Cutting Edge - Pakistan Air Force (PAF)
Documentary: 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.
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