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ghazi52

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Mar 21, 2007
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Women as fighter pilots !!!

How successful they will be is anybody’s guess. I would like to put you guys in the shoes of a fighter pilot and then decide for yourself.

In the month of June, noon, temperature around 50 degrees C and humidity 80%, PAF Base Mianwali, Main Tarmac. Around 40 aircrafts ( FT-5 & F-7s) neatly parked in three rows. You leave squadrons building for a low level strike to Dhok Pathan Bridge, you pick your helmet and walk towards the flight lines. Second mission of the day is about to start up. It’s difficult to do the exterior inspection because the panels are so so hot that you cant check them properly. Drop tanks burning with heat. Heat has already started to take a toll on your body and you are sweating badly. You get into the aircraft but cannot touch the stick and switches. Crew chief straps you; you wear your helmet, connect the G-suit hose and R/T lead , lock the canopy down and wait for the IP.

By the time you start ,your coverall is completely wet with the sweat. You Startup, taxi and finally line up. The pressure of accurate navigation ahead and making your target good is immense. Finally your left hand goes full forward and the right gradually comes back. Out of traffic pattern you set course on first heading trying to maintain 250 feet AGL accurately on altimeter. Pressure is continuously mounting. At first turn in point, you are late by 15 seconds and off track by half nautical mile. Guy in the back seat ( GIBS) is not at all happy. You start to panic and tire your self badly.

Once you enter the Murid area, Cherat Control wants you to make a dog leg because two A-5s are doing lo level GCI around Murid. You get into more panic but control your wits and make the second and third turning points good. At last you reach your IP, pullup but its too late. You miss the target because you never selected the switches in panic. GIBS start to shout more and more and you wish for a moment that either he or you shouldn’t had been there. Finally you recover, land taxi back and switch off. Sweaty, tired and heart broken you walk back to squadron. Your legs are shaking with weakness and dehydration is taking its toll. After a nightmarish debrief from instructor you retreat your self in cool environments of crew room. Suddenly one of your coursemates informs you that because of unfitness of one of the pilots you are scheduled for 1V1 mission and instructor is calling for a brief. And the whole chain of event starts again.............

Its not a fiction but just a highlight of the situation one faces during training and even later on. The purpose of the narration was that its a tough life out there. Not only physically but one has to be mentally fit to take any beating.

Fighter flying in one of the loveliest thing in the world but it comes with a price. I have seen well built guys crumbling under the pressures. I know people refusing flying because they couldn’t handle the pressures. It’s a dog eat dog life out there.

Once you are done with your operational conversion, the squadron life begins. Its tough. Everybody is good and very professional. You have to prove yourself. Ops conversion, pair leader, section leader, nights ops, specialised weapons ops, Air combat, deployments, exercises ….training never seems to end and with each stage the things get difficult and challenging.

I have no doubts about the mental strength of our women, they are hardworking and professional. But the big question is that do you really think that they will be able to take this physical beating for next 17 to 18 years as a fighter pilot ?

1638892035573.png
 

khanasifm

SENIOR MEMBER
Apr 16, 2008
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Women as fighter pilots !!!

How successful they will be is anybody’s guess. I would like to put you guys in the shoes of a fighter pilot and then decide for yourself.

In the month of June, noon, temperature around 50 degrees C and humidity 80%, PAF Base Mianwali, Main Tarmac. Around 40 aircrafts ( FT-5 & F-7s) neatly parked in three rows. You leave squadrons building for a low level strike to Dhok Pathan Bridge, you pick your helmet and walk towards the flight lines. Second mission of the day is about to start up. It’s difficult to do the exterior inspection because the panels are so so hot that you cant check them properly. Drop tanks burning with heat. Heat has already started to take a toll on your body and you are sweating badly. You get into the aircraft but cannot touch the stick and switches. Crew chief straps you; you wear your helmet, connect the G-suit hose and R/T lead , lock the canopy down and wait for the IP.

By the time you start ,your coverall is completely wet with the sweat. You Startup, taxi and finally line up. The pressure of accurate navigation ahead and making your target good is immense. Finally your left hand goes full forward and the right gradually comes back. Out of traffic pattern you set course on first heading trying to maintain 250 feet AGL accurately on altimeter. Pressure is continuously mounting. At first turn in point, you are late by 15 seconds and off track by half nautical mile. Guy in the back seat ( GIBS) is not at all happy. You start to panic and tire your self badly.

Once you enter the Murid area, Cherat Control wants you to make a dog leg because two A-5s are doing lo level GCI around Murid. You get into more panic but control your wits and make the second and third turning points good. At last you reach your IP, pullup but its too late. You miss the target because you never selected the switches in panic. GIBS start to shout more and more and you wish for a moment that either he or you shouldn’t had been there. Finally you recover, land taxi back and switch off. Sweaty, tired and heart broken you walk back to squadron. Your legs are shaking with weakness and dehydration is taking its toll. After a nightmarish debrief from instructor you retreat your self in cool environments of crew room. Suddenly one of your coursemates informs you that because of unfitness of one of the pilots you are scheduled for 1V1 mission and instructor is calling for a brief. And the whole chain of event starts again.............

Its not a fiction but just a highlight of the situation one faces during training and even later on. The purpose of the narration was that its a tough life out there. Not only physically but one has to be mentally fit to take any beating.

Fighter flying in one of the loveliest thing in the world but it comes with a price. I have seen well built guys crumbling under the pressures. I know people refusing flying because they couldn’t handle the pressures. It’s a dog eat dog life out there.

Once you are done with your operational conversion, the squadron life begins. Its tough. Everybody is good and very professional. You have to prove yourself. Ops conversion, pair leader, section leader, nights ops, specialised weapons ops, Air combat, deployments, exercises ….training never seems to end and with each stage the things get difficult and challenging.

I have no doubts about the mental strength of our women, they are hardworking and professional. But the big question is that do you really think that they will be able to take this physical beating for next 17 to 18 years as a fighter pilot ?

View attachment 799499


Work fine at USAF RAF etc as for as PAF it’s more social or society problem than professional

Mostly husbands , infact learned paf cheif spoke to Nigerians as they are Muslim and successful with female pilots program and the answer was female pilots decision but let the husband go if they are problem for professional growth of female pilots and others as well .

Other BS negated by women all over the world 🌍
 

Raider 21

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Feb 18, 2016
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Women as fighter pilots !!!

How successful they will be is anybody’s guess. I would like to put you guys in the shoes of a fighter pilot and then decide for yourself.

In the month of June, noon, temperature around 50 degrees C and humidity 80%, PAF Base Mianwali, Main Tarmac. Around 40 aircrafts ( FT-5 & F-7s) neatly parked in three rows. You leave squadrons building for a low level strike to Dhok Pathan Bridge, you pick your helmet and walk towards the flight lines. Second mission of the day is about to start up. It’s difficult to do the exterior inspection because the panels are so so hot that you cant check them properly. Drop tanks burning with heat. Heat has already started to take a toll on your body and you are sweating badly. You get into the aircraft but cannot touch the stick and switches. Crew chief straps you; you wear your helmet, connect the G-suit hose and R/T lead , lock the canopy down and wait for the IP.

By the time you start ,your coverall is completely wet with the sweat. You Startup, taxi and finally line up. The pressure of accurate navigation ahead and making your target good is immense. Finally your left hand goes full forward and the right gradually comes back. Out of traffic pattern you set course on first heading trying to maintain 250 feet AGL accurately on altimeter. Pressure is continuously mounting. At first turn in point, you are late by 15 seconds and off track by half nautical mile. Guy in the back seat ( GIBS) is not at all happy. You start to panic and tire your self badly.

Once you enter the Murid area, Cherat Control wants you to make a dog leg because two A-5s are doing lo level GCI around Murid. You get into more panic but control your wits and make the second and third turning points good. At last you reach your IP, pullup but its too late. You miss the target because you never selected the switches in panic. GIBS start to shout more and more and you wish for a moment that either he or you shouldn’t had been there. Finally you recover, land taxi back and switch off. Sweaty, tired and heart broken you walk back to squadron. Your legs are shaking with weakness and dehydration is taking its toll. After a nightmarish debrief from instructor you retreat your self in cool environments of crew room. Suddenly one of your coursemates informs you that because of unfitness of one of the pilots you are scheduled for 1V1 mission and instructor is calling for a brief. And the whole chain of event starts again.............

Its not a fiction but just a highlight of the situation one faces during training and even later on. The purpose of the narration was that its a tough life out there. Not only physically but one has to be mentally fit to take any beating.

Fighter flying in one of the loveliest thing in the world but it comes with a price. I have seen well built guys crumbling under the pressures. I know people refusing flying because they couldn’t handle the pressures. It’s a dog eat dog life out there.

Once you are done with your operational conversion, the squadron life begins. Its tough. Everybody is good and very professional. You have to prove yourself. Ops conversion, pair leader, section leader, nights ops, specialised weapons ops, Air combat, deployments, exercises ….training never seems to end and with each stage the things get difficult and challenging.

I have no doubts about the mental strength of our women, they are hardworking and professional. But the big question is that do you really think that they will be able to take this physical beating for next 17 to 18 years as a fighter pilot ?

View attachment 799499
Sir what's the source of this post. I read A-5s and I am wondering if this has been written a while back.
 

GriffinsRule

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Nov 18, 2015
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Work fine at USAF RAF etc as for as PAF it’s more social or society problem than professional

Mostly husbands , infact learned paf cheif spoke to Nigerians as they are Muslim and successful with female pilots program and the answer was female pilots decision but let the husband go if they are problem for professional growth of female pilots and others as well .

Other BS negated by women all over the world 🌍
It was Swedish female fighter pilot that made that comment, not a Nigerian. Its mentioned in one of the PAF books
 

ghazi52

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Mar 21, 2007
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"The Man who shot down an Israeli Air Force jet"


Air Cdre (R) Abdus Sattar Alvi (1st left) with squadron mates in front of Shenyang F-6 From CCS of PAF.

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When the Yom Kippur war broke out, Alvi was one of the Pakistan Air Force fighter pilots who volunteered to go to the Middle East in order to support Egypt and Syria. By the time they arrived, however, Egypt and Israel had already concluded a ceasefire and only Syria remained in an active state of war against Israel.Alvi, who was serving at a rank of Flight Lieutenant in 1973.The PAF fighter pilots flew in a formation using the call-sign "Shahbaz".

On 26 April, 1974, PAF fighter pilot Flight Lieutenant Sattar Alvi on deputation to No. 67A Squadron, Syrian Air Force (SAF) was flying a SAF MiG-21F-13 Fishbed (Serial No. 1863) out of Dumayr Air Base, Syria in an eight-ship formation with a fellow PAF pilot and the Flight Leader, Squadron Leader Arif Manzoor.
Alvi came to a worldwide international notice when he had shot down the IAF's Mirage IIICJ flown by Captain M. Lutz. On 26 April 1974, while on an aerial patrol, the PAF fighter pilots team including, Flight Lieutenant Captain Sattar Alvi, Squadron Leader Major Saleem Metla and the formation's leader Squadron Leader Major Arif Manzoor. The Shahbaz faced an encounter over Golan Heights between a Mig-21 of the Syrian Air Force and two Israeli Mirages.


While leading a Mig-21 patrol along the border, Squadron Leader Arif Manzoor apprised of the presence of two Israeli Phantom aircraft and was cautioned that these could be decoys while two other fast tracks approaching from the opposite direction might be the real threat. The latter turned out to be Mirages and a moment later Alvi, in Arif’s formation saw the No 2 Mirage breaking towards him.

All this time, heavy radio jamming by Israeli ground stations was making things difficult but the Pakistani pilots were used to such tactics. Sattar forced the Israeli pair into close combat, firing his K-13 missile at the first opportunity. The Israeli wingman’s Mirage exploded into a ball of fire, while the leader quickly disengaged.

After the engagements, Flight Lieutenant Captain Sattar Alvi and Shahbaz formation leader Squadron Leader Major Arif Manzoor were awarded two of Syria’s highest decorations for gallantry, the Wisaam Faris and Wisaam Shuja’at in 1973 by the President of Syria Hafez al-Assad in a public ceremony. The government of Pakistan also awarded the PAF fight pilot Sitara-e-Jur’at each. The prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto personally met each of them and awarded the gallantry awards in a public ceremonies.
 

ghazi52

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Mar 21, 2007
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Always at the Crossroads of History: Drigh Road​

January 29, 2021 Editor by S. Khalil

“Today, as they walk past PAF Base Faisal, a very few realize that they are crossing the birthplace of aviation in the Sub-continent. Almost a hundred years ago, it dominated the bare plains, where aircraft were assembled, adventurers stopped by, and trainee pilots honed their flying skills before being posted to the Far Eastern Front and where the control tower and hangers are part of heritage now. While many airfields were decommissioned and faded into obscurity after WWII, at Drigh Road, things were different. A hundred years on, it continues to be on the forefront in the fight against enemies.”

When the sun sets on PAF Base Faisal, there is something very special about the way its beams lands on this historical landmark, on memories of those who served here and who were just passing through. Everyone that mattered has gone through here, emperors, conquerors, explorers, and the curious. There is something about this land that captures the imagination and interest, a place that continues to amaze, a country that inspires yearning. While every city is a cultural capital, the British, like many invaders also left their mark, preserved in schools, hospitals, churches, office buildings, roads, railway tracks, and airfields. Nearly 80 years ago, when the British were on the cusp of WWII, new airfields were built not just in England but even across the colonial subcontinent. While some became surplus to requirements after WWII ended, others thrived well. Drigh Road was surely one of the latter.

The history of RAF Drigh Road is almost a century old. The base was established in 1918 with the formation of the India Command of RAF. Initially, an aircraft repair depot was established here with a port depot at Bombay. In 1922, it started to function as an indigenous unit with Wg Cdr Charles D Breese as its first commanding officer. The selection of Karachi was obviously beneficial to RAF as it provided a port with all logistics facilities to springboard the RAF fighters towards the Far East theatre.

The vast open expanse of level land and continuous Karachi sunshine was other factors that played an important role in its selection as a port side airbase. Diaries and reminiscences provide an insight into the life at Drigh Road and suggest that it wasn’t particularly well thought of initially. In early 1927, among a draft of Royal Air Force airmen, who arrived from the UK, was TE Shaw, famously known as ‘Lawrence of Arabia’. Working as an aircraft technician, Mr. Shaw was deputed to ERS (Engine Repair Shop) at Drigh Road. From his letters, which he also wrote to his mother, can be gained an authentic description of what Drigh Road was like over 90 years ago. He mentioned in his letters to her mother that the place was hot and humid, however, the food was excellent at Karachi city which was seven miles away from the base.

In the evenings he would roam around in the surroundings to listen to camel bells which fascinated him a lot. Describing the infrastructure at the base he wrote that the camp was newly built, spacious with stone-built buildings. The war readiness rooms and the hangers at Drigh Road Karachi, give us a window into the past. While Imperial Airways was one of the first airlines to fly to Karachi in March 1929, it was also the birthplace of the Indian Air Force.

The pioneering and the very first sqn of IAF, the No 1 Squadron was raised here on 1 April, 1933. The sqn had a strength of six officers (all graduates of RAF Cranwell) along with 19 ‘Hawai spahis’ or air soldiers. The sqn comprised of only one flight named as ‘A’ flight which was equipped with Westland Wapiti IIA biplanes. In the next couple of years a No 4 IAF VR (Volunteer Reserve) flight, with a mission to defend the coastal areas of Karachi was also established at Drigh Road. Flt Lt AB Awan (later retd as Wg Cdr), the first Muslim pilot and air force officer of IAF also remained at this prestigious air station during the 1930s and commanded one of the flights at Drigh Road. Drigh Road had always played host to those who were not afraid to take a risk or two. Some 86 years ago, three Indian pilots came forward to participate in an ultimate race. They were responding to a challenge set by the Aga Khan in 1929, through the Royal Aero Club. A special prize of £500 was announced for the first Indian to fly a solo flight between British India, Karachi to London, England. The Aga Khan Prize went to Aspy Meherwan Engineer, an 18-year old from Karachi, who had studied at DJ College (1929-30). He took off from London on 25 April 1930 and reached Karachi on 11 May. On commissioning, Aspy Meherwan’s first posting was at Drigh Road. Later, he rose to the rank of Air Marshal in the Indian Air Force and became its Chief of the Air Staff. Another competitor for the prize on this occasion was JRD Tata from Bombay. He later became famous as a businessman and is considered the father of civil aviation in India. The third competitor was Manmohan Singh from Rawalpindi, who took off from Croydon on 8 April 1930 and did not reach Karachi within the stipulated period but still became the first Indian to fly solo. He later joined Royal Indian Air Force and succumbed to a Japanese attack in Australia during World War II.


On 15 October 1932, JRD Tata, also made the maiden voyage from Juhu Aerodrome in Bombay (now Mumbai) to Drigh Road airstrip. He was carrying mail in a Puss Moth aircraft. At the heart of the Drigh Road Airbase was the runway, the launchpad for crucial war missions and stop-over points for adventurers. In the year 1937, Amela Earhart and Fred Noonan made a pit stop at Drigh Road Airfield, where their Lockheed Electra 10E Special, NR16020, was fuelled and serviced in preparation for the next leg of the Around-the-World flight. Drigh Road was the nerve center in the sub-continent during the British Raj. Every structure, here, is like a jewel in the crown. Practically every new aircraft destined for these fronts would

have passed through Drigh Road. During the late 1920s and early 1930s, there was a large black-colored airship hangar at the site of Karachi Airport. It was constructed for the British HMA R101, at the time, the largest and the most luxurious airship ever built. It was Britain’s answer to Germany’s zeppelin. Only three hangars were ever built in the world to dock and hangar Britain’s fleet of passenger airships. However, the R101 never finished the journey to Karachi, which it was expected to complete in five days. Although it promised British dominance of the air,

the R101 was too failed to fly all the way to India. It crashed and exploded just eight hours into its maiden flight over Beauvais, France, killing all but 6 of its 54 passengers and crew. Locally known as ‘Kala Chapra’, the hanger was so huge that pilots often used it as a visual reference while attempting VFR landings at Karachi. Over the years, the hangar became known as the landmark of Karachi, until it was demolished in the 1960s. During World War II, Drigh Road was a major transshipment base for United States Army (Air Force) units and equipment being used by Tenth Air Force in eastern India, Burma, and the Fourteenth Air Force in China. Several operational bombers and fighter units flew into Karachi for short organizational periods prior to their deployment. On 24 February 1942, the Aircraft Depot at Drigh Road was upgraded to No 1

Maintenance Unit (India), which meant that it was not only the main supply base for RAF but also for all the squadrons and units engaged in campaigns in the Far East. Air Technical Service Command had extensive facilities where aircraft were received, assembled, and tested before being flown to their combat units at forwarding airfields. It also functioned as a major maintenance and supply depot for both air forces. In addition, the Air Transport Command of USAF flew numerous cargo and passenger flights to the Middle East and to points within British India and China. In August 1943, the first Spitfires reached Drigh Road. Wing Commander RLF Boyd, Air Headquarters Bengal, reported to the unit with nine other pilots to collect the first consignment of Spitfires. The arrival of these aircraft in India proved to be a decisive factor in the air campaign against the Japanese. A year later, 37 P-47 Thunderbolts arrived from the United States, and soon after another 111 planes arrived from the UK. “The year 1944 finished up with 1, 660 aircraft having been dispatched from Drigh Road for operations on forward air bases,” according to the book titled, “The Story of the Pakistan Air Force: A Saga of Courage and Honour”. After having been an RAF station for nearly 25 years, the Drigh Road Station was handed over to the newly formed RPAF in 1947, with Gp Capt S C Elworhty as its first commanding officer. Technical Training School (TTS) and Recruits Training School (RTS) were the first units established after partition. Later these were shifted to Kohat. In December 1947, a contingent of 100 trainees under the command of Sqn Ldr Omer participated in a combined military parade held at Karachi polo ground, where the Quaid was the chief guest.

Three years later, on 15 August 1950, some 150, 000 in the audience witnessed the first-of-its-kind air display. It was a demonstration of the highest order, precision bombing, rocketry, and supply dropping. The best item was the aerobatics display by Flt Lt FS Hussain in his Fury fighter plane. Then-Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan praised the officers and men of the nascent Royal Pakistan Air Force (RPAF) of great technological advancement. To introduce the young nation’s youth to the joy of flying, glider pilot training was introduced through the “Shaheen Air Troops”, established on 2 September 1949. In November 1949, Flg Off Jan Zbigniew Mikulski became the setter of glider activity in Karachi. In the eternal quest for higher performance, he was posted to RPAF Drigh Road to organize Central Gliding School. Besides the joys of several hours of free flight by riding invisible currents, the school was to provide glider training to Shaheen Air Scouts. Additionally, four Glider Training Units were established at Lahore, Chaklala, Peshawar, and Dhaka, followed by another three at Chittagong, Kohat, and Quetta.

The Central Gliding School was officially established at the soaring capital, Drigh Road on 1 May 1950, and Flg Off Jan Zbigniew Mikulski became its first Officer Commanding and Chief Pilot Instructor. Amongst the instructors was his wife, Civilian Gazetted Officer Maria Aniela Young-Mukulska, one of the first Polish female pilots of engineless aircraft. She was also the first Polish female glider instructor since 1935 and held several Polish National Soaring Records. She was joined by the wife of Sqn Ldr Wladyslaw Turowicz, CGO Zofia Szczecinska- Truowicz, another experienced sailplane pilot. Together they made significant contributions to the glider flying in Pakistan. At about this time, foundations were laid for the growth of major units. Maintenance Unit 101 came up and Air Maintenance Depot 102, which dates back to 1921, was also upgraded. This depot continued its original role of assembly of new aircraft and maintenance after Independence.

After 1955, jet planes such as the T-33 started arriving from the USA. During 1956, more modern jet aircraft was inducted in the PAF and the 102 AMD was provided with new facilities to repair and massage these aircraft and their engines into life. By this time, No 102 AMD had become the most important maintenance unit of the PAF and considered its backbone for providing support to all types of aircraft such as the F-86, T-33, and B-57. Behind the razzmatazz of the flying in the RPAF, was the rarely seen world of skill and inventiveness at the No 102 AMD.

Over the years, 102 AMD was issued with a variety of tasks ranging from receipt of new types of aircraft to carry out local modifications. From restoring 30 assembled F-86 to airworthiness in 1956, to modifying a Bristol Freighter to spray over one of the worst locust attacks in 1961, to organizing depot-level maintenance of the Chinese F-6 aircraft, the No 102 AMD always rose to the challenge. Modernization of the unit continued and new equipment and machines were installed to stay abreast with the workload of a modern PAF. Despite the several key stages in its development, a lot of Drigh Road airfield is still there, including the original maintenance hangers. The old hangers, just yards from the runway, look the same from the outside. These buildings that used to house WWII warplanes are still in use, but look a little different from the inside.

The propeller planes like the Moths and the Spitfires, have been replaced by more modern aircraft. In 1974, the base was named after the late King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. The place still attracts former pilots, with special connections to the past. Its stories live on into the future. “Drigh Road feels like stepping back in time,” said a senior retired PAF officer who had served at this base for years. It continues to this day as PAF Base Faisal, and aircraft operations can be seen throughout the year.

Today, it is home to No 21 Sqn, equipped with mighty C-130 Hercules. It is also the site of PAF’s Southern Air Command HQ and PAF Air War College. Sharing the runways with the Pakistan Navy, the base is playing an important role in the aerial defense of the country. At its peak, Drigh Road was home to hundreds of personnel. Those who served here could not have known that decades on, their stories would be so closely followed and celebrated.

The PAF The museum, at PAF Base Faisal, ensures that their sacrifices are never forgotten. At the PAF Museum lookout for the Dakota and the Harvard, aircraft from those days that stand as memorials to the aircrew that served at Drigh Road. Wide gardens, a digital archive, exhibitions, and a cafe make the museum a great place to learn the stories and pay respects. “PAF Faisal Airbase is like a diamond in the rough and provides a good place for airmen to raise families and entertain themselves, as they serve their country,” said a serving PAF officer.

By S.Khalil

 

Windjammer

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Pakstani Pilot Describes Downing of an Indian MIG​

By Malcolm W. Browne Special to The New York Times

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December 15, 1971,


AT A FIGHTER BASE, in West Pakistan, Dec. 14 — A jubilant Pakistani pilot landed his Chinese‐built MIG19 fighter here today and described how he had just fired an American‐made Sidewinder missile into an Indian MIG‐21, destroying the enemy aircraft.
Flight Lieut. Amer Ali Sherif had some lines from the Koran invoking the help of Allah taped to his flight suit. Otherwise he could have passed for an American fighter pilot.
The uniform, the mannerisms and even the slang would have seemed at home on an American base.
“There were three of us on ground support duty looking for enemy tanks,” he said. “Suddenly I spotted 10 enemy planes at 12 o'clock, Sukhcn‐7's and MIG‐21's. called the flight leader to break but [turn sharply] and we punched our stores” —that is, jettisoned external fuel tanks.
“I fired one weapon — it was a Sidewinder heat‐seeking missile—“and the MIG‐21 exploded,” he said. “There was no chute so I gues we won't get to meet the poor guy.’

Apart from the roar of Mirage and MIG jets landing and taking off, this large air base—whose location cannot be disclosed for security reasons — seemed almost at peace. Base officers and pilots entertained a group of visitors at a garden party at which officers' wives lent a homey touch to conversation.
“All our people are disappointed with the Indians,” the base commander, Air Commodore Ghulam Hyder, said. “We want to fight them and there's a competition between our Mirage pilots and MIG pilots to see who gets more. But the Indians just aren't coming over.
Victory Held ‘Certain’
“They made a couple of half‐hearted attempts to hit this base but did no damage, as you can see. They haven't been back in days.”
Pakistan claims to have destroyed about 130 of India's 625 combat aircraft while losing only nine of her own.
Pakistani authorities concede, however, that the fighter force of F‐86 Sabre jets assigned to the defense of East Pakistan has been completely out of action for nearly a week.


A squadron leader, Ejaz Ahmed Khan, said that Moslem faith was the main reason for the one‐sided combat Pakistan asserts she has waged against the Indian Air Force.
“From our earliest days we are grounded in Islam and our one God makes our victory certain,” he declared. The Indians are worshippers of idols, of many gods. Ours is the true strength.

American Training Praised

Technically, Pakistan's small and superannuated air force is hardly a match for the large number of Sukhoi7's, MIG‐21's and other modern aircraft India is using. Pilots here say the Indians also are using an improved version of the Soviet‐built Sam‐2, a surface‐to‐air missile capable of tracking planes down to an altitude as low as 500 feet.
Pakistan's force was made up largely on Korean‐war vintage Sabre jets and a smaller number of Chinese built MIG‐19's (designated by China as the F‐6) and French Mirage III's.
“One of the main differ ences,” Wing Comdr. Mohd Mehmud Alam said, “is that our air training basically is founded on the training the American Air Force gave us. India's training is mainly by Russia, and Russians don't know how to fly even their own planes.”
The wing commander said he had seen the Russians in action in Syria and Jordan during the 1,967 war against Israel.
Wing Commander Alem also is a believer in prayer. “This is a secular age, and we may not all say our prayers, but we all believe,” he declared. “Our ground crews pray and I say all five, prayers each time before taking off. How can we lose?”
 

ghazi52

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Operation Swift Retort: Pakistan’s Response to the Indian Aggression and Miscalculation​


Despite Pakistan reiterating its desire for peace talks and extending an olive branch, India has always spurned its efforts to defuse tensions. Instead, whenever an important event is to take place in Pakistan and the country is moving towards progress, an incident is either staged in India or Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), with a disquieting rise of war hysteria in the country. Additionally, a pattern that has come to the fore shows how these events seem to take place when the elections are due in India.



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Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations highlighted such instances in a press conference that was held in 2019: "In December 2001 ─ the Indian parliament attack ─ India was supposed to have general elections and the presidential election in 2002, the United Nations General Assembly was in session. It was around this time that an influx of terrorists began on Pakistan's western border following 9/11. When the Mumbai attack took place, our progress in the war on terror was quite good and at this time too, there were to be general elections in India from February to December.”

“On January 2, 2016, Pathankot happened. The President of the United States' State of the Union address was due. India was to see state elections and there were foreign secretary-level talks scheduled between India and Pakistan. That was scuttled… The Uri incident happened on September 18, 2016, when our prime minister was set to go to the UNGA to deliver a speech," he added.

India’s penchant for phantom surgical strikes, displaying the urge for military adventurism was clearly seen after Indian military base in Uri in IIOJK was attacked by freedom fighters in September 2016. India accused Pakistan of its involvement even before the Uri attack was over. This hasty charge seemed strange.

To follow up, India claimed to have carried out a surgical strike against the ‘terrorist launch pads’ in response to the Uri attack which was predictably blamed on Pakistan. However, on ground, the proof of a surgical strike having been conducted was nowhere to be found – apart from a firing incident along the LOC which was strongly and befittingly responded to as per the rules of engagement – as if magically any evidence of a surgical strike had vanished into thin air, leaving behind rising tensions that India kept stoking.

In February 2019, Pakistan was preparing for significant events that were either to take place in Pakistan or involved Pakistan in February-March 2019, such as1 Saudi Crown Prince's visit and investment conference; discussion on United Nations Security Council terror listing; Afghan peace talks; European Union discussion on IIOJK; Hearing of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav's case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ); Discussion on the FATF report; meeting between Pakistan, Indian officials on Kartarpur Corridor developments; and Pakistan Super League matches were to be played in Pakistan.

That was not to the liking of India, therefore, in a staged incident in Pulwama on February 14, India, as expected, immediately blamed Pakistan without any inquiry or concrete evidence. Indian leadership resorted to bellicosity and belligerence vowing to avenge and give a ‘strong response’, despite failing to provide actionable evidence of Pakistan’s involvement. The following events transpired from February 15 to February 25, 20192:


▪ February 15: Modi vows 'strong response' to Pulwama; India withdraws Most Favoured Nation status for Pakistan
▪ February 16: Pakistan seeks 'actionable evidence'
▪ February 18: Pakistan calls back high commissioner in India
▪ India begins arguments in Jadhav case before ICJ
▪ February 19: PM Imran asks Delhi to share evidence; India spurns PM Imran’s olive branch
▪ February 21: UN chief calls for ‘meaningful’ engagement; Congress tells Modi not to 'play politics' over Pulwama; NSC orders acceleration of anti-terrorism ops
▪ February 22: ‘Talks, not war,’ Pakistan Army chief warns India against ‘misadventure’; Qureshi writes a letter to UNSC
▪ February 25: FM postpones Japan tour; 'Pakistan armed forces fully prepared for befitting response to Indian aggression': COAS


From this turn of events, it can be concluded that India was beating the drums of war once again, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s eyes firmly set on the next elections. This time around, however, Pakistan was not one to sit back and the subsequent events were to completely erode the credibility of Indian politico-military leadership. A clear message was given by the Pakistani politico-military leadership that Pakistan would pick the place and time to respond to this uncalled for aggression.
India Escalates the Situation – February 26, 2019
The cold night of February 26, 2019 saw an unusual air activity of Indian Air Force (IAF) as picked up by the radars of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) in Bahawalpur, Lahore and Sialkot Sector. Due to the timely matching response by PAF in all three sectors, Indian jets didn’t dare to invade. The environment seemed immersed in the pangs of war. India was up to ‘something’, but the question on everyone’s mind was what could it be? Pakistan’s politico-military leadership was in a unanimous agreement that India would, without a shred of doubt, be scheming to repeat its infamous phantom surgical strikes.

However, that became evident in the wee hours of February 26, 2019, when a heavy team of Indian planes purposefully violated Pakistani airspace across the Line of Control (LOC). PAF instantly picked up the movement and swiftly responded with its fighters chasing the Indian jets. Sensing the obvious blow, the Indian jets panicked and dropped their payloads over the forests of Balakot (Jabba) while rushing back to safety to their side of the LOC.

DG ISPR, while addressing a press conference on February 26, said that the Indian air force started their intrusion at the Pakistani airspace on three fronts. He further said that one of the Combat Air Patrol (CAP) was in the air when the first visibility of an Indian formation came on radar while approaching towards the Lahore-Sialkot border. “Our CAP approached and challenged them and they returned seven to eight nautical miles within their borders and did not cross into our territory,” he said. “The second Indian formation was spotted at Okara-Bahawalpur sector, but they also did not dare to cross into Pakistan when another Pakistani CAP was sent to that side as standard operation procedure (SOP).” He mentioned how the third CAP picked a relatively heavier formation at Muzaffarabad near Keran Valley. “They had crossed the LoC by four to five nautical miles when we challenged them. They had crossed the LoC for four minutes before the PAF challenged them.”

The Indian forces wanted to target the civilian population so they could claim that they had targeted alleged terrorist base camps to benefit their warmongering. However, due to Pakistan’s swift response, they released their payload of four bombs which dropped miles away near Jabba, Balakot, and left the area immediately.


Strategic Messaging

Speaking at a press conference, DG ISPR dared India, "I said three things: You will never be able to surprise us and we have not been surprised. We were ready, we responded, we denied. I said we will retain the escalation ladder. We have that initiative in our hand," he said. "I am saying that we will surprise you. Wait for that surprise. Our response will be different. See it for yourself. The response will come, and response will come differently."

Meanwhile, addressing a joint press conference with the Ministers of Defence and Finance, the Foreign Minister stated that Pakistan rejected India’s claim of targeting an alleged terrorist camp near Balakot and heavy casualties. “The Bhartiya Janata Party was rejected in five Indian states so it had to resort to something… when it is time for elections, politicians start losing their minds,” Qureshi said. “Even within India people are raising questions and saying the story is not the same as being narrated.”

The Defence Minister talked about PAF being airborne, waiting for any eventuality and that the Indian aircraft dropped their payload some four to five kilometers inside the LOC. "At 2:55 am the Indian planes entered (the Pakistani airspace). At 2:58 am they (were driven out) of our airspace. They fled from the LoC because of the alertness of our Air Force," the Foreign Minister said, as he warned not to "underestimate their (the air force's) ability to defend Pakistan."3

Operation Swift Retort – February 27, 2019

Meanwhile, on February 26 2019, an unusually busy day in the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, Pakistan Army officers along with PAF officers appeared busy inside their high-tech operations room. Decked up in the wartime uniform, they were bent over a large map illuminated on the tabletop screen, urgency reflecting in their very demeanor. Careful planning is, after all, an intrinsic part of such precision operations. The rules were clear – keeping the country secure tops every other concern.

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While they were busy encircling places on the map with a marker, the door opened and an army officer who appeared to be their senior walked in. In anticipation of a significant piece of news, they became attentive. The officer took a deep breath and said, “Gentlemen”, further arousing the curiosity with a deliberate pause. His expression remained neutral and the voice steady, giving an air of solid confidence that resonated with the present situation and the quality of an Army officer, as he spoke, “A decision has been made. The top brass is convinced that an immediate response is essential. We are going for contingency 3.”

The politico-military leadership had decided to give a swift response through PAF, covering all grounds in the planning of the response that came to be known as Operation ‘Swift Retort’.
The timing of the attack was left to the decision of the Air Force while the targets had been distinctly marked for them – the Indian Army installations across LOC. Although the response to India breaching Pakistan’s sovereignty was to be a notch higher – quid pro quo plus – it was kept clear that there shall be no casualty during the operation.

A question was raised by the officers on how that would be ensured given Indian inclination to transform everything into an opportunity to malign Pakistan in front of the international community. The senior officer present in the meeting thus spoke of the unique decision to drift their targets at the very last moment.

The officials had taken into consideration that Pakistan Air Force has cameras attached to their bombs which would provide sufficient proof in response to any fake news originating from India on Operation Swift Retort. It would be enough to prove that the drifting was deliberate so that there is no loss of lives, while leaving no doubt that the PAF jets hovered above their heads and had Pakistan wanted it, havoc would have been wreaked.
On being briefed on the details of the mission, the officers began to further chart out their plan. On February 27, 2019, warplanes of PAF took to the sky and carried out the specified protocol of the operation, delivering an emphatic blow to the enemy.

However, IAF, in an attempt to further escalate the aerial mission, breached Pakistan’s airspace and crossed into Pakistan while chasing the aircraft. The officers of PAF not only defended the skies of Pakistan but also deterred the aggressors in a jaw-breaking dogfight that was instigated by IAF. The successful sortie resulted in PAF downing two fighter aircraft of IAF.

The capture and subsequent release of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman proved to be a testament to Pakistan’s resolve to safeguard its territorial integrity as well as give India a befitting response. The state of Pakistan, its Army, and Air Force proved that despite an unwavering stance for peaceful resolutions and table talks with their adversary, they will not step back from giving an appropriate response to India’s misadventures.

Despite hardcore proof of the downing of the planes along with reports that disregarded Indian claims of shooting down Pakistan’s F-16 aircraft, the Indian leadership went to the extent of awarding Abhinandan the third highest gallantry award, the Vir Chakra, last year.



1. DG ISPR reiterates 'talks, not war' proposal to India, distances Pakistan from Pulwama, Dawn, February 22, 2019.
2. Timeline: Events leading up to the Feb 2019 Pak-India aerial combat, Dawn, Updated February 27, 2021
3. We will pick time, place to hit back, The News, February 27, 2019

 

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