No. 20 Squadron
No 20 Squadron was raised initially as a flight at PAF Base, Masroor in March 1956. The unit was upgraded to squadron status within a year of its formation. Its first CO being Flight Lieutenant Zulfiqar A Khan. The squadron was number-plated in June 1972 and was reactivated in June 1977. Initially the squadron was equipped with RT-33 photo recce aircraft and its role was day photographic survey and reconnaissance.
In June 1977, the squadron was reequipped with French-built Mirage-III RP aircraft and was assigned the role of tactical attack and reconnaissance during both day and night. In May 1986, the unit went through another reequipment, this time with Chinese built F-6 aircraft, and was assigned the role of air superiority.
One of the earliest tasks of the Squadron was to conduct a photographic survey of the northern areas with its RT-33s. These missions were undertaken over difficult and uncharted terrain, and often in marginal weather conditions. For his personal contribution as well as for the performance of the unit, the squadron commander, Flight Lieutenant M Anwar Saeed was awarded Tamgha-i-Basalat.
In 1963 the squadron made a major contribution towards an amicable demarcation of the border between Pakistan and China by providing detailed and accurate photographic data. Despite its magnitude the task was completed in one month and in recognition of the unit's excellent performance the officer commanding Squadron Leader A Sattar Chaudhry was awarded Sitara-i-Basalat.
In 1964, No 20 Squadron undertook a task of immense national importance when it photographed the major river basins of the country to facilitate the work of the World Bank's Indus Basin Project. The unit can justly be proud of its contribution towards the siting of Mangla and Tarbela dams, the two largest the country.
The squadron flew 24 tactical reconnaissance missions during the 1965 war. In spite of the great disadvantage of operating a slow and unarmed aircraft, the pilots of 20 Squadron operated well inside enemy territory and photographed vital targets both for the Pakistan Air Force and the Pakistan Army. For this courageous performance the squadron commander, Squadron Leader Mir Mubariz Ahmed was awarded Tamgha-i-Basalat.
In 1971 a detachment of the squadron was deployed in East Pakistan also to provide photographic intelligence to the army. No. 20 Tactical Attack and Reconnaissance Squadron was presented with the squadron colour by Air Chief Marshal Zulfiqar Ali Khan on 6th April 1978.
No. 20 Squadron
In mid-1987, the PAF decided to induct the Chinese F-7P aircraft into its fleet, to replace the veteran F-6s. Seven pilots proceeded to China for initial conversion on F-7P aircraft, on 8 Mat 1988. On 20 June 1988, Wing Commander Ghazanfar took-off in the first F-7P aircraft and was followed by Squadron Leader Asif in the second aircraft. Following the ferry of F-7P aircraft from China to Pakistan, 20 Squadron became the first squadron to operate these aircraft.
On 12 August 1988, seven pilots along with ground crew and the Project Zodiac team, proceeded to Hotian in order to ferry an additional ten F-7P aircraft. The ferry was completed on 16 August 1988. On 31 August 1988, the DCAS (M) visited the squadron and inspected the maintenance facilities for F-7P aircraft. During the rest of the year, the squadron flew many mutual air combat missions and later, it flew missions against other aircraft like the A-5, the Mirage, and the F-16s, in order to develop tactics in dissimilar air combat.
On 7 February 1989, the squadron participated in the first operational exercise viz. Hit Hard-X. The CAS visited the squadron during the annual inspection if the Base on 14 February 1989. During the same month, the squadron took over the role of converting pilots on the F-7P aircraft. On 23 March 1989, four F-7P aircraft flew in the fly-past for the first time in the history of the PAF.
In August 1989, four FT-7s were ferried from Hotian to Peshawar. On 18 August 1989, twelve fresh graduates of 1 FCU reported to the squadron for the first OCC on F-7P. The squadron participated in the Air Force Defence Day celebrations for the first time on 7 September 1989. No. 1 OCC graduated on 11 October 1989. The CAS visited the squadron on 3 November 1989 and flew its aircraft. During Exercise High Mark-89, the pilots of 18 Squadron as well as ten of its aircraft took part in the exercise as part of 20 Squadron.
On 7 February 1990, the re-equipment ceremony of the squadron took place. President Ghulam Ishaq Khan was the chief guest on this occasion. Twenty-four aircraft led by Group Captain Toor took part in the Pakistan Day fly-past in 23 March 1990. Twenty F-7Ps were ferried from Hotian to Peshawar and then to Raifiqui on 19 April 1990.
In August 1991, three officers from Sri Lankan Air Force were attached to the squadron for conversion on F-7P. On 15 October 1991, the Chief of Air Staff of the Royal Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter Harding, flew an FT-7 aircraft with Officer Commanding 20 Squadron, Wing Commander Adeeb.
During the rest of the period, the squadron participated in a number of routine exercises, including DACT camps held from time to time, High Mark exercises, Saffron Bandit, air-to-air firings, air defence exercises, and the armament competition, etc.
When PAF decided to induct F-7Ps of Hand Shake-IV in June 1993, most of the pilots detailed to ferry them were from this squadron. On 14 July 1996, AVTR modification was started on all the aircraft of the squadron. A number of VIPs also visited the squadron during this period.
|| No. 22 Squadron Commanders|
No. 23 Squadron
Raised on 16th March 1961, No 23 Squadron was initially located at Kohat and equipped with Fury aircraft. Its early primary role was close support for the army with the additional responsibility of carrying out anti-locust operations when required.
In May 1961, the squadron participated in operations in the Dir / Bajaur area. From 21st to 24th and on 31st May 1961, it was called upon to provide close support and to destroy specified targets in the Bajaur valley. A total of 23 sorties were flown for this purpose and 60 lb. rockets and 20 mm ammunition were used.
The Squadron participated in exercise 'Hastings' with 5 sorties on 16 and 17th November 1961.
A total of 28 missions of anti-locust measures were flown from 21st to 30th November 1961; 4 aircraft and pilots operated from PAF Drigh Road for this purpose. On 23rd March 1963, 2 Furies carried out a fly past over Miranshah fort in connection with the Republic Day parade by Tochi Scouts. Consequent upon the phasing out of Fury aircraft, the squadron was number-plated on 4th March 1964.
The unit was reactivated at Sargodha on 8th February 1966 with the newly inducted Chinese-built F-6 aircraft. It was also assigned the task of converting pilots of other squadrons on the F-6s. Between June and September, No 23 Squadron converted 25 other pilots in addition to its own complement.
A detachment comprising Squadron Leader Asghar A Randhawa, and Flight Lieutenants A. H. Malik and Khalid Iqbal took part in a fire power demonstration at Peshawar on 26th February 1967. The whole squadron moved to Shorkot on 16th September to activate PAF Rafiqui,where it stayed for two weeks.
On 13th October 1971, the squadron moved to Risalewala and remained there for war operations till 27th December. During the war a total of 307 sorties were flown in which the squadron destroyed two Su-7s and damaged 1. On 8th December 1971, Flight Lieutenant Afzal Siddiqui was shot down by own ground fire; he was awarded Sitara-i-Basalat. posthumously.
In June 1975, the squadron was redesignated as No. 23 Air Superiority Squadron.
The unit moved to Nawabshah on 1st January for the activation of that forward base. The deployment lasted one week during which air combat training with similar and dissimilar types of aircraft was conducted. In February, the squadron proceeded to Masroor for an air to air firing camp. It was the first unit to evaluate and successfully use the new SM-7 series gunsight in air firing. While at Masroor the squadron also participated in low level air defence exercise 'Gold Coin II' on 27th and 28th February.
In November 1976, a team of 5 pilots comprising Wing Commander Nasir A Butt, Squadron Leader C Q Akhtar, Flight Lieutenants Tahir Ahmed and Azmat Kazi and Flying Officer Shahid, together with 40 airmen, participated in the inter-squadron armament competition. The Squadron team scored the highest marks to win the Perry Keene trophy. Flight Lieutenant Azmat Kazi achieved the highest individual score.
On 25th March 1978 the squadron was awarded a colour carrying its battle honours by the Chief of the Air Staff.
| No. 23 Squadron|
In January 1988, 23 squadron participated in air-to-air banner firing. It provided air defence of the western borders from PAF Base Samungli, during the Afghan conflict. A detachment of the squadron consisting of twelve pilots and ten aircraft, commenced air defence duties for Kahuta, at PAF Base Chaklala, with effect from 4 April 1988. In March 1989, the squadron participated in the Fire Power Demonstration held at the Sonmiani Range.
The squadron was awarded Inter-Squadron Flight Safety Trophy for the year 1988. The squadron moved from Chander for participation in Exercise High Mark-89/Zarb-e-Momin.
The activation for this exercise lasted for a month, from 22 November to 23 December 1989. A detachment of the squadron was attached to PAF Base Sargodha for flying duties between 19 February to March 1990. On 14 March 1990, the squadron moved to PAF Base Masroor for air-to-air firing and DACT Camp.
Four officers and five aircraft went to PAF Base Peshawar to take part in the fly-past ceremony on 23 March 1991. The squadron shifted from its old underground building to its new premises in the Flying Wing Headquarters in the second quarter of 1991. In September 1991, the squadron moved to Mirpur Khas to participate in an air defence exercise.
In November 1991, the squadron moved to PAF Base Farid, where it carried out another air defence exercise. The squadron had the honour of winning Sarfraz Rafiqui Flight Safety Trophy twice in a row for the years 1990 and 1991.
During exercise High Mark-93, the squadron was deployed at PAF Base Risalewala. During 1995, it took part in Exercise Saffron Bandit as well as High Mark-95. In February 1997, the squadron moved to PAF Shahbaz for DACT with F-16s. The Governor of Balochistan visited the squadron on 12 August 1997.
In May 1998, the squadron was deployed at PAF Base Sukkur. The activation of Sukkur continued for about a week, ending soon after Pakistan successfully conducted its nuclear tests. The squadron, under the command of Wing Commander G.M. Abbasi, and supported by Wing Commander Irfan Idrees, Squadron Leader Khan Maqbool, Flight Lieutenants Anwar Karim, S. Atta, Waqas Mohsin, Zeeshan Saeed, Aamir Shaukat, Ali Asher, Nadeem Afzal, and Nasir Jamal, had the honour of taking part in this operational commitment.
No. 23 Squadron Commanders
Dashing gents!View attachment 711388
"Circa 1960s No 5 Sqn "Falcons" at Sargodha"
Fourth from right Squadron Leadee Sarfaraz Rafiqui Hilal-e-Jurat Sitara-e-Jurat 6 September 1965 downed over Halwara AFB
Second from left Squadron Leader Muniruddin Ahmed Sitara-e-Jurat 11 September 1965 downed over Amritsar Radar Statio.