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PAF Squadrons History

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Pakistan Air Force Martin B-57 Canberra At Masroor Air Base, Karachi Along With Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star & Shenyang F-6 Fighter Aircraft In Mid 80s.

Note - F-86Es From No 17 Sqn In The Background.



1609768706035.png
 

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No. 16 Squadron


No 16 Tactical Attack Squadron was raised in 1957 and was equipped with F-86Fs with Squadron Leader Imam-ul-Haq Khan as its first Commanding Officer. Little is recorded about the early years of the squadron; due to unknown reasons, it was disbanded in 1963.

On 13 April 70, the squadron was reactivated at PAF Base, Masroor, once again with F-86F aircraft. Wing Commander Sharbat Ali Changazi was appointed as the officer commanding. In February 1971, the squadron was designated as the Fighter Leading School, where courses were conducted for senior pilots of the PAF.

The squadron did not take part in the 1971 war as a unit; instead its pilots were attached command of No 26 Squadron, also an F-86F unit, which was based at PAF Base Peshawar. Apart from leading several missions into enemy territory, Wing Commander Changazi shot down 1 IAF Hunter. Squadron Leader Cecil Chaudhry, also a member of 16 Squadron, was attached to No 18; he accounted for an Su-7. Earlier in the war, he himself had been shot down by ground fire but had ejected safely and was recovered by own troops on the same day. After the war, in October 1972, the squadron was once again number-plated.


After a lapse of almost ten years the squadron was again reactivated, this time with F-6 aircraft, and located at PAF Base Rafiqui. At the same time, it was earmarked to receive the first A-5 III aircraft. A group of officers and airmen was therefore sent to China for familiarization with the new aircraft.

The first batch of A-5s landed at Rafiqui on 12th February 1983. Wing Commander Hamid Saeed Khan was placed in command of the squadron which was given a tactical attack role. The re equipment ceremony took place on 21st March with General Mohammad lqbal, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, as the guest of honour. The ceremony was attended by the Ambassador of China and other dignitaries.

On 23rd March 1983, the squadron took part in the Pakistan Day fly past at Rawalpindi. The base commander Amjad H. Khan, led the A-5 formation which was judged the best of the fly past,and a shield was presented to the squadron to mark the occasion.

Since No.16 was the first to fly the A-5s it was instrumental in converting pilots of Nos. 7 and 26 Squadrons, which received the same aircraft later. For this contribution, Wing Commander Hamid Saeed was commended with a certificate from the CAS on 23rd March 1984. The squadron was first put to test in exercise Jetstream in 1983 and again when it took part in the armament competition in February 84.

In November 1985 the squadron became the first A-5 unit to drop live 750 lb. bombs; it also carried out extensive dissimilar aircraft combat training for the first time against F-16s. In December, the squadron participated in exercise Highmark 85 and a year later, in exercise Highmark 86 during which it carried out offensive operations as well as live armament at Thal range.​
 

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No. 9 Squadron



The story of No 9 Squadron dates back to May 1944 when it made its operational debut in Burma during WW II. It was formed on January 3, 1944 at Lahore on the Hurricane IIC. It converted to the Spitfire VIII in 1945 and was initialized in June 1945. Squadron Leader M. Asghar Khan, later Air Marshal and first Pakistani Pakistani Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Air Force was its commander at this time.


The squadron was reformed at Peshawar on August 15, 1947 and among its earliest achievements was the creation of a four-plane aerobatic team, claimed to be the first in the subcontinent. It has always remained a favored squadron in the PAF.

Equipped with Hurricane II C aircraft, it engaged in extensive operations in WWII theatre and was awarded a souvenir Japanese general's sword in recognition of its meritorious services. In the years that followed, the squadron maintained itself in a high state of combat preparedness on a succession of the latest fighter aircraft of their time: Spitfire VIII, Tempest 11, Fury, Starfighter, Mirage, and most recently, the Fighting Falcon. Five of its squadron commanders - M Asghar Khan, A Rahim Khan, Zafar A Chaudhry, Zulfiqar Ali Khan and Jamal A Khan - rose to lead the Pakistan Air Force.

Originally raised at Risalpur on 13 November 43, the squadron was allotted to the RPAF upon partition at the instance of Squadron Leader Asghar Khan, who had commanded it in 1945 and was a member of the Air Force Reconstitution Committee in July 47. In its new capacity as the first fighter squadron of the RPAF, it was formed at Peshawar on 15th August 1947 with 8 Tempest aircraft under the command of Squadron Leader M Ibrahim Khan. After flying Tempests for almost three years, the squadron converted onto the Hawker Fury fighters in July 50.

In November 56, the unit moved to Kohat which was to become its home for the next five years. In 1961, the squadron's decade-long association with Furies as well as its piston-engined chapter came to an end. In March 61 came the F-104 Starfighters - the ultimate in aircraft technology at that time. In the PAF, 9 Squadron was the only recipient of this awe inspiring Mach 2 fighter which, through its sheer power and speed, struck terror in enemy ranks in both the India-Pakistan Wars. The Starfighters, after rendering valuable service for more than a decade, faded out of Pakistani skies in the early 70s.


No 9 Squadron reemerged at Rafiqui in January 1973 as a tactical attack unit, equipped with brand new Mirage-V aircraft. On 15 June 77, it became an OCU with the task of converting pilots onto Mirage fighters.

On 31st August 1981, it moved to PAF Masroor and remained there till the middle of 1984. As an OCU, the squadron graduated 15 conversion courses on Mirages and in June 84, the squadron changed its location once again and moved to Sargodha, where it was reequipped with F-16 Fighting Falcons and was redesignated as No 9 Multi-Role Squadron. It was on this aircraft that Squadron Leader Hameed Qadri shot down an Afghan Air Force Su-22 and damaged another while flying an air defence mission over Parachinar on 17 July 86.

9 Squadron's record in war has been as striking as its achievements in peacetime. In the 1965 war it flew air defence, fighter escort and recce missions from the city of Shaheens on its fabled Starfighters. On 6th September Flight Lieutenant Aftab shot down an IAF Mystere which was attacking Rahwali.

On the 7th Flight Lieutenant Amjad H Khan accounted for another Mystere. Squadron Leader Jamal A Khan intercepted and shot down 1 IAF Canberra at night. For their acts of valour Squadron Leaders Jamal A Khan and M. L.Middlecoat and Flight Lieutenant Amjad H Khan were decorated with Sitara-i-Juraat.
Soon after the start of the 1971 war the Squadron flew its Starfighters to PAF Masroor. There, while performing air defence day/night strikes, recce and escort duties, its pilots shot down an Indian Gnat, a Su-7 and an Alize.

Squadron Leader Amjad H Khan ejected in Indian territory while attacking a radar and was taken prisoner of war. Wing Commander M L Middlecoat and Flight Lieutenant Samad Changezi made the supreme sacrifice by laying down their lives in defence of the fatherland; both Shaheeds were posthumously awarded the Sitara-i-Juraat.

For its meritorious services in war and peace, the squadron was awarded the squadron colour on 25th January 1979. The scrolls around the squadron crest in the middle of the banner carry the battle honours: 'Sargodha 65' and 'Karachi 71'. The squadron crest itself is a griffin; a mythical creature with an eagle's head and wings and a lion's body signifying immeasurable strength, aggressiveness and vigilance.​
Nos 1, 2, 6 and 9 squadrons were all allocated to Pakistan upon independence, but, unlike the army, the air force did not continue the heritage of the units that came to it it's share except the No 9 and (partly) the No 6 squadrons.



No. 16 Squadron



No 16 Tactical Attack Squadron was raised in 1957 and was equipped with F-86Fs with Squadron Leader Imam-ul-Haq Khan as its first Commanding Officer. Little is recorded about the early years of the squadron; due to unknown reasons, it was disbanded in 1963.

On 13 April 70, the squadron was reactivated at PAF Base, Masroor, once again with F-86F aircraft. Wing Commander Sharbat Ali Changazi was appointed as the officer commanding. In February 1971, the squadron was designated as the Fighter Leading School, where courses were conducted for senior pilots of the PAF.

The squadron did not take part in the 1971 war as a unit; instead its pilots were attached command of No 26 Squadron, also an F-86F unit, which was based at PAF Base Peshawar. Apart from leading several missions into enemy territory, Wing Commander Changazi shot down 1 IAF Hunter. Squadron Leader Cecil Chaudhry, also a member of 16 Squadron, was attached to No 18; he accounted for an Su-7. Earlier in the war, he himself had been shot down by ground fire but had ejected safely and was recovered by own troops on the same day. After the war, in October 1972, the squadron was once again number-plated.


After a lapse of almost ten years the squadron was again reactivated, this time with F-6 aircraft, and located at PAF Base Rafiqui. At the same time, it was earmarked to receive the first A-5 III aircraft. A group of officers and airmen was therefore sent to China for familiarization with the new aircraft.

The first batch of A-5s landed at Rafiqui on 12th February 1983. Wing Commander Hamid Saeed Khan was placed in command of the squadron which was given a tactical attack role. The re equipment ceremony took place on 21st March with General Mohammad lqbal, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, as the guest of honour. The ceremony was attended by the Ambassador of China and other dignitaries.

On 23rd March 1983, the squadron took part in the Pakistan Day fly past at Rawalpindi. The base commander Amjad H. Khan, led the A-5 formation which was judged the best of the fly past,and a shield was presented to the squadron to mark the occasion.

Since No.16 was the first to fly the A-5s it was instrumental in converting pilots of Nos. 7 and 26 Squadrons, which received the same aircraft later. For this contribution, Wing Commander Hamid Saeed was commended with a certificate from the CAS on 23rd March 1984. The squadron was first put to test in exercise Jetstream in 1983 and again when it took part in the armament competition in February 84.

In November 1985 the squadron became the first A-5 unit to drop live 750 lb. bombs; it also carried out extensive dissimilar aircraft combat training for the first time against F-16s. In December, the squadron participated in exercise Highmark 85 and a year later, in exercise Highmark 86 during which it carried out offensive operations as well as live armament at Thal range.​
would anyone happen to know the motto of the 16?
 

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No. 16 Squadron

In 1988, this squadron was stationed at PAF Base Rafiqui, and was equipped with A-5 aircraft. The year was full of operational commitments. In addition to one Flat Out and two Wide Awake Exercises, the squadron carried out the Long Shadow Exercise in February, and Hit Hard-VI, VII and VIII in April, June, and August 1988, respectively. In addition, the Fake-XIV and Shako Exercises were also carried out. The squadron also participated in a Durandal bomb drop exercise at Sonmiani range in December. In the later half of the year, 1 vs. 1 DACT missions were carried out, evaluating the performance of the A-5 against the F-7P in close combat.


Officers of No. 16 Squadron with their Officer Commanding Wg Cdr Mirza Zafar - 1988.


In 1989, apart from taking part in Hit Hard exercises, the squadron participated in the Armement Competition. During the Fire Power Demonstration that followed the competition, the squadron carried out level delivery of Mk-82 bombs. During the month of May, five more aircraft were added to the squadron's inventory. In November 1989, the squadron was deployed at PAF Base Farid for Exercise High Mark. At the end of the year, the Inter-Squadron Dive Bombing Competition was held between 16 and 26 Squadrons, which the 16 Squadron won.
During 1990, the squadron carried out one Flat Out and three Wide Awake exercises. Exercise Tondo-II, III, and IV were also carried out. In the middle of the year, the Officer Commanding, Wing Commander Zafar, went to China to carry out evaluation trials in A-5M and F aircraft. The squadron pilots also went to Sargodha to undergo SCUP.

During 1991, three FT-6 aircraft, fitted with Martin Baker seats, were added to the inventory of the squadron. In addition to the exercises Flat Out and Wide Awake, the squadron also participated in Exercise Combat-VI, Sore Eyes-III, and Condor-II. During November, the squadron moved to Multan and during its stay there, it flew 115 sorties with 100 per cent serviceability and reliability.




Officers of No. 16 Squadron with their Officer Commanding Wg Cdr Shadab - 1994.



During 1992, the squadron carried out four Wide Awake and three Flat Out exercises. The squadron also participated in DACT Camp in April and May. In June, Exercise King Cobra was held in which the squadron achieved 100 per cent results. During 1993, in addition to the routine exercises, the squadron carried out DACT in month of May and participated in High Mark Exercise in October. During 1995, the squadron participated in the exercise Saffron Bandit followed by exercise High Mark.

In January 1996, the squadron proceeded to Masroor for air-to-air firing. During this year, three Wide Awake and three Flat Out exercises were also carried out. During 1997, the squadron participated in exercise Fire Fox in March. This was an Air Defence exercise aimed at generating low level tracks for interceptors.

The year 1997 was full of squadron movements. The squadron was deployed twice to Minhas for a DACT Camp, and to Murid and Minhas as the runway of its parent base was being re-carpeted. The squadron was also deployed at Chaklala for ADA duties. The last deployment was at Sargodha for participation in the exercise Saffron Bandit.

The squadron also participated in the fly-past on 7 September in connection with Pakistan's Golden Jubilee celebrations. Besides, the squadron carried out routine Wide Awake and Flat Out exercises. In one of the Wide Awake exercise, the canopy of an A-5 aircraft blew-off in the air, while it was proceeding to the range. The aircraft landed safely at the home base. It was during this year that operations on the Jamurd Range were discontinued as it was handed over to civil authorities.

In April 1998, the squadron participated in exercise Zarb-e-Aahen and exhibited a high standard of professionalism that was appreciated by the Corps Commander who had witnessed the entire exercise. In appreciation of the performance of the squadron pilots, he visited the squadron along with AOC, NAC, Air Vice Marshal Pervaiz Mirza, and presented a memento to the squadron.

The squadron was awarded the ACES Trophy for the best performance, from among all tactical attack squadrons, in the year 1997.​
 

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No. 16 Squadron Commanders



RankNameDate
Wg CdrAshfaq Ahmed Shaikh
Sep-1987​
Zafar Hussain
Jul-1989​
Mohammed Younus
Aug-1991​
Syed Shadab Hasnain
Feb-1993​
Zafar Iqbal Haider
Jul-1994​
Shahid Khan
Jul-1995​
Sajid Habib
Jan-1997​
Razi Nawab
Jun-1998​
Mumtaz Ahmed
Mar-2000​
Shahid Latif Bajwa
Jul-2001​
Arshad Ali Wasti
Apr-2003​
Ch. Waleed Akhter
Aug-2004​
 

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No. 17 Squadron

No 17 Squadron was established at Mauripur on 1st April 1957, under the command of Squadron Leader M Z Butt. The unit was housed in an old building comprising 4 rooms which had to be shared with No 16 Squadron. No furniture or furnishing had been provided and these had to be obtained from other units on a beg, borrow or steal basis!

In about a month's time, the squadron established itself and started regular flying by 20th May 1957, In January and February 58, the squadron provided an aerial escort of 8 aircraft each for the President of Indonesia and King of Afghanistan. It also took part in the historic air display which was held in honour of the latter dignitary.

In the beginning of May 1958, the unit moved to Peshawar from where it carried out offensive operations in the Dir / Bajaur area. 17 Squadron also participated in PAF exercise 'Janus' in 1959. On 27th September 1963, the squadron moved from Mauripur to PAF Base Dhaka where, on 4th January 1964, Air Marshal M Asghar Khan, C-in-C PAF, visited the unit during his annual inspection of the base. On 12 January a static display of aircraft and equipment was held on the Armed Forces Day.

The squadron returned to West Pakistan in February 1964 to participate in the Perry-Keene armament competition. Seven F-86s were flown across India in two formations with a night stop at Palam. Flying Officer Zaigham Aizad won the Sher Afghan trophy for best individual marksmanship during the competition. While in West Pakistan, the squadron also took part in the Republic Day fly past at Rawalpindi on 23rd March 1964. The unit returned to Dhaka on 28th March 1964.

Air Marshal Asghar Khan again visited the squadron on his way back from a tour of Indonesia and the Philippines in April 1964. On 8th October 1964, the unit moved from Dhaka to Mauripur on a permanent basis. Flight Lieutenant Imtiaz Bhatti was left behind for liaison duties with the incoming No 14 Squadron.

No 17 Squadron took an active part in the war between India and Pakistan in September 1965 in which all its pilots flew with great determination and courage. The role assigned to the squadron at Sargodha mostly involved close support to the army in Sialkot, Lahore and Khem Karan sectors. Squadron Leader Azim Daudpota, the squadron commander, and Flight Lieutenant Seraj-ul-Haque also flew some air defence missions at Sargodha.


Pilots of No. 17 Squadron with their Officer Commanding Wg Cdr Shabbir Syed - 1972.


After successfully executing a strike over the Philora area on 19th September 1965 Squadron Leader Daudpota's formation comprising Flight Lieutenants S M Ahmed, Mujtaba and Azam was bounced by 2 IAF Gnats and in the ensuing fight Azam shot down 1 Gnat. One of the most effective strikes carried out by the squadron was led by Squadron Leader Daudpota with Flying Officer Qadir and 2 other pilots, they destroyed several medium guns that had been positioned near Jallo / Atari for shelling Lahore. The formation was highly commended by the Army field commander.

The squadron in all claimed 20 to 30 tanks and 100 to 150 vehicles destroyed or damaged and 150 to 200 enemy troops killed. In April 1966, 4 pilots flying F-86 aircraft escorted King Faisal of Saudi Arabia into Karachi on his state visit to Pakistan.

On 1st June the squadron was equipped with F-86E aircraft and by August all the squadron pilots were operational on this new mark of the Sabre. In October 66, the squadron moved to Iran for ten days to take part in the Iranian Air Force Day fly past. In February 67, the squadron took part in the annual armament competition and produced scores which were an improvement upon its previous performances. On 9th March the squadron also participated in a fire power demonstration at Jamrud Range, Peshawar.


Officers of No. 17 Squadron with their Officer Commanding Wg Cdr A R Yusefzai - 1980.


On 15th October 1971 No. 17 Squadron moved to PAF Rafiqui from where it carried out war operations under the command of Wing Commander Mujtaba Qureshi. A total of 337 sorties were flown during December 1971 which included 272 operational missions.

The war missions included air defence scrambles close support in the Lahore-Kasur-Hussainiwala sector and counter air strikes against the IAF. During operations there were 5 cases of aircraft damage due to enemy attack. On 4th December 1971 Flight Lieutenant Nayyar lqbal sustained fatal injuries when his aircraft engine flamed out. The squadron returned to Masroor at the end of December.

On 19th July 1979, Squadron Colour was presented to the unit by Admiral K R Niazi, Chief of the Naval Staff.​
 

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No. 17 Squadron





During the Afghan conflict, this squadron carried out ADA duties from PAF Base Samungli. From July to October 1988, it carried out ADA duties at Chaklala under the command of Wing Commander Shaukat Haider Changezi. The squadron participated in the PAF Fire Power Demonstration at Sonmiani Range on 25 March 1989, a performance which was witnessed by the then Prime Minister.

The squadron also participated in ISAC-89 and won the trophy in the non-INAS aircraft category, while Flight Lieutenant Arif Khan was declared No. 1 pilot in the 'Sher Afgan-89 Armament Competition' among the non-INAS aircraft. In November/December 1989, the squadron participated in the exercise 'Zarb-e-Momin' while operating from PAF Base Farid and PAF Vehari.

In March 1990, it participated in the Pakistan Day fly-past while operating from PAF Base Peshawar. The squadron also won the 1990 ACES Trophy. In October 1996, the squadron participated in ISAC-96 held at PAF Base Masroor. The squadron pilots also carried out banner tow duties for ISAC-96. Wing Commander Khalid Chishti was declared the Best Shot on the F-6 weapon system.


Officers of No. 17 Squadron with their Officer Commanding Wg Cdr Khalid Chisti - 1997.



In 1998, prior to the nuclear tests at Chaghai, the pilots of 17 Squadron carried out standing CAPs under the command of Wing Commander Muhammed Jamil Memon.​
 

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No. 17 Squadron Commanders



RankName Date

Wg Cdr

Shaukat Haider

Jan-1987​
Rashid Bukhari
Jul-1987​
Zahoor A Shaikh
Jul-1991​
Suhaib Afzal
Jul-1993​
Arshad Quddus
Jan-1995​
Khalid Farooq Chishti
Jul-1996​
Mohammed Jamil
Feb-1998​
Shaheen Ghazanfar
Aug-1999​
Ahmed Tariq Mirza
Jan-2001​
Imran Khalid
Jan-2003​
Wasim Hussain
Jun-2004​
Sarfaraz Khan
Dec-2005​
 

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No. 18 Squadron



No 18 Tactical Attack Squadron joined the Pakistan Air Force on 1st February 1958 at PAF Station, Mauripur with Squadron Leader Nazir Latif as its first squadron commander. It was equipped with F-86F aircraft and became operational in June 1958. The first action the squadron saw was during 1960-62, when it flew missions in support of the army in Dir and Bajaur agencies.

The first combat history of this squadron was written during the 1965 war when the unit based mainly at Sargodha conducted extensive operations all the way from Kashmir in the north to the Kasur area. Earlier the squadron had provided air cover in the Rann of Kutch to Pakistan Army. The period is replete with the courageous deeds of its men and officers.

The squadron went into action early in the morning of 6th September in the Wagah and Atari sectors. For two weeks thereafter formations of 18 Squadron delivered one telling blow after another to exact a heavy toll from the enemy. On one occasion, two ammunition trains attacked by this unit at Gurdaspur railway yard remained ablaze for thirty six hours. This strike was led by the squadron commander Squadron Leader Alauddin Ahmed and during it he joined the ranks of the shaheeds thus setting an example which will continue to inspire the men and officers of 18 Squadron and indeed the whole of the PAF, long into the future. Though primarily tasked to carry out ground attack, the achievements of this squadron in aerial engagements also earned recognition.

Before he martyrdom, Squadron Leader Ahmed had shot down a Mystere; Flight Lieutenant Saleem destroyed an Indian army aircraft, while young Flying Officer Qais dispatched a light communication aircraft. Squadron Leader Alauddin Ahmed and Flight Lieutenants Hashmi and Amanullah Khan were awarded the Sitara-i-Juraat while all squadron pilots were awarded Imtiazi Sanads.

During the 1971 war the squadron was once again called upon to give a courageous account of itself, and it lived up to its traditions. Equipped with F-86Es it went into action in the Shakargarh salient and provided extensive close support to the army. It flew several interdiction missions in the Kashmir valley. One such mission was the spectacular attack on an explosives dump at Akhnur. From Samba to Sulemanki the fighters of 18 Squadron attacked with exemplary skill and courage.

And as in the previous war, the unit was not to be left behind in air combat. The squadron pilots shot down three Su-7s and one Mig-21 and damaged two Su-7s all with the faithful old Sabre. Two young pilots of 18 Squadron, Flight Lieutenant Maqsood Amir and Flying Officer Taloot Mirza were awarded Tamgha-i-Juraat for shooting down the best of Indian Air Force fighters.

From 1972 to 1980 the squadron took part in all the major operational exercises such as 'Saqib', 'White Horse' and the 'Jetstream' series. In each of these exercises it set out to attain an ever higher standard of professional excellence. The unit's standard of maintenance matched its operational performance . It also set a commendable standard of flight safety resulting in winning the flight safety trophy in 1979. In September 1980 the unit was number-plated upon the phasing out of F-86s.

The squadron was reactivated at Rafiqui in October 1981 with the new and more versatile Mirage-V aircraft and was assigned a tactical attack role.

Since its reactivation the squadron has participated in various exercises and earned a number of distinctions: in 1983 the unit earned the Professionals trophy in exercise Jetstream; in 1984 it won the Sarfraz Rafiqui flight safety trophy and in 1985 the inter-squadron armament competition. For its outstanding performance in war and peace the unit was awarded a colour on 1 April 1982.



Pilots of No. 18 Squadron with their Officer Commanding Wg Cdr Khalid S Haroon - 1982



In the year 1986, it was decided that 18 Squadron would be affiliated as a "brother squadron" of No 9 Squadron of the Royal Jordanian Air Force, equipped with F-5Es. The ceremony took place in Jordan on 22nd March 1987 at the Prince Hassan Air Base when the officer commanding No 18 Squadron presented the squadron colour to No. 9 Squadron, Royal Jordanian Air Force.

A return ceremony took place in Pakistan when on 7th October 1987, the Jordanian squadron brought its own standard and presented it to No.18 Squadron at an impressive ceremony reviewed by General Akthar Abdul Rahman Khan, chairman of the Joint Chiefs Of Staff Committee.​
 

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Mirage IIIEA - Officers of No. 7 Squadron with their Officer Commanding Wg Cdr Babar Hassan - 1992.



1610670701297.png
 

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No. 18 Squadron



No 18 OCU was formed in Mauripur, near Karachi on 21 February 1958 and was initially equipped with F-86 Sabres. Under the command of Squadron Leader Nazir Latif, the squadron saw its first action in early 1965.


The unit's aircraft were again called upon in 1971, shooting four Indian fighters and damaging further two in the Kashmir Valley. The squadron was deactivated in 1980 with the phase-out of the Sabre, but was reactivated in 1981 with the induction of the Mirage III. By 1986 the unit was affiliated as a 'brother squadron' of the Royal Jordanian AF's No 9 Squadron, equipped with F-5E Tigers. A ceremony took place at the Prince Hassan Air Base in Jordan on 23 March 1987 where the Officer Commanding No 18 Squadron was presented with the unit colour to its Jordanian affiliate. The return ceremony took place in Pakistan on 7 October 1987 when the RJAF unit brought its own colour and presented it to No 18 Squadron.

In 1989, after a brief stay at Kamra, No. 18 Squadron moved back to Rafiqui. The squadron was re-equipped with F-7P aircraft, and fifteen pilots were posted to the squadron. Later, during the same year, the squadron took part in exercise High Mark. Many dignitaries, including the Bangladesh Air Chief and COAS visited the squadron during the period 1990 to 1991. In 1993, the squadron's pilots visited Jordan to establish stronger ties with RJAF, a gesture which was reciprocated by a visit from pilots of 9 Squadron of the RJAF in 1994.


Pilots of No. 18 Squadron with their Officer Commanding - 1990



In 1994-95, the squadron participated in different exercises like Saffron Bandit, Twilight, Sky Guard-III, and Highmark-95 and performed extremely well.

The year 1997 brought new laurels to the squadron when it won the 'Air Superiority' and 'Top Gun' trophies. It was the first F-7P squadron to have won the highest honour of the PAF.

Buster-I was the last exercise in which the squadron participated from Rafiqui. The end of the year 1998 witnessed relocation of the squadron to PAF base Mianwali. The squadron became an Operational Conversion Unit by the start of year 1999.
 

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No. 19 Squadron

No 19 Air Superiority Squadron was raised on 1st February 1958 at Mauripur with twelve F-86F aircraft. It started its operational training for its assigned role of day air defence and close support under its first commander Squadron Leader Amanullah Khan. The Squadron achieved first position among F-86 squadrons in the Perry-Keene armament competition held in February 1962.

Also in 1962, a flight of 4 Sabres was sent to Dhaka on a trial assignment. By October the Squadron move had been completed with another's flight of 4 aircraft followed by a pair while 2 aircraft were sent by ship. At Dhaka the Squadron became deeply involved in tackling the teething problems in the exciting new environment. The move had generated great enthusiasm among the masses at Dhaka who thronged the air base at Tejgaon to see the shiny fighter planes.


The Squadron was originally planned to be moved back to West Pakistan before the monsoon storms but the squadron commander, Squadron Leader Wiqar Azim represented to the C-in-C, who was passing through Dhaka in a B-57 on his way to a SEATO meeting in Bangkok, that the squadron should stay on through the monsoon weather and establish the precautionary measures and systems which would enable Tejgaon to become a permanent operational air base. The C-in-C agreed and 19 Squadron continued its stay in Dhaka. It was thus also able to stage the first jet aircraft fly past over Dhaka during the Pakistan Day ceremonies on 23rd March 1963.


A group photograph of OC and squadron pilots of No. 19 Sqn. F/L Saleem, S/L Viqar Azim, F/L Jillani, F/Os Waheed, Farooq Feroz & F/O Shad.



In October 1963, the squadron moved to Peshawar from where it saw action in the September 1965 war with India. On 6th September it carried out some of the first close air support missions on the Wagah front and helped avert an Indian army offensive across the BRB canal. Late that evening, 19 Squadron struck Pathankot airfield as part of the PAF's counter air offensive.

By the end of the war the squadron had flown 706 hours in 554 sorties without losing a single aircraft or pilot. It had destroyed 14 enemy aircraft, 74 tanks, 140 vehicles and 16 guns, and damaged 16 aircraft, 68 tanks, 128 vehicles and 27 guns. For this outstanding performance the officer commanding, Squadron Leader S S Haider was awarded the Sitara-i-Juraat.

In June 1967, the squadron was moved to PAF Base, Masroor where, just before the 1971 war some F-86E aircraft were inducted into the unit. The day air defence of the southern sector with a mixture of Fs and Es was successful as was close air support in the Rajasthan sector inspite of communication difficulties with the forward air controllers.

Overall, in its limited operations the squadron destroyed 2 Indian Air Force Hunters, one Mi-4 helicopter and damaged one Hunter. In addition, 8 enemy tanks and several vehicles were destroyed while 2 trains were set ablaze during close support missions. The Squadron suffered only one casualty when Flying Officer Naseem Nisar Ali was shot down by an Indian Air Force Hunter.



Aircrew of No. 19 Squadron



On 10th November 1972, the Squadron was converted into Fighter Leaders School. In 1977 it was reequipped with F-6 aircraft and designated as No 19 Air Superiority Squadron; the unit was assigned the role of day interceptor and close support and was moved to PAF Base, Sargodha. A year later, the Squadron demonstrated its proficiency on the new type of aircraft by winning the armament competition trophy for 1978.

The squadron also had the honour of representing the PAF in an Iran-Pakistan armament competition held at Vahdati air base in Iran in September 78. In 1979 it displayed outstanding professionalism in exercise Jetstream and won the Professionals Trophy.​
 

ghazi52

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Royal Air Force Fighters At Peshawar, Circa 1925.


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From 1922 To 1940 Royal Air Force Station Peshawar housed 4 RAF Squadrons: Nos 5, 20, 28 And 31. The Station Provided Close Support To Army Units Which Included The Nowshera Brigade And Other Field Regiments In The North-West Frontier.
 

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No. 19 Squadron



No 19 Squadron was formed in Mauripur, near Karachi, on 21 February 1958 with 12 F-86 Sabres. The squadron later moved to Peshawar from where it took part in the 1965 war with India under the command of Squadron Leader Syed Sajjad Haider, popularly known as 'Nosey' Haider. Throughout the war the squadron flew a total of 706 hours in 544 sorties without losing a single aircraft, and succeeded in destroying 14 Indian AF aircraft, 74 tanks, 140 vehicles and 16 artillery guns. As a result of this impressive record, Squadron Leader Haider was awarded Sitara-e-Jurat along with five other pilots.

The squadron also represented the PAF in an Iran-Pakistan armament competition held at Vahdati AB in Iran in September 1978, in which the PAF pilots came on top showing their superior skills.

The squadron participated in the exercise High Mark-89 from Risalwala. That was the last exercise in which F-6 aircraft were used by the unit. The squadron had stood down at PAF Masroor in late 1989, causing its F-6s into storage and the crews to No. 2 Squadron. The squadron was re-equipped with F-7P aircraft at Rafiqui by July 1990, under the command of Wing Commander Gulrez, thus becoming the fourth squadron to do so. It received its first eight F-7Ps by the end of February 1991. After the re-equipment, the squadron carried out Exercise Flat Out on 17 and 19 March 1991. It also participated in Exercise Tornado-VII on 9 and 10 June 1991.

By this time the first four FT-7s ordered were operating with No. 20 Squadron. No. 19 Squadron was due for nine of the twin-seat trainers, with three in March, three in April and the remaining three in June. Following final delivery of the FT-7s, No. 19 Squadron took on the role of operational conversion unit (OCU) from No. 20 Squadron, and the number plate from No. 25 'Eagles' OCU at PAF Mianwali, to become the primary front line introduction unit to the PAF.

The first four FT-7 aircraft were ferried from Hotian, China and were inducted in the squadron on 7 August 1991. The squadron was tasked to conduct the first Operational Conversion Course on F-7P aircraft. Ten student pilots reported to the squadron for No. 1 OCC, which commenced on 3 September 1991. The squadron was tasked to participate in Exercise Condor-II on 9 December 1991.

DACT was conducted with A-5s in April 1992, and Exercise King Cobra-II on 6 June 1992. Air Vice Marshal Shafique Haider and Air Vice Marshal Aliuddin visited the squadron and flew two sorties each on FT-7. An army exercise named Flash Point was carried out between 8-13 December 1992. The squadron was deployed at Chaklala from 25 January 1993 to 4 February 1993.

The squadron had its first major accident on 31 August 1994, when a student pilot, Flying Officer Imran Yousaf, crashed while trying to land an F-7P aircraft after it lost its canopy. He was fatally injured.


On the night of 13 October 1997, all the aircraft in the squadron were damaged by a hailstorm which had struck Mianwali. The year 1998 remained uneventful, and the squadron continued to perform the role of an Operational Conversion Unit. The squadron had successfully graduated a total of 176 pilots till the graduation of 13 OCC.​
 

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