of the fifth jet found on this list of jets on the DCS site (L) alongside a very similar model shown in the original video:

A comparison of a screenshot of the fifth jet found on list of jets on the DCS site (L) alongside a very similar model shown in the original video. Screenshots: AFP

Corresponding white and yellow text at the bottom of each image has been circled in red.

In the DCS image, the white Russian-language text translates to English as “Mig-29C in the style of MiG-29CMT”. The Mig-29 is a combat jet made by Russia, as described in detail here by US based non-profit GlobalSecurity.org.

The small white, blue and red icon to the left of the text on the DCS image, when magnified, looks like this:

Magnified image from Digital Combat Simulator

It shows a Russian flag followed by the cyrillic text “MiG-29C(Maksim)”. Maksim — or Maxim — is a common name in Russia as well as Eastern Europe.

The other plane in the misleading posts is partly covered by the first plane throughout the video and therefore harder to identify.

Below is a screenshot comparison of a Su-33 jet from the DCS simulator website (L) and the partially obscured plane in the Facebook video (R):

A screenshot comparison of a Su-33 jet from the DCS simulator website (L) and a screenshot showing the partially obscured plane. Screenshots: AFP

The white text on the DCS simulator screenshot translates to English as “Su-33 E.A. Apakidze”. A description of the Su-33 Russian-made fighter jet can be found here on the Global Security website.

Aside from the original video in the misleading post being computer generated, Pakistan’s air force has no Russian fighter jets — both according to the Pakistan government’s photo gallery of its aircrafts published here and Global Security’s list of fighter planes here.

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One Comment

  1. Avatar
      Aseel  July 24, 2019 1:35 pm/ Reply

    Thanks Samaa. I’m unable to understand why millions of people are so stupid to believe on such obvious computer generated videos. :/

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Pakistan, Air Force, fighter jets, Facebook, video, fact-check, Russian jets, video game
 
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