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Pakistan Air Force Bases - Earlier images

ghazi52

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Earlier images of Pakistan Air Force Bases......

An Aerial View Of Kohat Air Station, 1932 (c).
Kohat Fort is also visible...Constructed - 1853, Used by - Great Britain, Now Pakistan, Also known As: Fort Mackeson, Kohat Fort. Conflict In Which It Participated Various Colonial Miniscuffles.

Royal Air Force Aerial Reconnaissance On The North West Frontier Of India, 1919 - 1939 (c)..


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

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

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

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Spitfire Mark VIIIe Aircraft At Royal Air Force Aerodrome Kohat, Circa 1946.

Spitfire Mk VIIIe , Most probably this aircraft is MT841. This Spitfire was with No.2 Sqn from 20 Jan 46, and was written off on 29th Jan 1947, when Pilot Officer Pat Callaghan belly landed the aircraft in Kohat airfield. The aircraft engine had caught fire after an oil leak in circuit.
 

ghazi52

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The history of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) began when it was established in 1947 following the independence of Pakistan.

British era​

In 1933, the British colonial government established the first Air Force station in undivided India near Drigh Road, now called PAF Base Faisal in Karachi. In 1934, this element of the Royal Indian Air Force (RIAF) was extended to the north for operations in North-West Frontier Province. The RIAF had also contributed to the defeat of Japanese invasion during World War II.

1947–1950: formative years​

PAF Hawker Sea Fury two-seat trainer


PAF Hawker Sea Fury two-seat trainer

The Royal Pakistan Air Force (RPAF) was established on 14 August 1947 with the independence of Pakistan from British India. The RPAF began with a paper share allotment of 2,332 personnel, a fleet of 24 Tempest II fighter-bombers, 16 Hawker Typhoon fighters, two H.P.57 Halifax bombers, two Auster aircraft, twelve North American Harvard trainers and ten de Havilland Tiger Moth biplanes.

Very few were available to the RPAF on the ground as they were scattered throughout the British India to be given and collected later on. Of these very few were in flyable condition so that they could be used. Subsequently, it also got eight C-47 Dakota cargo planes which it used to transport supplies to soldiers fighting in the 1947 War in Kashmir against India.

First two H.P.57 Halifax bombers were delivered in 1948 and were used during 1947 War for night-time supply drop missions at Skardu and other northern areas of Pakistan. All received against allotted at the time of independence of Pakistan from British India.[1] It started with seven airbases scattered all over the provinces.

Operating these inherited aircraft was far from ideal because of their battered condition as most of them were not in a flyable condition especially in Pakistan's diverse terrains, deserts and mountains; frequent attrition and injuries did not make the situation any better.

However, by 1948 the air force acquired better aircraft such as the Hawker Sea Fury fighter-bomber and the Bristol Freighter. These new aircraft gave a much-needed boost to the morale and combat capability of the Royal Pakistan Air Force; 93 Hawker Fury and roughly 40 Bristol Freighter aircraft were inducted into the RPAF by 1950.

In 1949, Pakistan Air Force bombed the Afghan sponsored militant camps in border areas including an Afghan village to curb an unrest led by Ipi Faqir propagating independent Pashtunistan.[2] Border clashes with Afghanistan were reported in 1949–50 for the first time. Later in 1953-54, the Pakistan Air Force led an operation from Miramshah airbase and heavily bombarded Faqir Ipi's headquarter in Gurwek.


1950–1958: the jet age​

Flying Officer Waleed Ehsanul Karim poses in front of his F-86.


Flying Officer Waleed Ehsanul Karim poses in front of his F-86.

Although the Royal Pakistan Air Force had limited funds to use and markets to choose from, it entered the jet age quite early. Initially it had planned to acquire US-built F-94Cs, F-86s, or F-84s and produce its order in Pakistan. However, lack of funds and strong British pressure persuaded the PAF to acquire the British Supermarine Attacker.

The first squadron equipped with these aircraft was the Number-11 "Arrow". The Supermarine Attacker had a rather unsatisfactory service in the Royal Pakistan Air Force with frequent attrition and maintenance problems. The prefix Royal was removed when Pakistan became a republic on 23 March 1956. It has since simply been called the Pakistan Air Force (PAF).

In 1957 the Pakistan Air Force received 100 American-built F-86 Sabres under the U.S. aid programme. Squadron after squadron in the PAF retired its Hawker Furys and Supermarine Attackers, and replaced them with F-86 jet fighters. In 1957 thirty-six-year-old Air Marshal Asghar Khan became the Pakistan Air Force's first native commander-in-chief.
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1965 Indo-Pakistan War​

PAF B-57 Canberra bombers lined up at an airbase.

PAF B-57 Canberra bombers lined up at an airbase.

The PAF fleet at the time consisted of 12 F-104 Starfighters, some 120 F-86 Sabres and around 20 B-57 Canberra bombers. The PAF claims to have had complete air superiority over the battle area from the second day of operations. While, Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh of the Indian Air Force claimed, despite been qualitative inferior, IAF achieved air superiority in three days in the 1965 War..

Many publications have credited the PAF's successes to U.S. equipment, claiming it to be superior to the aircraft operated by the IAF and giving the PAF a "qualitative advantage". However some people refute this argument. As per them, the IAF's MiG-21, Hawker Hunter and Folland Gnat aircraft had better performance than the PAF's F-86 fighters. According to Air Cdre (retired) Sajad Haider, the F-86 Sabre was inferior in both power and speed to the IAF's Hawker Hunter.

According to Air Commodore (retired) Sajjad Haider who flew with No. 19 squadron, the F-104 Starfighter did not deserve its reputation as "the pride of the PAF" because it "was unsuited to the tactical environment of the region. It was a high-level interceptor designed to neutralize Soviet strategic bombers in altitudes above 40,000 feet.".

According to Indian sources, the F-86F performed reasonably well against the IAF Hawker Hunters but not as well against the Folland Gnat, which was nicknamed Sabre Slayer by the IAF.

According to Indian sources most aircraft losses of IAF were on ground while PAF lost most in aerial combat. Even though the IAF flew a larger offensive air campaign by devoting 40% of its air effort to offensive air support alone, according to Indian sources the majority of its losses came from aircraft destroyed on the ground through PAF air strikes. The PAF without doubt, had achieved far more in terms of enemy aircraft destroyed on the ground but the IAF had achieved much more in the close support role.

The two countries have made contradictory claims of combat losses during the war and few neutral sources have verified the claims of either country. The PAF claimed it shot down 104 IAF planes and lost 19 of its own, while the IAF claimed it shot down 73 PAF planes and lost 59. Despite the intense fighting, the conflict was effectively a stalemate.

Post-war sanctions and acquisitions​

After the 1965 war the U.S. placed an arms embargo on Pakistan and the PAF was badly affected. Its entire fleet was of U.S. origin and spare parts could not be sourced from the United States.

The PAF began searching for new combat aircraft. China was approached and agreed to supply an initial 72 Shenyang F-6 fighters and it was inducted on 30 December 1965.[citation needed] China also supplied a squadron of Harbin B-5 bombers which the PAF was not satisfied with due to their lack of a modern bomb aiming system. These were later returned to China in exchange for more Shenyang F-6.

In 1968 the PAF's No. 5 Squadron started converting to the Dassault Mirage IIIEP. As the F-6 was a short range air defence fighter, the Mirage III was the PAF's main offensive weapon. Even still, the Mirage was not equipped with modern munitions such as anti-runway bombs for attacking airbases, cluster bombs for attacking armoured formations or anti-ship weapons because such weapons could not be sourced from the U.S. or Europe. The Mirage was also restricted by lack of equipment such as bomb pylons and missile launchers, which meant the Mirage III fleet was limited in terms of weapon configurations.


1971 Bangladesh Liberation War and Indo-Pakistan War​


By late 1971, the intensification of the independence movement in erstwhile East Pakistan lead to the Bangladesh Liberation War between India and Pakistan . On 22 November 1971, 10 days before the start of a full-scale war, four PAF F-86 Sabre jets attacked Indian and Mukti Bahini positions at Garibpur, near the international border. Two of the four PAF Sabres were shot down and one damaged by the IAF's Folland Gnats.

On 3 December, India formally declared war against Pakistan following massive preemptive strikes by the PAF against Indian Air Force installations in Srinagar, Ambala, Sirsa, Halwara and Jodhpur. However, the IAF did not suffer significantly because the leadership had anticipated such a move and precautions were taken.[21] The Indian Air Force was quick to respond to Pakistani air strikes, following which the PAF carried out mostly defensive sorties.[22]

Within the first two weeks, the IAF had carried out almost 12,000 sorties over East Pakistan and also provided close air support to the advancing Indian Army. IAF also assisted the Indian Navy in its operations against the Pakistani Navy and Maritime Security Agency in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea. On the western front, the IAF destroyed more than 20 Pakistani tanks, 4 APCs and a supply train during the Battle of Longewala.

The IAF undertook strategic bombing of West Pakistan by carrying out raids on oil installations in Karachi, the Mangla Dam and a gas plant in Sindh. Similar strategy was also deployed in East Pakistan and as the IAF achieved complete air superiority on the eastern front, the ordnance factories, runways, and other vital areas of East Pakistan were severely damaged.

The IAF was able to conduct a wide range of missions – troop support; air combat; deep penetration strikes; para-dropping behind enemy lines; feints to draw enemy fighters away from the actual target; bombing; and reconnaissance.

Hostilities officially ended at 14:30 GMT on 17 December, after the fall of Dacca on 15 December. Despite strategic loss of Pakistan on eastern front, PAF maintained its qualitative edge and dominated the sky during the war and according to declassified CIA document about 71 IAF aircraft were lost while, Pakistan lost 43 aircraft during war. But the imbalance in air losses was explained by the IAF's considerably higher sortie rate, and its emphasis on ground-attack missions. On the ground Pakistan suffered most, with 9,000 killed and 25,000 wounded while India lost 3,000 dead and 12,000 wounded.

The loss of armoured vehicles was similarly imbalanced. This represented a major defeat for Pakistan.[29] Towards the end of the war, IAF's transport planes dropped leaflets over Dhaka urging the Pakistani forces to surrender, demoralising Pakistani troops in East Pakistan. According to some spectators 1971 war was more of a political defeat for Pakistan rather military.


1972–1979​

In 1979, the PAF's Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Anwar Shamim, was told by then President, and Chief of Army Staff General Zia ul Haq that Pakistan had reliable information of Indian plans to attack and destroy the Pakistani nuclear research facilities at Kahuta.

ACM Shamim told General Zia that Indian aircraft could reach the area in 3 minutes whereas the PAF would take 8 minutes, allowing the Indians to attack the facility and return before the PAF could defend it. Because Kahuta was too close to the Indian border to be effectively defended it was decided that the best way to deter an Indian attack would be to procure new advanced fighters and weaponry. These would be used to mount a retaliatory attack on India's nuclear research facilities at Trombay in the event of an Indian attack on Kahuta.

It was decided the most suitable aircraft would be the F-16, which the United States eventually agreed to supply after the PAF refused to buy the F-5E and F-5G. In 1983, when the first batch of F-16s reached Pakistan, ACM Shamim informed Zia of the PAF's capability to respond to an attack on the nuclear research facilities at Kahuta.

1979–1988: Soviet–Afghan War​

The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 in support of the pro-Soviet government in Kabul, which was being hard-pressed by Mujahadeen rebel forces, marked the start of a decade-long occupation. Mujahadeen rebels continued to harass the occupying Soviet military force as well as the forces of the Afghan regime that it was supporting.

The war soon spilled over into neighbouring Pakistan, with a horde of refugees fleeing to camps across the border in an attempt to escape the conflict. In addition, many of the rebels used Pakistan as a sanctuary from which to carry out forays into Afghanistan, and a steady flow of US-supplied arms was carried into Afghanistan from staging areas in Pakistan near the border. This inevitably resulted in border violations by Soviet and Afghan aircraft attempting to interdict these operations.

The PAF is believed to have evaluated the Dassault Mirage 2000 in early 1981 and was planning to evaluate the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon afterwards.

A letter of agreement for up to 28 F-16A and 12 F-16B was signed December 1981. The contracts, Peace Gate I and Peace Gate II, were for 6 and 34 Block 15 models respectively which would be powered by the F100-PW-200 engine. The first Peace Gate I aircraft was accepted at Fort Worth in October 1982. Two F-16A and four F-16B were delivered to Pakistan in 1983, the first F-16 arriving at PAF Base Sargodha (now known as PAF Base Mushaf) on 15 January 1983 flown by Squadron Leader Shahid Javed. The 34 remaining Peace Gate II aircraft were delivered between 1983 and 1987.[34][35] Six F-16A and four F-16B Block 15 OCU models were ordered as attrition replacements in December 1988 under the Peace Gate III contract. Another 60 F-16A/B were ordered in September 1989 under Peace Gate IV. These were later embargoed.

Between May 1986 and November 1988, PAF F-16s have shot down at least eight intruders from Afghanistan. The first three of these (one Su-22, one probable Su-22, and one An-26) were shot down by two pilots from No. 9 Squadron. Pilots of No. 14 Squadron destroyed the remaining five intruders (two Su-22s, two MiG-23s, and one Su-25).

Most of these kills were by the AIM-9 Sidewinder, but at least one (a Su-22) was destroyed by cannon fire. Flight Lieutenant Khalid Mahmood is credited with three of these kills. One F-16 was lost in these battles during an encounter between two F-16s and six Afghan Air Force aircraft on 29 April 1987, stated by the PAF to have been an "own-goal" because it was hit by an AIM-9 Sidewinder fired from the other F-16. The pilot, Flight Lieutenant Shahid Sikandar Khan, ejected safely. Most of these air kills were achieved within Pakistani borders. No.9 Sqn was credited with 3 kills, where as No.14 Sqn was credited with 5 kills. . One of the PAF's kills included Alexander Rutskoy who was shot down on 8 August on Su-25 Frogfoot.

Project Sabre II was initiated by the PAF in 1987 and was aimed at developing a replacement for the ageing Shenyang F-6 fleet. After a design study by Grumman Aerospace determined it would be to financially risky, it was abandoned by PAF and the Chengdu F-7P was introduced in 1988 to replace the F-6.


1989–2001: sanctions and the 'lost decade'​

The Pressler Amendment passed by the US Congress, in 1985, prevented the sale of materiel to Pakistan unless it could be verified that the goods would not be used to build or deliver nuclear weapons. Subsequently, the US also placed a broader embargo on Pakistan on 6 October 1990, due to the country's continued nuclear weapons programme.

As a stop-gap measure, it was decided to augment the PAF fleet with second-hand Mirage III fighters. In April 1990, Pakistan signed a contract to purchase 50 used Mirage IIIO interceptors, which had recently been retired by the Royal Australian Air Force. While the initial asking price was more than A$100 million, the figure settled on and paid, including spare airframes and many other parts, was reportedly A$27 million.

In November 1990 the partly-disassembled Mirages and spares were shipped by sea to Karachi and then transported on trailers to PAF Base Masroor. After some further dismantling they were flown by C-130 Hercules to the Aeronautical Complex at Kamra, where they were to undergo a full rebuild process.

However, it was discovered that the ex-RAAF Mirages were generally in better condition than expected and some did not require a complete overhaul. Other variants of the Mirage III (mostly IIIE) and/or Mirage V were bought from Belgium, Spain, Lebanon and Libya. Parts and auxiliary equipment for the Mirages were acquired in countries including France and South Africa. From 1995, many of the Mirages were upgraded and standardised by the PAF under Project ROSE.

As a result of the Pressler Amendment, 11 Peace Gate III F-16s, along with 7 F-16A and 10 F-16B of the 60 Peace Gate IV F-16s, which had been built by the end of 1994 were embargoed and put into storage in the United States.

Desperate for a new high-tech combat aircraft, between late 1990 and 1993 the PAF evaluated the European Panavia Tornado MRCA (multi-role combat aircraft) and rejected it. The Mirage 2000E and an offer from Poland for the supply of MiG-29 and Su-27 were also considered but nothing materialised. In 1992 the PAF again looked at the Mirage 2000, reviving a proposal from the early 1980s to procure around 20–40 aircraft, but again a sale did not occur because France did not want to sell a fully capable version due to political reasons. In August 1994 the PAF was offered the Saab JAS-39 Gripen by Sweden, but again the sale did not occur because 20% of the Gripen's components were from the U.S. and Pakistan was still under U.S. sanctions.

In mid-1992 Pakistan was close to signing a contract for the supply of 40 Dassault Mirage 2000, equipped with Thomson-CSF RDM/7 radars, from France but the deal was never signed. In mid-1994 it was reported that the Russian manufacturers Sukhoi and Mikoyan were offering the Su-27 and MiG-29. But Pakistan was later reported to be negotiating for supply of the Dassault Mirage 2000-5. French and Russian teams visited Pakistan on 27 November 1994 and it was speculated that interest in the Russian aircraft was to pressure France into reducing the price of the Mirage 2000. Stated requirement was for up to 40 aircraft.

In 1996 it was reported that Pakistan was negotiating a $160 million contract for missiles with South Africa, believed to be for the Kentron (now Denel) U-darter imaging-infra-red short range air-to-air missile.
 

ghazi52

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Korangi Creek Air Station, Karachi... July 1945

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Consolidated Catalina at Korangi Creek, Karachi..


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Pakistan Air Force Academy, Risalpur

The Academy was created in 1910 and was a former aerodrome/airfield of the Royal Flying Corps then later Royal Air Force.

It officially became the airbase of the PAF on 15 August 1947.

On 21 January 1967, it was again upgraded to the status of an academy by then-President Ayub Khan. Currently, it consists of 5 different components.

At the heart of the PAF since its inception, the Pakistan Air Force Academy has bred generations of officers for the PAF and other branches of the Pakistani Armed Forces. The Academy now has impressive premises with state-of-the-art infrastructure portraying the progress from the modest beginning initiated by a handful of dedicated men in 1947.


Location

Located in a basin some 1014 feet above sea level, it is bounded on the south and west by the Kabul and Kalpani rivers, respectively.

It is located in Risalpur in Nowshera District and is situated eight kilometers from the city (and district capital) of Nowshera; the famous Khyber Pass lies 90 kilometers to the north.[3] The Risalpur Cantonment itself lies on high ground, some 30 feet above the surrounding area, with the oldest building dating from 1913 or 1914.

History

Hawker Hurricane of No. 2 Squadron RIAF at Risalpur before moving to Eastern India for training in support of the Chindits

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The history of Risalpur airbase dates back to 1910 when an airstrip was developed here. During the First World War, the Royal Flying Corps established a base at Risalpur.

In December 1915 RAF's newly raised No. 31 Squadron was stationed here, which was later used against troublesome tribesmen of the Tribal areas along the Afghan border. The squadron flew B.E.2c and Farman biplane in ground support missions.

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On 24 May 1919, Handley Page V/1500 flew its first mission to attack Kabul from the airfield. In 1925 the air fleet of base was tasked to carry out a survey of the about four hundred square miles area of Ravi's old river bed for finding ancient sites.

After First World War, the No. 11 Squadron of Royal Air Force equipped with Westland Wapiti was stationed at the base in 1928, that was also used in the operations in the tribal areas.[10] The bombers of this squadron were used By 1940, Risalpur had become both a training and an operational base. During the Second World War, an operational training squadron was stationed at Risalpur, besides the base also conducted fighter conversion courses.


A trainee pilot in front of Hawker Hurricane of No. 151 (Fighter) Operational Training Unit at Risalpur.

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After partition, Risalpur was like an abandoned airfield. The airbase was formally established after the creation of Pakistan on 15 August 1947 with 20 officers, 21 trainees, 23 senior non commissioned officers (SNCOs) and 257 airmen. The base comprised only a handful of men and some equipment. About a month later, the Flying Training School was established at Risalpur, that carried out Initial, elementary and advanced flying training.

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In September 1947, six Harvard aircraft from Flying Training School of Ambala, that were transferred to Pakistan after partition, reached Risalpur. Wing Commander Asghar Khan, later to become the first Air Chief of the PAF, took over as the first Officer Commanding of the School, with Harvard and Tiger Moth aircraft in the inventory. Flt Lt M Khyber Khan, who later rose to the rank of Air Vice Marshal, and his student, Flight Cadet Akhtar, flew the first training sortie on 22 September 1947.

During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, the airfield was used to transport personnel and other important equipment to the difficult mountain terrain of Northern Areas. In March 1950, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran, who was the first Head of state to visit Pakistan and a flyer himself, visited the Academy. After fifty years of Jinnah's visit to the academy, a commemoration was held on 13 April 1997. Among other veterans, Air Marshal Asghar Khan also witnessed the ceremony who was the commandant at the time of the visit.

On 13 April 1948, the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, visited Risalpur Flying Training School and raised its level to that of a college. Risalpur thus became the genesis of PAF pilots. It became the only Military Academy of Pakistan to be visited by Jinnah. At this ceremony, Jinnah took the General Salute at the parade. Fighter aircraft from Peshawar Air base also performed aerobatics at the event. During Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 a bomber squadron was stationed here after Peshawar Airbase was hit by IAF. On January 21, 1967 President Ayub Khan elevated the status of the PAF College, Risalpur to that of an academy.

Aircraft

Initially, the institution was equipped with Harvard, Tiger Moth, Auster, Fury and Tempest aircraft. A major change came with the introduction of the T-37 jet trainer in 1963 and the air fleet of the academy was transformed from propeller to jet engine aircraft.

Eight years after the College was upgraded to an Academy in 1967, the T-6G (Harvard), which had rendered extensive service to the PAF since 1947, was replaced by the Mushshak (Saab Trainer). Currently, the trainer aircraft at the PAF Academy are T-37, Mushshak MFI-17 and the K-8, the last of which was brought into service with the PAF in 1995.

The academy has two aviation wings and a squadron. The Primary Flying Training (PFT) Wing consists of MFI-17 while Basic Flying Training (BFT) Wing consists of T-37 aircraft. An Advance Flying Training squadron is composed of K-8 aircraft.

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T-6 Harvard In The Background

President Ayub Khan elevates PAF College Risalpur to Academy - January 1967.

Picture Courtesy: DPR, PAF
,.,.,.,.
 

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A group photo of some members of the Allied forces at Jiwani Airport. Jawani, Balochistan.
Date: c1944
Source: Joseph Brimacombe


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