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Images - Pakistan Air Force in the Mirror of History.

ghazi52

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Pilot Officer Idris Hasan Latif In Flight - Audax Aircraft Of No # 3 Squadron Royal Indian Air Force Over Kohat Airfield, 1942 (c).


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Air Chief Marshal Idris Hasan Latif (9 June 1923–30 April 2018) was the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) of the Indian Air Force, having served as such from 1978 to 1981.

After retirement, he has also served as the governor of the Indian state of Maharashtra (1982–85) and later as the Indian ambassador to France (until 1988). He was the first and only Indian Muslim to become the head of the Indian Air Force, or of any Indian armed forces branch.
 

ghazi52

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circa 1948
An RPAF de Havilland Tiger Moth at the Drigh Road Airbase. known as the Faisal Airbase now. 10 of these biplane trainer aircraft were in service during the Kashmir War;
None saw action.
 

ghazi52

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One Of The First Flights Over The Himalayas Came In 1932 With Hawker Harts (Powered By Rolls-Royce Kestrel Engines) Of The No-2 Wing Of No-39 (Bomber) Squadron Of The Royal Air Force Based In Risalpur Of Then Undivided India. Here Seen Flying Over The 25,550 Ft Mount Rakaposhi.



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Badin
In 1962 it was felt necessary by the PAF to establish a radar installation at Badin due to the strategic importance of the area. It was located close to the Indian border, and enemy aircraft taking off from forward Indian airfields in Rajasthan would have to pass through its cover to attack civil and military targets in the lower Sind region between Sukkur and Karachi. For a number of years the base remained an important sector operations centre contributing to the air defence of a large area in the southern region of Pakistan.

The base is located in the typically sandy and flat terrain of the southern Sind where the post-independence availability of water has transformed the countryside into highly productive farm lands. Due to its remote location, friends did sympathize in the early days if one was posted to Badin. But with the efforts and initiatives of each successive base commander, the technical and domestic facilities at Badin continued to improve and today the base is fully self sufficient in all operational, administrative and recreational respects.

Throughout the 65 war Badin's men bravely warded off air attacks and kept its operational facilities fully intact. On 21 September, When an enemy rocket set ablaze an equipment building, Leading Aircraftman Muhammad Anwar Hussain Khan, a radar mechanic of the maintenance wing, died a hero's death while trying to extinguish this fire. For his courageous conduct Anwar Hussain was posthumously awarded the Tamgha-e-Juraat. He lies buried near the main guard room where floral wreaths are laid on his grave on 7 September every year to renew the memory of his valour.

Some time before the 71 war began, the sector operations centre at Badin was moved to a new location to enable it better to cover a larger area of responsibility. During that war, the observer squadrons of the base were deployed at their assigned surveillance posts and provided excellent and timely warnings to the air defence network. In one particular air raid against Badin itself the determined gunners of the ack unit shot down an attacking Mig-21 with their intensive and accurate fire. Much has been done in recent years too by way of further development and modernization of the base. Its responsibilities have been enhanced both in magnitude and in character to enable it to continue its solid contribution to the PAF's operational efficiency.​
 

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ghazi52

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Seems like this shed was built for an airship. Interesting to see if there is a record of an airship ever landing in Karachi.


A site was agreed at Karachi (now part of Pakistan since the partition of the country in 1947) in . This was agreed to be the one of the main "terminals" or junctions as part of the Imperial Airship Communications scheme in 1926.


A site was located outside Karachi in 19525, as a preference to Mumbai (Bombay) due to the advantageous weather and thunderstorms were less frequent in the area. The Karachi site was situated some 13 miles east outside of the town, and was almost at sea level. This would have given the airships an advantage with being able to maximise their lifting capacity, despite the heat differential.


The land was purchased and surveying commenced on the land as to where best to place the buildings. Construction began in 1926 and an airship mast, hydrogen plant and hanger. The Mast followed the same basic designs as the Cardington mast, with the same height and construction method. The only exception was that the base of the mast contained buildings followed along the baseline in an octagonal shape. The airship base also contained a hydrogen plant in order that the ships can be repassed at the mast.



The gasometers contained enough gas to refill the R101, at a capacity of 5.5 million cft of gas. The Karachi airship shed was erected which was larger than the original Cardington sheds and of a simpler design. This was decreed that the slanting side areas were not needed as it was not to be a constructional shed, and the sides of the hangers at Cardington contained a lot of the offices and storage space during construction of a ship. The shed also differed from other previous designs of sheds, in that the shed only had doors at one end, with a differing door frame design. Once completed, the Karachi shed was the largest building in the British Empire at that time.

The shed was also designed with the future in mind as it was 850ft long , 170ft high and 180ft wide. This would have fitted the new R102 class ship which was designed to be some 822ft long. Construction of the facility cost some � 93,000 in 1928 ( �5,500,000 - 2017 value).

As there were no major iron or steel works in India at the time, the materials and components were fabricated at the Geriston Steel Works, Glasgow, with the Armstrong Construction Company being awarded the contract for the Shed's construction.

The first piece of structural steelwork being lifted in to place on 9th October 1926. Despite the shed being erected along the lines of previous sheds, the Karachi Shed was the largest. Despite the size, and some 4,000 tons of steel used in the construction, one of the conditions of the assembly and design, was that the shed could be dismantled and moved to another location. The precedent of this had already been made with the moving of the constructional shed in Pulham in Norfolk, to be re-erected and suitably enlarged as Shed 2, at the Royal Airship Works, Cardington.

The mooring mast was constructed along the same design lines as the Cardington and Ismailia mast, and work began in 1929, with the completion of the construction in August 1930. The mast itself was the standard design, however the buildings around the base were added in an octagonal design. As with the Montreal Mast, it was see that administration and other logistical space was needed. Space would have also been needed for customs and official passenger formalities. At Cardington, these were not to be processed at the mast but in what was know as the Administration Building or Short's Building as it's known today. To transport passengers, a 8 mile railway spur was built to connect the base with the city.

The Shed and mast, although never used by an airship remained, and according to records, some eighteen men were employed up until 1939, to maintain the facility which shows the decision on "cancelling the programme" was not as immediate as people believe after the R01 tragedy. With the decisions over the future of the Imperial Airship programme being discussed in London over the next few years, the locals managers allowed the Karachi shed to be used by local soldiers as a sports arena, out of the sun. It was reported that two games of football could be played inside the shed at once. It was also rumoured that the building was large enough to host local polo games, although there is no current evidence to substantiate this, however again the shed was certainly large enough for shelter play.
The shed became involved in aeronautical activities finally in the late 1930's when Imperial Airways took over responsibility of the building as an aero plane hangar and workshops.

It was during the Second World War that the shed was used by both the RAF and the US Army. They utilised the shed for repairing aircraft which were being used in Burma and Indochina. The British Government were always looking for other uses for the shed, as well as offering the facilities to other interested Governments.

The US Navy did investigate the possibility of using the base for it's own airship programme as the shed was large enough, however this did not progress any further. The sheds and mast remained erected until well after India's independence from Britain, and later territory tansferred to Pakistan.

In 1952, Pakistan Aviation issued a tender to dismantle the shed, and it was not until 1961 that it was finally agreed to dismantle it. Not that the building would be seen as going to waste, as the resources could be put to other uses. The steel was used for bridges and other smaller buildings along the vast Pakistan Railways. As with some of the other proposed sites, the Karachi site is the location of the International Airport today.

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Mast and buildings under construction. Seen here, the mast head is still awaiting to be completed, along with the roof's of the administration and winch buildings.


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Karachi shed under construction 1928​







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The mast nearing completion with the uniquely designed administration buildings around the base of the mast.​

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The airfield, showing the shed, and the distance from the mast to the shed. The fuel holders can be seen in the foreground.


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Inside the vast shed. You can see the design differed from the Cardington constructional sheds, by not having and side annex's for construction or storage.


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Karachi Shed showing the door frames and gantry to hold the massive doors. Again, doors were only placed at one side of the shed, unlike the Cardington sheds.


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1930 A rare aerial view of the Imperial Airship Base at Karachi. The shed can be seen with the shadow to the right of the building. The mast can be seen further to the right of the shed.​





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The Karachi Mast from above showing the buildings surrounding the base of the mast. This would have included the seam winch engine room, plus officer and passenger accommodation and waiting room.
 

ghazi52

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The Airship mast at Karachi never received an airship and was eventually demolished.
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Even though the airship programme was abandoned in 1930 following the crash of the R-101 airship, the name of the base in Karachi survived, and we have here a cover addressed to it, and also much travelled with several interesting postal marks on the reverse.


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