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History & Operations of Cobra AH-1 in Pakistan Army


Aug 18, 2015
Extremely Informative excerpts from book , "History of Pakistan Army Aviation 1947-2007" covering Pakistan Army AH-1 Cobra history and operations including:

1. Pak AH-1 in destroying enemy in Mogadishu (Read : First Blood)
2. Pak AH-1 rescuing Indian Army in Mogadishu (Read: Air Wolves & Indian Bihar Regiment)
3. Pak AH-1 rescuing Bengali troops ( Read : Bangladeshi Troops)


First Discussion

Brigadier H.R.H Abbasy Qasim Base Commander(1976-78) recalls few months before his eternal
In 1976 then Army Chief General (late) Zia ul Haq had finalized the deal of Puma Helicopters. In one of the presentations, I raised the point of their stationing at Qasim Base due to limited space.
General Zia had a deep knowledge of aviation because when he was the corps commander at Multan, there would be a weekly tea break and all brigade commanders would be invited, I was also one of the brigade commander there.

It was General Zia who proposed and advocated Cobra Helicopter induction apart from the need of a separate Aviation Base in the south. It was in this background that in 1976 a siting board was assembled to select the place for new Army Aviation Base with Lieutenant General Azmat Baksh Awan as president of the board.

Selection of The Site-1977

Various sites considered for this southern base included Sukkur, Hyderabad, Chuk Jhumra and Multan. Sukkur was rejected due to inadequate administrative backup, while Hyderabad was considered to be far too south.

On 16-17 September 1977 siting board had its final meeting and on 23 rd September General Awan alongwith Qasim Base Commander Brigadier Abbassy visited the place and Multan was finally chosen due to its central location, availability of Multan Airfield and considerable administrative facilities. They proposed a base twice the size of Qasim Base.
It was proposed to have a complete independent complex located within the Multan Cantonment and adjacent to the airport. Civil litigation in acquiring the land became a major point which initially steered the site towards the wastage disposal and later reduced the size.This was finally resolved in 2003 when base was able to acquire the additional 112 kanals of land which was proposed in the master plan.


In the wake of 1979 Russian invasion of Afghanistan, Pakistan emerged as a front line state against the communist expansion. Europeans and the Americans were now trying to win over Pakistan to their side in this Great Game. American President Jimmy Carter (former peanut farmer) first offered $ 40 million of military and economic aid which was refused by President Zia-Ul-Haq terming this as 'Peanuts'. President Reagan however improved the offer by raising it to $3.2 billion. As Pakistan joined the US camp against Communist Block, it started drawing up a list of equipment to prepare itself.

Selection of Cobra Helicopter

The two important items on the Pakistan wish list were F-16 for PAF and Cobra helicopters for the
army. There were at that time three schools of military thought. One lobbied for raising another armoured
division, other supported multi-mission helicopter and then there was a strong side for a dedicated anti- tank platform.

Army Aviation was with the last group spearheaded by Brigadier Mokeet. He prevailed upon others and managed to convince the decision makers in GHQ to opt for AH-1F dedicated anti-tank helicopter popularly known as Cobra.

The Contract

In the last week of 1981 a high ranking military team including technical and ordnance officers apart from army flyers arrived in America. They went around different training facilities and finalized the modalities of training. It was on the last day of 1981 when Major General Aslam Beg signed the contract on behalf of Pakistan Army. The deal was worth $300 million.


In the Year 1983, after the deal was finalized, paper work on organizing the Cobra Combat Group started. In later part of the year, pilots and maintenance crew started departing for USA for training. The first four batches consisting of two pilots each, were earmarked for instructor rating as well.
These pilots did thirty additional hours on Cobra apart from the basic thirty hours. Major Ashraf Chaudhry and Major Issar Hussain Jafery were the first pair who besides doing Cobra conversion also got instructor rating and qualified as instrument rating examiner(IRE) as well.

Training Pattern in The USA

Training was conducted at US Army Aviation School at Fort Rucker, Alabama in three phase. The first phase was Rotary Wing Instrument Course of six weeks, consisting of 40-50 hours on simulators and 10 hours of actual flying on UH-1H.
It should be noted that Pakistani pilots were given flying training or experience on UH-1H for 4-5 hours in Pakistan before they left for America. In this phase all instructors were civilians and the atmosphere was informal. Pilots had to log 1-2 hours of simulator flying daily and would be free by mid day.

After the first phase, there was a break of one week and then six weeks Cobra conversion in second phase. In the last phase 'On Job Training' was carried on with an American Squadron for six weeks.

Production Monitoring of Pakistani Cobras

Cobra Helicopters for Pakistan were produced by Bell Helicopter Plant, Fort Worth, Texas, USA in two batches- 1 st batch often helicopters in 1984/85 for which Lt. Col. Samee-ur-Rehman and Lt. Col. Mumtaz Siddique were deputed to oversee production and the second batch was supervised by Lt. Col. Ijaz Minhas and Maj. Asif Mukhtar - both teams stayed in Texas for almost a year.

The First Pair Reports For Duty At Multan

On 22nd August 1984 the first set of two Pakistani officers trained on Cobra helicopters at Fort Rucker Alabama reported back on duty at Multan Base, they were Lieutenant Colonel Riffat Beg Humayun and Major Saleem Akhund SJ. By the end of 1984, trained Cobra pilots in the absence of machine were posted for interim period with the cargo squadrons.

Arrival of Cobras, Dawn of a New Era

On 9 th January 1985, the first batch of AH-1F Cobra helicopters arrived at Karachi by a special chartered flight in a semi-knocked down (CKD) state. A team of four officers, headed by Lieutenant Colonel Nafees Ul Haq, four junior commissioned officers (JCO) and twenty non commissioned officers with assistance of a group of US experts, carried out the re-assembly.

On 15 th February helicopters were shifted to the Faisal Base from where on 16 th February 1985 all the choppers in two batches of five each were airborne at 0705hours proudly led by Colonel Riffat Beg Humayun, after refuelling at Sukkur, Cobras landed at Multan at 1300hours. A warm welcome headed by the Chief of General Staff Major General Aslam Beg, awaited them. Cobras initially flew a march past and then Colonel Beg was the first one to land, followed by Majors Hashim, George, Zulfiqar, Shahid Qureshy, and Shafique. Later General Beg sat in the cockpit and was briefed on the machine.

Raising of Squadrons

31 and 33 Squadrons were raised on 12 th March 1985. Both squadrons remained underofficiating command, 31 under Major Saleem Akhund and 33 under Major Asad Kamal. 33 Squadron Digest of Service records "On 25 th April 1985.

Simulator Training

In July 1985, simulator training started for the Cobra pilots at Hanau Germany. For next five years, this small town became a second home for aviators, till simulation was closed due to American embargo.

First Exercise

Between 21-23 April 1986, 33 Squadron moved out to Mailsi along with elements of 31 Squadron for the first ever exercise of Combat Group. "Squadron moved out to its first tactical exercise, and had to establish a camp twice in those two days.

Trials of Scout Helicopters (1-14 July 1985)

Three Scout helicopters namely BO-105, Bell 406 and Hughes 530-MF were brought to Pakistan. Army was looking for a suitable "Scout Helicopter" for Cobras and simultaneously hunting for a helicopter which can look after the operational requirement in Siachen Glacier as well.

If one helicopter can do both the jobs, that would be an icing on the cake.

First Firing

First aerial firing of AH-IF in Pakistan was carried at Muzzaffargarh Ranges between 13 th November - 6 th December 1985. Exclusive firing range was selected for this purpose. There were four Cobras who took part in this firing, two each from each squadron. The first tube launched optically tracked wire guided(TOW) missile was launched by the following crew of 33 Squadron.

Every body held up their breath till the missile blew up the target, it hit the bull.

Arrival of Second Batch of Cobra Helicopters (October 1986)

The second batch of ten Cobra helicopters arrived at Karachi in semi knocked down(SKD) condition. After assembly by the team headed by Lieutenant Colonel Asif Javed Ghori, helicopters were ferried to Multan in two batches on 10 lh and 18 th October 1986, respectively. This time ferry team consisted mainly of 31 Squadron pilots.

First Accident

On 31 st December 1988, AH-1F # 020 of 33 Aviation Combat Squadron, piloted by Captain Nayyer Iqbal and
Major Mahmood Ul Hassan crashed in the training area, while carrying out auto rotation. Miraculously both the pilots suffered no major injuries but the helicopter was damaged extensively. Well-earned credit must be given to the Engineering Group for rebuilding the smashed attack helicopter with intensive care and single- minded effort. It took some time but the mission was accomplished with ease and efficiency. To show the immense confidence in his engineering team, the rebuilt Cobra was test flown in 1991 by none other than the incumbent commander of the Combat Group, Colonel Ashraf Chaudhry.

The first ground accident also occurred in the same period when towing tractor driver accidentally put the reverse gear instead of forward gear.


In October 1988, Colonel Syed Sajid Ali, alongwith Lieutenant Colonel Ashraf Chaudhry and Lieutenant Colonel Asif Javed Ghori visited Jordan with an aim to see the Jordanian way of handling their Cobra helicopters and to learn from their experience.

Pressler Amendment

At the close of decade the World in general and Pakistan in particular underwent dramatic changes whose vibrations are still being felt. In 1988 President General Zia was killed in an air crash at Bahawalpur,
resulting in political changes. which brought Mrs Benazir Bhutto as the first ever female Prime Minister of
not only Pakistan but of Muslim World.

When she went on her first visit to America, she signed what was at that time considered to be the biggest arms deal in the history of Pakistan. It included another 20 Cobras for Army Aviation, unfortunately Americans later on imposed sanctions in the form of Presseler Amendment which not only put this newly agreed arms deal into forlorn but also put an end to Cobra conversion and simulator training abroad.

Years later, on a holiday, Major Mirza Aslam landed near Samundri, to drop Major Hameed. Unluckily he transmitted on Guard Frequency which was monitored by the American satellite and through American
Military Attache, Pentagon informed out of goodwill, to General Headquarters about this emergency

When Major Aslam landed back at Multan, almost whole base was there to receive him. This affair is known as
'Clinton-Pressler' saga.


Aviation Engineering Group-Ill made eighteen Puma helicopters along with all Cobras and several Jet Ranger helicopters serviceable for this exercise.
Headquarters Army Aviation Combat Group was designated as 88 Aviation Combat Brigade, comprising
33 Army Aviation Squadron( AH-1 COBRA),
Headquarters Aviation Engineering Group-IV,
No 2 Combat Maintenance Wing,
2 Army Aviation FAAR Company
and 35 1 Aviation Field Supply Platoon.
The Group was tasked to support operations of the main effort of Blue Land. The Group was detached from Multan Army Aviation Base and thus located in enemy area Bandial/Adhi Sargal for subject exercise.

The Gulf Crisis -1991

The year 1991 was characterized with the continued shortage of training hours in the backdrop of the Gulf War and the shortage of spares for US origin helicopters. Therefore, the year was largely spent in the indoor activities. Restriction on training hours and low serviceability of Cobra helicopters badly affected training of pilots specially the combat pilots. Restrictions on TOW enforced by the GHQ resulted into a precarious situation, where Cobra pilots inducted after year 1987 had no experience of the actual TOW firing. It was an alarming state for the combat squadrons.

Zimbabwean Assistance

On 9 th September, the Combat Group helped to extricate a battalion of Zimbabwe which was encircled by hostile militia near Balad while in the process of undertaking its withdrawal to Mogadishu.
The withdrawal was accomplished without any casualty to men or equipment under the protective cover of the Pakistani AH-1 Cobras.

First Blood

On 21 st September, two Cobras and two Scouts of the Combat Group were given the task to locate and destroy the militia jeeps mounted with anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons which had earlier fired at a Pakistani convoy in Mogadishu City. The mission was successfully completed and one jeep was destroyed and other damaged. This was the first engagement carried out by Pakistani AH-1 Cobras.

Air Wolves & First Indian Bihar Regiment

On 19 th April 1994, 33 Army Aviation Combat Squadron (AH-1 Cobra) was assigned the responsibility to support Indian Contingent south west of Mogadishu for rescue of seven UNHCR personnel held as hostages by Somalians.

Two AH-IS helicopters participated in the operation. Operation was planned in the Indian First Bihar Regiment operations room at Kismayo. The Cobras proceeded on site and cleared the area. On clearance by the Cobras, four Bell 212 helicopters with Bihar Regiment troops landed outside the UNHCR compound and rescued the seven UNHCR personnel, while the Cobras provided air cover. Operation lasted for over 2 hours. During this mission the Cobras flown by own pilots crossed the Equator for the first time. From dawn to dusk the cobras flew nine hours in one day.

Another mission was flown to support Indians on 22 nd August 1994, who were ambushed near Bald Eagle, resulting in death of nine Indian soldiers. Indians had gone to rescue some personnel but they themselves became the prey to the ambush. Indians later gave SOS message. The operation was planned in detail with the Indian force. Two Cobras were detailed to cordon the area near the ambush site, search and destroy the hostile militia vehicles. Cobras, with their weapons blazing, went in first and cleared the area, thereby making it possible for two other UN helicopters to land in the compound of UNHCR building and complete the rescue operation. As a result four Somali gunmen along with one 23 mm ack ack gun were captured.
Lieutenant Colonel Jamshed Bajwa narrates "Due to low fuel we had to make a landing in the Indian camp. They were quite hospitable and we had lunch with them. It came as a surprise when their commanding officer a Jat was from my village. His family had migrated in 1947".

Again, on 23 September 1994, a Formation of three Cobras and two OH-58C (PANZER FORMATION) was tasked to extricate a Botswanian contingent. The UNOSOM had planned the refuelling at Badoa.

Panzer formation completed its task and successfully extricated the besieged Botswana troops, on their way back formation again landed at Badoa for refuelling. The Indian Contingent Commander who was at the strip later invited all Pakistani pilots for a cup of tea in his camp. Major Mirza Aslam was one of the pilot he recalls "Indians had intentionally selected the movie ' 1942 a love story' a movie with a united India as the theme. As it was Assar time, thus I gave the Azzan in the open and all Pakistani pilots offered their prayers. One of the Indian Muslim officer later confessed that it was the first time that Azzan has been given in their camp. Later we took off but as luck would have it my Cobra developed a fault and I had to land back at the Indian camp, thus I was lucky that I gave three more Azzans in their camp. During Fajar prayers the whole Indian night guard got into panic shouting "guard shoo"(guard get alert) thinking it as an attack by the Somalians".

Bangladeshi Troops
- 1995

Pakistani AH-1 cobras were employed on 6 December 1994 to extricate a Bangladeshi Infantry Company from Afgooye. This company was made hostage by Somalian war lord Mikitia. Rescue operation was executed early in the morning. Cobras fired 4500 rounds, two Somalian tanks were destroyed and area was secured.

On first February 1995, withdrawal of own 4 Sindh and 19 Lancer Regiments were given Cobra cover from
Mogadishu city to airport

To sum up the contribution of Pakistan Aviation group, it would suffice to quote a recorded remark of General Aboo Samah, the commander of UN force,

"The task given is immense but the Combat Group has done a wonderful job to support the UN mission".

Cobra Attains Night Strike Capability - 2002

In 1997, America released some equipment for Cobras, under Brown Amendment. The most important item was the C-Nite kits. Twenty seven of these kits when later received were without any proper literature and moreover only eight telescopic sights had been modified with C-Nite Forward looking Infra Red Radar(FLIR). These kits were vital to attain the capability of firing at night. Modification process started on 11 th February 1998 and after years of hard work and ingenuity of mind from all concerned, the very capability was achieved on 28 lh February 2002. On 27th February, a night prior to final demonstration, a full dress rehearsal was arranged at Khudai Ranges all preparations were good except the firing result. Out of four only one TOW hit the target. This last minute performance shocked everyone as VCOAS (Gen. Yousaf) and 16 other senior officers of army were to witness it. Consequently complete headquarters alongwith GOC, Maj. Gen. Azam remained awake and tense till small hours of the morning while technicians worked on the C-Nite system of Cobras. Problems were mainly due to bore sighting of the C-Nite which were duly resolved.

On 28th February at 1730hours before the arrival of guests the weather started getting bad to worst with every passing moment and started drizzling. However, keeping in view the historic value of the moment and proficiency level of his pilots, commander combat group decided that 'demo' will continue. Combat Group digest of service records "every passing moment was increasing the heart beat of Combat pilots, everyone was sitting finger crossed and gazing in the dark, only helicopter sound was audible. Initially three cobras displayed nap of earth flying with NVGs, next came cannon firing which made the night colourful with the tracers drawing beautiful lines in the pitch dark night and bursting on impact like fire works. One cobra got disoriented and came very close to the stand. Then came the final moment, targets were made visible by hurricane lamps. The first TOW was fired by Lieutenant Colonel Wasim Akhtar Malik, the bulls eye impact was greeted by a loud applause and Nara-e-Takbeer. With each hit the emotions of combat pilots and all present were getting more and more visible, when all four hits were achieved the VCOAS and other senior officers congratulated everyone and a festive and jubilant mood prevailed.

Same night it was flashed across all TV channels and a strong message was conveyed across the border.


A collective exercise of all the Aviation Bases was conducted by headquarters Army Aviation Command between 21 st November - 6 th December 1997. Over 52 helicopters including 12 Cobras, 13 MI- 17s, 11 Pumas and a dozen Mushaks took part in this exercise. The aim of the exercise was to practice commanders and staff in planning and conduct of Aviation support to affiliated formations and Army Field Headquarters under close to actual operational environments.

In the last phase dawn and dusk heliborne operations involving SSG Battalion were conducted and concept of 'Pathfinder' were employed.

Army Aviation Combat Group

This group was deployed near Lodhran. 4 Aviation Squadron moved by road from Quetta and reached operational area.
33 Combat Squadron was placed in support of Multan Base at Rahim Yar Khan. Initially the Cobra helicopters remained at Multan to give currency to attached Cobra pilots, who were posted at various formations. On 3 1 st January 2002).
At 0800 hours, one combat flight of 33 Army Aviation Combat Squadron reached exercise area to conduct battle drill in the perceived areas of employment. First night battle drill was conducted by the same squadron on 1 st February 2002. Certain aspects to improve recognition of FAARPS were highlighted in these drills. Like siting FAARP with reference to some conspicuous landmark, firing of flares on arrival of combat helicopters and indications with the help of flags etc. It was concluded that there is a need to ensure more coordination between Combat Squadrons and FAAR Company as well as the concerned formation.

First Anti Terrorist Training

This exercise was conducted at Pishin Ranges between 26 lh May to 29 th May 2003.
33 Combat Squadron and 4 Squadron participated. Vice Chief of Army Staff General Yousaf witnessed it along with senior army officers. The exercise setting depicted air assault concept. MI- 17 helicopters, helidropped the Special Services Group troops near target area, which had been cordoned by 41 Infantry Division troops. Cobras provided escort and aerial fire support. 400 cannon rounds and 26 rockets were fired in this exercise.

Night Vision Goggles(NVG) Training

NVG flying was initiated by Cobra pilots when 25 NVGs were handed over to them at Kohat by Americans.


This was the first major operation against terrorist undertaken by Army Aviation in Waziristan Agency The target area was located few kilometers south west of Angoor Adda, close to Durand Line and north west
of Wana.

2 nd October 2003

On 1 st October 2003 a formation of four MI- 17 and one Puma picked up ninety two commandos from Tarbela and dropped them at Mianwali. Four Cobras and one MI- 17 helicopter along with maintenance crew also reached Mianwali from Multan. Target area consisted of few scattered compounds located approximately 2 kilometers south of confluence of Niza Algad and Manta Algad Valleys.

Reportedly a group of 30-35 foreigner terrorists supported by locals were based here. They were carrying out the terrorist activities not only in Afghanistan but also in Pakistan.

On the night of 1 st and 2 nd October 2003, Special Services Group and infantry moved from Wana and Anghoor Adda through Niza Algad valley. They reached the target area at around 0430 hours and established a cordon

At 0430hours 2 nd October 2003, Alpha Formation comprising two Cobras and one MI- 17 tookoff
from Mianwali for Wana, followed by Bravo Formation of three MI- 17, one Puma helicopter along with 90 SSG Commandos of SOTF on board. This formation landed at target area at 0615 hours. Meanwhile Cobras of Alpha Formation had already landed at Wana and were waiting for the orders.

The Special Operation Task Force (SOTF) commander immediately after landing asked for the Cobras, which responded and opened fire at the target area. These Cobras engaged the target area round the clock and kept replenishing from Wana.

First TOW Fired

During this operation the first ever operational TOWs were fired. Major Khattak and Major Kayani
were the crew members. Major Khattak narrates.
"The target was a compound designated as target No. 5. It was a strong point at an elevation of 5,500 feet and terrorist were firing from this point. Hovering fire was not possible, Major Kayani the gunner had never fired the TOW before. I made the first run over the target at 150 feet above ground level and opened up the cannons and in next run, at 700-800 meters away from the target, Major Kayani fired the TOW which hit the main complex, and desired results were achieved."

In the same operation one Cobra suffered compressor stall and made emergency landing, later it was rectified
and crew flew it back to Wana. Four MI- 17 of Bravo Formation after dropping commandos, flew to Wana,
and waited for any impromptu requirements. They were later utilised to helilift 70 troops before last light
from Wana to target area. That night four Cobras, two MI- 17 and one Puma remained at Wana whereas two
MI- 17 and one Puma remained at Bannu.

On 3 rd October 2003 combing and sanitization of the target area was carried out. Cobras were again
called to engage the targets. By 0900hours operation was successfully completed and by lOOOhours 170
Special Services Group troops were de-inducted by the Army Aviation helicopters. Later one Puma and two
MI- 17 were utilised for the transportation of the prisoners. A total of 139 flying hours were generated and
400 troops were heli lifted.


On 7 January 2004, all pilots and helicopters were mustered at Qasim Base. Mobile phones were of great help in getting the crew, like Lieutenant Colonel Adil Shahzad was driving near Mandra when he got the General Officer Commanding call on his cellphone to cancel his leave and report to Qasim Base. A total of 23 helicopters including nine MI-17s, five Pumas, six Cobras, two Allouettes and one Lama were earmarked for this operation along with 210 Special Services Group troops. Necessary information and imageries of target area were provided by the Military Operation Directorate well in time.

This force was helilifted by seven MI-17s and five Puma helicopters to Mianwali Base by 1800 hours 7 th January 2004. Six Cobra helicopters also arrived at Mianwali Base before last light. In the mean while 3 FAAR company moved from Multan and established Forward Area Arming and Refuelling Point (FAARP)at Bannu by 0800 hours, on 8 th January 2004

At 0930hours the attack helicopters were alled-by the ground commander for fire support. These Cobras then remained in air till 1500 hours, Colonel Raza Farooq and Captain Khawar made the first engagement from Cobra.

A total of 180 hours were flown consuming 80,000 litres of fuel, lifting 653 troops and 685 rounds of
cannon were fired.


The biggest operation conducted so far against the anti state elements involving thirty three helicopters including sixteen MI- 1 7, five Puma, six Cobras, three Huey, one Lama, and One Allouette. It was conducted on 23 rd /24 th February 2004 in an area 12 kilometers south west of Wana.

At 0605hours the first wave of helicopters carrying 180 troops in nine MI- 17 and three Huey took off supported by six Cobra helicopters. This force dropped the troops at target area at 0710 hours. The Hueys and Cobras provided aerial support around the clock for this force, second wave carrying 120 troops in six MI- 17 took off from Mianwali at 0700 hours and landed near target area at 0805hours

AH-1 Cobra in Other Operations

1st October 2005, Khatta Khilli, North Waziristan. An army brigade was trapped in village Khatta Khilli. Aviation based operation was conducted with five MI- 17 and two Cobras. Army Aviation was able
to ease brigade out, Aviation efforts were appreciated by all and sundry.

4 January 2006. 'Operation Sia-koh' eight Cobra helicopters participated. Five Tows and Seven Rockets were fired during this operation.

13 June 2006. 'Operation Al-Barq'. State tightened its grip on the miscreants around Dera Bugti and surrounding area. Finally an authenticated report about the presence of Bahram Dagh, grand son of warlord Akbar Bugti was received. A massive operation consisting of six Cobras, four Bell-412 & eight MI-17 helicopter took part in it .The dismal part of the operation was that due to improper search done by the ground forces, Behram Dagh managed to slip away. However, the daring action of Cobra and ABC on Bell-412 helicopter (Major Khattak) six miscreant were captured by SSG troops.

1 st July 2006. 'Operation Al-Nasr'. Akbar Bugti's location was confirmed in the hills north of Sangsila near the Marri Bugti tribal boundary. One company of regular infantry and 4 Commando Battalion were picked up from Panu Aqil and after refueling at Sui were dropped in the target area. Eight Cobras, six Bell-412, eight MI- 17 and two Puma helicopters were used in this operation. Force was landed after PAF Fighters had softened up the target.

8 July 2006. 'Operation Al Fateh'. Bahram Dagh's location was once again confirmed in general area Lehri. 15 miles west of Sangsila. Tactical Headquarters was established at Sangsila. There was no time
for reconnaissance or detailed briefing, six Cobras, four Bell-412, six MI- 17 and one Puma immediately took off for Sangsila.

23 August 2006. Successfull operations in Dera Bugti tribal areas compelled miscreants to move further towards north. Akbar Bugti. Bahram Dagh and Balach Marri flee to Kohlu. After confirmation of their position, Law Enforcing Agencies planned to strike the final blow by the name of 'Operation Rahbar'. Six Cobras, five Bell-412 and six MI- 17 helicopters were planned to undertake the mission. Akbar Bugti was expected to be in general area Kalgir-I-Daman near Karmo Wad while Cobras and Artillery provided fire support, MI- 17 and Bell-412 helicopters dropped the task force in target area.

OPERATION ZAMZOLA (16 January 2007)

Zamzola compound, (5000 feet) a complex of six scattered compounds located on a knoll, 24 kilometers east
of Razmak was being used as a training centre for VIP assassination and suicide bombing. Reportedly there were 30-50 individuals living in these compounds. These compounds were located inside thick vegetation, with trees of 20-25 feet all around, perimeter walls were higher than the ceiling of the rooms. Target compound was surrounded by village Zamzola, Pasalkot and Zarinai Killi all located within 1-2 kilometers. After deliberate planning it was decided to eliminate the terrorist on 16 January 2007. The plan was to carry out kinetic strike at 0650hours, then three Cobras to engage compound number 3, 4 and 5 with two TOW missiles each, two BELL-412 along with SSG troops to remain in air for any unforeseen, two MI- 17 with 20 SSG troops to remain stand by at Miran Shah.

Conduct of Operation. 3 Cobras and 2 BELL-412 reached holding area at 0648, kinetic strike started at 0655
hours on compound number 5, target area was cleared at 0712hours for Cobra strikes. Cobras reached target area at 0717 hours and fired three TOWs on compound number 3, 4 and 5. Second wave of three TOWs were fired at 0721, one TOW missile misfired. At 0728hours the compound number 4 was engaged with cannon fire for seven minutes.

SSG troops then assaulted the compounds and carried out the search of the compound, they segregated women and children and were able to capture and kill few terrorist. Meanwhile cobras provided air cover.

After almost 23 years the fresh batch of Cobras were inducted in Pakistan Army. A new outfit, 35 Army Aviation Combat Squadron was also raised for this induction. The ceremony was held at Aviation Base Multan.

On 7th October 2007 an impressive handing over ceremony of additional Cobras and 412 helicopters was held at Qasim Base. Defence- Secretary Mr. Kamal, Director General Army Aviation Major General Rizvi, Brigadier Tan veer Ullah and American Ambassador Madam Patterson graced the occasion.

TEXT is Copied from:

History of Pakistan Army Aviation 1947-2007
written by: Aamir Cheema, Muhammad Azam, Mushtaq Madni
Last edited:


Jun 6, 2006
United States
Great info thanks so much for sharing .. you should all add the news Zulu vipers and missiles , goodies on order to the story .


Mar 28, 2009
This article also shows that there is no superhuman involved in any of Pakistan's armed forces. Just a regular military that is not the best equipped and probably not the best trained trying to make do with what it has.
Here, ethos and morale is what makes a difference.

Anas Ishaq


New Recruit

Nov 1, 2015
Great info thanks so much for sharing .. you should all add the news Zulu vipers and missiles , goodies on order to the story.


Feb 7, 2013
United Kingdom
This article explain the gaping holes in Army Aviation's attack fleet! Its sad that a war is what it had to take to really start a push for modernisation! T129 + Armament makes complete sense as Cobra being a great machine can be let down by the weapons, alternatively opposite can be true!


Aug 18, 2015
AH-1Z has the ability to survive hits by 23mm projectiles, Mi-35 will not be the only decent-armored heli in PAA inventory.

Reference :
Page: 20
Book name :Huey Cobra Gunships
Written by: Chris Bishop
illustration by: Jim laurier.


Oct 19, 2008
United States
AH-1Z has the ability to survive hits by 23mm projectiles, Mi-35 will not be the only decent-armored heli in PAA inventory.

Reference :
Page: 20
Book name :Huey Cobra Gunships
Written by: Chris Bishop
illustration by: Jim laurier.
Even the z10s had additional armor plates around the cockpit.


Aug 18, 2015
Pakistan has initial option to go for 30 AH-1's and PAA was going for the last 10 after 20 were inducted but the last 10 couldn't materliaze due to sanctions at the end of 1980's.

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