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PAF's Exercises from around the World.

siegecrossbow

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Aug 19, 2010
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Was it scheduled? I guess it would be delayed by a few months if so. Another internal excercise already taking place.
Looks like it is happening after all!
 

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STAFF
May 1, 2015
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Looks like it is happening after all!
I think after 2019 feb encounter, PAF would have alot to share with PLAAF and PLAAF will have alot to share about it's aggressive posture related to Taiwan to remind them their place.

And as time goes by, inter-operatibility along with coordination is the key for any force or forces to succeed. These excercises help assess where do both of us stand and what needs to be done to further improve our weaknesses. While, they also serve as a confidence boost and motivation to show-off our skills to each other to create healthy rivalry between the pilots.

Shaheen excercise already got its 9th round started. And I must say, each round has become more significant than it's previous ones. This trend will likely continue in the future.
 

ghazi52

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Mar 21, 2007
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Exercises

In September 2004 a PAF contingent of six F-16A/B arrived in Turkey to take part in the international Anatolian Eagle 2004 exercise. As well as the Turkish Air Force, the air forces of Germany, Holland, Italy and the United States also participated.

After around 1 year of planning, in 2005 the PAF launched the High Mark 2005 exercise which lasted for one month and also involved the Pakistan Army and Pakistan Navy. The scenario saw two opposing forces, Blueland and Foxland, engaging in simulated combat involving both offensive and defensive operations. All of the PAF's resources, including aircraft, avionics, weapons systems and ground based radars were involved. It was stated that the exercise would have 3 stages and PAF aircraft would fly 8200 sorties. The exercise would take place right across Pakistan, from the northern areas of Skardu and Gilgit to the central and southern areas including the Arabian Sea. The exercise was designed to validate the PAF's operational concepts and would be used to further improve the PAF's training regimes and future force employment concepts. The PAF's F-16 fighters would fly in offensive and defensive air superiority roles, with F-7P/PG providing air defence. The Mirage 3/5 was to be used in the strike role and the A-5C would provide air support to the army units involved. Involvement of army and navy units was aimed at providing more realistic operational scenarios. High Mark 2005 followed the Tempest-1 exercise which was focused purely on air power but differed in terms of duration, intensity and complexity of air operations.

A PAF contingent of six F-16A/B fighters was sent to the international Anatolian Eagle 2006 exercise, which also involved the U.S. and Israeli as well as the Turkish air forces. Operation Indus Viper 2008, a joint exercise involving PAF and the Turkish Air Force, began on 21 April 2008 at PAF Base Mushaf (Sargodha) and was scheduled to last 10 days. Five Turkish F-16C/D fighters and 50 personnel of 191 Kobras Filo (191 Cobras Squadron) attended.

In the summer of 2005 a PAF team of 20 airmen, including pilots, navigators, engineers, maintenance technicians and a C-130E was sent to the U.S. to take part in the AMC (Air Mobility Command) Rodeo. The team, lead by Wing Commander Akbar Shoaib, was expected to score well in the paratrooping, spot landing and short-field landing events. The PAF later took part in the July 2007 AMC Rodeo
 

ghazi52

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In 2009, while undertaking combat operations against militants in FATA and Swat, the PAF initiated the Saffron Bandit exercise with the aim of training the PAF's entire combat force to undertake such anti-terrorist operations.

In December 2009 the PAF sent six Chengdu F-7PG fighters, of No. 31 Wing based at PAF Base Samungli, to the United Arab Emirates to take part in the Air Tactics Leadership Course (ATLC) at Al Dhafra Air Base. Al Dhafra Air Base hosts Dassault Mirage 2000-9 and F-16E/F Block 60 fighters of the UAEAF. Also participating were six F-16s of the Jordanian No. 1 Squadron, six Dassault Rafales of the AdlA, six Eurofighter Typhoons of the Royal Air Force No. 3 Squadron and six F-16CJ Block 52 fighters of the USAF 169th Fighter Wing. Six F-22A fighters of the USAF 1st Fighter Wing also flew training sorties with some of the air forces at Al Dhafra but did not take part in the main exercise. The U.S. units called the exercise Operation Iron Falcon. Most of the participants took turns flying as Red Air and were described by a USAF F-16 pilot as being "very competent" and posing "significant tactical problems to solve."

The PAF's High Mark 2010 exercise was launched on 15 March 2010, the first time a High Mark exercise had been conducted since 2005, after all PAF received their Air Tasking Orders (ATO). The country-wide exercise involved units based all over Pakistan, from Skardu to the Arabian Sea, at all Main Operating Bases and Forward Operating Bases. Joint operations involving the Pakistan Army and Pakistan Navy were also conducted, aiming to test and improve integration and cooperation between the three arms. Operations emphasised a near-realistic simulation of the war-time environment, exposure of PAF aircrews to contemporary concepts of air combat, new employment concepts and joint operations between air force, army and navy.

New inductions such as the JF-17 Thunder fighter, Saab 2000 Erieye AEW&C and Il-78 Multi-Role Tanker Transports also took part.[93] On 6 April 2010 the end of the first phase of exercise High Mark 2010 was celebrated with a firepower demonstration at the PAF's firing range facility in the deserts of Thal. The 90-minute demo began with a sonic boom from a Mirage fighter flying past at supersonic speed, followed by various PAF combat aircraft attacking targets with a wide range of live weaponry.

The newly inducted JF-17 Thunder was shown hitting targets with bombs and the new Saab 2000 Erieye AEW&C and Il-78 MRTT were also displayed to the public for the first time during the demo. The Il-78 performed an in-flight refuelling operation with two Mirage fighters. The H-2 SOW (Stand-Off Weapon) was also shown to the public for the first time, being launched from around 60 km away before hitting its target.

The demo also involved a mock counter-insurgency operation with troops raiding a compound, a search-and-relief operation, an air-drop of heavy equipment by transport planes and the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. The demo heralded the beginning of High Mark 2010's second phase where the PAF would practice joint operations with the Pakistan Army during the army's exercise Azm-e-Nau-3 (New Resolve 3).
 

ghazi52

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High Mark 2010 exercise was launched on 15 March 2010, the first time a High Mark exercise had been conducted since 2005, after all PAF received their Air Tasking Orders (ATO). The country-wide exercise involved units based all over Pakistan, from Skardu to the Arabian Sea, at all Main Operating Bases and Forward Operating Bases. Joint operations involving the Pakistan Army and Pakistan Navy were also conducted, aiming to test and improve integration and cooperation between the three arms. Operations emphasised a near-realistic simulation of the war-time environment, exposure of PAF aircrews to contemporary concepts of air combat, new employment concepts and joint operations between air force, army and navy.

Chengdu F-7PG During High Mark, 2010.

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ghazi52

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JOINT USAF / PAF AIR EXERCISES IN 1978


by Air Cdre (retd.) Jamal Hussain

Early this year, USAF had conducted a joint air exercise with the Indian Air Force, codenamed ‘Cope India’. A brief report of the event appeared in the Dawn article of Friday June 15 titled, “Air exercise with India a wake-up call for US: general”.

The article brought back fond memories of similar exercises that PAF used to hold with USAF on a regular basis in the sixty and seventy decades of the previous century. I was fortunate to attend two very comprehensive joint USAF/PAF exercises in April and November/December 1978 codenamed Shabaz78 and Midlink 78 respectively. I consider it a privilege to be able to share my experiences of the two events with the public in general and my successors, the current generation of PAF fighter pilots.

If you want a peep into the dream and wonderful world of fighter pilots where passion, vocation and profession are rolled into a single homogenous mix, then read on. Welcome to our little world with our idiosyncrasies and jargons that only we relish and are familiar with.

Shahbaz 78

Shahbaz 78, a joint USAF/PAF Exercise was held at PAF Base Masroor in April 1978. A detachment of Mirage Squadron from Sargodha Base was deployed at Masroor for the purpose. The first part of the exercise was fairly straight forward where USAF aircraft conducted night raids at Masroor Base and PAF interceptors flew air defence missions against them. Both the USAF strike elements and PAF’s air defence fighters operated from Masroor. The second half of the exercise was a planned Dissimilar Air Combat Training Camp (DACT) that pitted the formidable F-15s, USAF’s prize new acquisition against PAF’s Mirages and F6s.

For much of the 60s and part of the 70s of the twentieth century, USAF F-4s were considered the top of the line combat aircraft, especially in the air superiority role. Following their not so encouraging performance in air combat in the Vietnam War (kill ratio of 4:1 in favour of USAF as against 10:1 in the Korean Conflict), USAF was looking for an unadulterated air superiority fighter to replace the multi-role and aging F-4 fleet. The F-15 entered service around 1975 and in every parameter of combat manoeuvring, it outperformed its contemporaries by a wide margin. It was developed for one single role – establish air superiority by decimating the adversary’s combat aircraft in air combat. The F-15 combat Wings that were raised were not assigned multi-roles; they concentrated solely on air to air combat training and nothing else.

One such Wing was deployed at Bittburg in Germany. Besides conducting mutual air combat missions, they frequently flew against Saab-Drakens, Lightnings, Phantoms, Mirages and F-104s belonging to the air forces of their European NATO allies. The stories of how they have been chewing up their adversaries with consummate ease had preceded their arrival. The Wing was deployed at PAF Base Masroor in April 78 to participate in a DACT Camp. I had the privilege of being a member of the Mirage flight deployed at Masroor for the purpose. The F-6 Squadron that participated in the Exercise was commanded by the irrepressible Wing Commander Safdar Mahmood (retired as Air Commodore), better known to his comrades as Safdar Mousey, for reasons I never knew then and still do not know till today.

The gleaming F-15s parked at Masroor tarmac were a sight to behold. Here was the most lethal fighter of its time and we by comparison in our antiquated Mirages and F-6s were going to take them head on, both in the literal and metaphorical sense. How should we plan to achieve this apparently improbable feat?

Vanity is an essential ingredient of fighter pilots and they are generally hopeless optimists with a never say die attitude. We were no different. To prepare ourselves for combat, we studied the flying and weapon characteristics of the F-15s to discover any weakness that could be exploited - we found none. In every regime they outperformed us by a wide margin. But there was one slight advantage we enjoyed. Visual spotting of the F-15 for us was far easier than for the F-15 pilots to establish visual tally with us because as compared to the majestic F-15s, we were only half their size. Their brilliant AI radar with the Target Designator (TD) box feature that was unknown in our part of the world at that point in time however neutralised the drawback. The TD box pinpointed our position on their Heads Up Display (HUD) that aided them immensely in establishing visual contact with us. If only we could fool their AI radar, we stood a chance. Hmmm, time to come up with something unexpected. Think outside the box. That appeared to be our only salvation.

The combined briefings laid down the rules of the game for the camp. All combats would take place in the designated areas from 10,000 Above Ground Level (AGL). The upper height limit was not specified. F-15s would hunt in pairs whereas we had the option of employing up to 4 aircraft though in majority of engagements we also operated in twos. F-15s were to be configured with training AIM-7 Sparrow BVR missiles, along with AIM-9s (heat seeking missiles) and cannons. We only had the heat seekers and cannons but no BVR missiles. The F-15 Airborne Intercept (AI) radar had a pick up range of over 40 NMS; our Mirage AI radar capability was zero and the poor F-6 did not even carry an AI radar.

To even out certain obvious disadvantages of our fleet, it was agreed that we would operate under positive ground radar cover whereas the F-15s would rely on their AI radars. Also, while the F-15s could simulates Sparrow Launch (Fox 1) from long-ranges, staying well clear of the lethal ranges of our missiles and cannons, the engagement would continue till one side managed a heat missile (Fox 2) kill parameter or gunshot cine/video on one or both the adversaries. To resolve the dispute about who took the first shot, the F-15s with their multiple radios were to announce on our channel a kill (Fox 2/Fox 3) immediately on exposing valid gun camera film, after which the stricken aircraft was to remove itself from the combat arena. If we achieved a Fox 2/Fox 3 on the F-15s, without earlier announcement of being ‘foxed’ by the F-15s, the kill would be granted to us subject to its validity from gun camera film assessment.

The show began on the third week of April. According to my log-book, I flew a total of seven missions against the F-15s, from 22nd April to 26 April. In retrospect I consider those five days as the most enjoyable and professionally rewarding week of my flying career. We achieved verifiable kill parameters on the F-15s and in the bargain gave away shots to them. Before revealing the final tally of the week-long camp, I would like to share with my young fighter pilots two episodes which will be of interest to them. To my non-fighter pilot readers I apologise in advance as the next group of paragraphs will be full for fighter pilots’ jargons which only they can truly relish. You are at liberty to skip over these paragraphs if you feel so inclined.

I was to lead a section of two Mirages against a pair of F-15s. Flt Lt Razzaq Anjum was my no 2 (Razzaq rose to the rank of AVM before he embraced martyrdom in the unfortunate Fokker 27 accident). From our earlier experience we knew that there was only one way we could prevail - do the unexpected. We had to somehow make the F-15 pair lose sight of one of us, who could then sneak in for a kill. Given the very impressive performance of the F-15 airborne radar, normal tactics was bound to fail. We had to try something very different.

The standard practice for a pair entering the combat zone is to maintain battle formation that is line abreast and a mile to two miles apart, depending on the nature of threat. We chose to enter the battle arena in close formation, thereby hoping to present a single blip on the F-15 radar scope. We knew they would pick us up at around 40 NMS and seeing a single blip they would wonder about the other bogie. The superior performance of their weapon system just might lull them to a degree of complacency where they might not worry too much about the unaccounted bandit.

When our ground radar reported bandits at 15 NMS, as per our game plan, we did a violent vertical split. I zoomed up while Razzak continued straight towards the target. Soon, Razzak called contact with one of the F-15s which apparently had not established visual tally with him. I saw him go after the F-15 and simultaneously spotted the second F-15 about 3-4 NMS behind Razzak manoeuvring for a missile shot towards him. Apparently, neither of them had spotted me and I found myself favourably placed to go after the second F-15. Warning Razzak of the impending threat which was still a fair distance away from the lethal missile (Fox 2) range, I went after the second F-15. Before I could get in range for a missile shot, either on a warning by his comrade or his spotting me, the F-15 broke hard. In Mirage and F-6s, our break is normally in the turning plane but the F-15 pilot perhaps banking on the unbelievable thrust to weight ratio of his machine which permitted him to accelerate even while in a vertical climb, chose to break upward knowing that the Mirage would not be able to keep up with it for much longer. I followed him and soon both of us were facing vertical with my speed diminishing rapidly. Because of my initial speed and height advantage, I continued to close in for a valid missile shot and finally was within gun range and managed a decent gun shot before eventually falling off the sky. In the meanwhile Razzak too announced a Fox 2 and Fox 3 on his quarry. Since no Fox had been called on us till then, we had apparently drawn first blood.

I eventually ran out of speed, control and ideas and fell off the sky, recovering without entering into a spin – no thanks to my superior handling – unlike the F-6, Mirage is far more docile and forgiving at low speeds. Pretty soon I saw the F-15 on my tail but he was gentleman enough to come over to our frequency and enquire if I had exposed cine on him. On my answering in the affirmative, the first engagement was called off.

To be fair to the F-15 pair, in the next engagement (in each mission we could carry out up to two mix ups) we were unable to surprise them. They had us both firmly on their radars and rapidly closed in for close quarter one versus one engagement. Our only realistic option was to hightail it and make an immediate exit out of the designated combat zone well before establishment of visual tally by the F-15s. We did not. Despite our twists and turns, barrels, and even threatening to spin out, we were clobbered, but not without putting up a futile albeit a gallant resistance. For the mission the final score stood two for us and two for them – an even contest.

After landing as I met Razzak on the tarmac, he wore a grin that would have made the Cheshire cat proud. “What?” I asked him. “You should see the gunshot I have exposed on the F-15”, he burst out. “Let’s check it out”, I answered. We assessed our films. Both my claims were valid and so were Razzak’s but there was a catch. The minimum safe distance specified in the Rules of Engagement (ROE) during gunshot was 600 feet. In Razzak’s gunshot cine, the Mirage gun sight was the same size as the F-15 canopy – he had closed in to less than a 100 feet of the F-15 and still had the sight sitting pretty and steady. “Oh my God!” I exclaimed. “Hide it. If the bosses see it, both of us would get grounded, if not worse,” “But don’t you agree it is a beautiful sight,” he countered. “I am impressed,” I answered and just could not help marvel at the enthusiasm and ego of my irrepressible no 2.

The mutual debrief was very educative. “How did you stay behind me in the vertical break,” the F-15 leader wondered. “What was your speed when you initiated the break,” I queried. “250 knots,” he answered. “I was closed to 450 kts,” I replied. “That explains it”, he concluded. His no.2 had apparently lost sight of Razzak as he was busy updating his leader on his (leader’s) rather precarious position. I showed him Razzak’s gun camera shot. He was dumbfounded for a few seconds. We saw their gun camera films and in the second engagement they had us good and proper in their sights and they too had closed in to less than 600 feet. Two kills to each pair in the mission was mutually agreed. We complimented the F-15 pair on their professionalism and they too applauded our subterfuge and aggressive handling.

The next episode involved two F-6s flown by Safdar and his No.2 against two F-15s flown by the F-15 Wing Commander, a full colonel and his No 2. I am not aware of how the mix up proceeded but would like to quote from memory the following narration of the event by the USAF Wing Commander:

“On our AI radar we picked up only one target and soon spotted a lone F-6 heading south. Assuming that the other one was not in the arena, I promptly achieved Fox 2 parameter and closed in for a Fox 3 shot. On my stand-by radio I announce,” F-6 flying south, Fox 2 and Fox 3 on you”. Back came the chilling reply, “Which F-6 are you referring at. There are two of us heading south.” Instinctively I swivelled my neck and looked back. Sure enough an F-6 well within the missile range was sitting merrily at my six. It turned out to be the F-6 leader and I could almost imagine him grinning under his helmet, under his bushy moustache.”

What tactics had Safdar’s formation employed to escape radar detection? Why did he not warn his No.2 to break? Perhaps he might have concluded that the No. 2 was a dead duck regardless and why not even the score and bag an F-15 in the bargain. Where was the second F-15? I am not aware of the details and we need to get hold of Safdar and ask him to render his version of the event in his own inimitable style, a style that I can assure you would be both interesting and very hilarious.

The camp was a roaring success. I do not have the official result but if I recall the final kill ratio was roughly 2:1 in favour of the F-15s. In all their other engagements against the likes of Saab Drakens, F-4s, Mirages, Lightnings and F-104s flown by European pilots in Continental Europe, the Wing had apparently enjoyed as high as 20:1 kill ratio in their favour. Our pilots’ aggressive manoeuvring and tactical skills came as a surprise to them. We too were impressed by the awesome flying performance of the F-15s, its unmatched (at that time) AI radar performance and the thorough professionalism and sportsmanship of the USAF pilots.

 

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