PAF was born on 14th of August 1947, with
the independence of Pakistan. The growth of PAF is a story of
unusual struggle and sacrifice. A tiny auxiliary Service, with
a small number of personnel and insignificant equipment, emerging
as a powerful weapon of the country’s defence, was a thrilling
phenomenon. The dedication of its pioneers shaped the future of
a force, destined to gain respect, after proving its worth in
the wars of 1965 and 1971, where it outclassed a much larger enemy,
India. The story of PAF is a tale of development, despite heavy
odds and limitations. It is the narration of a nation’s
desire, for preserving its freedom, through the use of technology
and willpower, working side by side.
PAF made a humble beginning with two fighter and one transport
Squadrons, a negligible infrastructure, non-existent command structure,
and almost nil maintenance facilities. All it had was the courage
and determination of a handful of its personnel, who left no stone
unturned, in shaping PAF into the Air Force of today.
The modernization programme taken up by PAF in 1952 paid dividends
in times to come. In a phased programme, the ‘Halifax’,
‘Tempest’, ‘Attacker’, ‘Tiger
Moth’, ‘Viking’, ‘Dakota’ and
‘Fury’ aircraft were progressively retired. With
American, French and Chinese acquisitions, the PAF started flying
F-86s, B-57s, F-104 Starfighters, F-6s and Mirages. This modernization
programme started with the induction of F-86 Sabre, which changed
the whole system of training, maintenance and operations. Air
Power, was thus a major player in 1965 war, where the role played
by both rival Air Forces, directly influenced outcome of the
conflict. Particularly for the PAF, 1965 war brought out its
fighting spirit, and implanted a culture of devotion and sacrifice.
Six years later, PAF once again met the call of duty for defence
of the motherland. During 1971, separation of East Pakistan
was a serious blow to the country. However, PAF fought valiantly
on both fronts, and sacrificed blood for honour of the country.
Keenly learning from its war-experience and global developments,
PAF embarked on a modernization programme for its Air Defence
system. Pakistan Air Defence System known as ‘PADS’
was inducted to bolster PAF’s Air Defence Ground Environment.
F-16 induction in the early 80s, brought in another era of technological
resurgence for the PAF. Modern machines enabled PAF to master
latest Air Power capabilities and techniques. These capabilities
were put to good use during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
The long period of mid and late 80s, was another test for PAF's
fighting elements. Air Defence Alerts and Day / Night scrambles
continued throughout the conflict, resulting in the shooting
down of numerous intruding Soviet aircraft.
The post-Afghan war period for the PAF is a story of sanctions
and of determination, to survive in a sanctioned environment.
However, the ‘Pressler’, ‘Glenn’ and
other Amendments, failed to dampen PAF’s spirit. Induction
of F-7P and A-5 aircraft, was meant to offset the impact of
these sanctions. Indigenization and integral strength of the
organization, resulted in generating even more flying during
the sanctioned period, in order to maintain operational preparedness.
Today PAF has 20 fighter Squadrons, an automated network of
Air Defence Radars, complex maintenance facilities and an elaborate
administration setup. In order to accomplish its mission in
war, and to train for it in peacetime, PAF has evolved an adaptable
and responsive organisation.