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PAF Day: Historic Standoffs against India from 1959-2019


Syed Umarullah HussainiWeb Editor

07th Sep, 2020. 12:11 pm
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Pakistan Air Force

Heros of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) that form a galaxy of men that laid down their lives for the better future of the country, each leaving behind the best of himself.

While in the freezing nights, when we are in our quilts and blankets in the comfort of our homes, there above the soldiers of skies are on alert with their blood and soul charged with the warmth of patriotism to safeguard the freedom of our skies and borders.

Here we will look at the historic events of the Pakistan Air force combats against India that wrote new chapters in the history of Pakistan’s Gallantry.

1959 Indian aerial intrusion

On 10 April 1959, on the occasion of the Eid ul-Fitr festival holiday in Pakistan, an Indian Air Force (IAF) English Electric Canberra B(I)58 of No. 106 Squadron entered Pakistani airspace on a photo reconnaissance mission.

Two Pakistan Air Force (PAF) F-86F Sabres (Flt. Lt. M. N. Butt (leader) and Flt. Lt. M. Yunis) of No. 15 Squadron on Air Defence Alert (ADA) were scrambled from Sargodha Air Base to intercept the IAF aircraft.

Butt attempted to bring down the Canberra by firing his Sabre’s machine guns, but the Canberra was flying at an altitude of more than 50,000 feet – beyond the operational ceiling of the F-86F. When Yunis took over from his leader, the Canberra suddenly lost height while executing a turn over Rawalpindi.

Yunis fired a burst that struck the Canberra at an altitude of 47,500 feet and brought it down over Rawat, marking the first direct aerial victory of the PAF. Both crew members of the IAF Canberra ejected and were captured by Pakistani authorities.

They were subsequently released after remaining in detention for some time.

Indo-Pakistani War of 1965

7th September marks the day when the 1965 war was two days old, yet events had already taken a turn that was not only immediately significant but was, in time, to prove decisive. What many don’t know is that it was the PAF who played a major role in denying General Chaudhry of the Indian Army his cocktail party at Gymkhana Lahore. PAF air support at this crucial juncture turned the tables on the enemy.

M M Alam rewrote the history of Air Warfare on 7th September by setting new records while defending Pakistan’s Airspace against the aggressors shot down five Indian aircraft in less than sixty seconds. He can genuinely be branded as a “hunter of the hunters”.

During 6/7th September, for the loss of only 06 aircraft (including accidents), PAF had destroyed 50 enemy aircraft on the ground and in the air, and damaged 08, not counting the undermined losses inflicted by PAF’s night bombing. This marvelous performance of PAF was substantiated by a letter sent by the President of Pakistan to Air Marshal Nur Khan, complimenting the PAF on its first two days of full-scale operations.

The 1965 war saw the best of the PAF’s war-fighting abilities. The PAF made history by shooting down 13 aircraft in one day. PAF emerged as glorious because of a very high standard of leadership throughout its echelons

Indo-Pakistani War of 1971

During the 1971 Indo-Pak war, the Pakistan Air Force put up a gallant flight destroying and damaging over 150 Indian aircraft.

The B57 force of PAF gave its very best in the 1971 war. Of the available strength of 16 B57s at the outset of the war, 15 were launched the very first night as a follow up to the pre-emptive strike on the 3rd December. 12 IAF runways were targeted the first night and a total of 183 bombs were dropped.

The PAF’s night bombing campaign was continued with good effect throughout the war and reflected great credit upon the courage and perseverance of the B57 crew, six of whom embraced Shahadat over enemy airfields.

The PAF provided air support to the Navy at Karachi, on a report from a PIA aircraft flying reconnaissance for the Navy, the morning CAP (combat air patrol) at Masroor was asked to investigate, the result was that the PNS Zulfiqar took 900 hits of point 5-inch ammo killing several officers and men, with many more injured.

2019 India–Pakistan standoff

Pakistan Air Force (PAF) presented its official version of how India faced a blow in February after Pakistan carried out ‘Operation Swift Retort’, schooling Indian air force what an actual surgical strike looks like.

Pakistan’s eastern neighbor faced humiliation at the hands of valiant PAF officers who downed two of their aircraft, also capturing one pilot alive.

Pakistan had identified Indian aircraft at four different spots across the country on the night of February 26th. Following the interception, a fierce dogfight ensued and Pakistani JF-17s shot down an Indian MiG-21 whose Pilot Abhinandan, the Indian pilot captured alive by Pakistan.

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