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Pakistan Air Force

By Najam Khan

Some memories from 1965 war…

Air Marshal (AM) Mohammad Nur Khan took charge as C-in-C of PAF on 23 July 1965. Previously in past six years he was serving as Managing Director of Pakistan International Air lines. To lead his force from the front, he converted onto F-86F and F-104A fighters.
In the photo above Nur Khan is conducting pre-flight checks prior to a solo flight on F-104, dual seat F-104B is also seen in the background. During 1965 war, he personally visited PAF bases and airfields which were participating in the combat in an F-86 Sabre aircraft flown by himself.
Squadron Leader  (Sqn Ldr) Mohammad Mahmood Alam (commonly known as M.M. Alam) became the first Ace pilot from Sub-continent by shooting down five IAF hunter aircraft in less than a minute. The history making event happened on the morning of 7 September 1965. M.M Alam shot down 9 enemy aircraft and damaged 2 aircraft in only three sorties. The 9 big Indian flags on his favourite F-86 F-35-NA denote confirm kills, 2 small flags denote damaged aircraft.PakAir2
M.M Alam (in center) and other pilots of No.11 Squadron (Sqn) at operations room during the war. No.11 Sqn flew a total of 227 sorties in seventeen days of the combat.
No.6 C-130 Sqn conducted logistic support missions and bombing missions during the war. They dropped Pak Army commandoes of Special Services Group (SSG) near Adampur, Halwara and Pathankot. To cope with requirement of night bombers, these Hercules also conducted bombing missions over Indian battlefields. In 20 missions as a bomber, a total of 22,000 lbs of High Explosive (HE) bombs were rolled out from these aircraft. Seven officers from No.6 Sqn were awarded Sitara-i-Jurat and two Junior Commissioned Officers (JCO) were awarded Tamgha-i-Jurat.
On Sep 3, 1965 IAF Gnat(seen in left along with F-86 Sabre) flown by Sqn Ldr Brijpal Singh Sikand Interactionsurrenders to PAF’s No.9 F-104 Starfighter during an air combat. The Indian pilot landed aircraft on pasrur airfield near Gujranwala and was taken Prison Of war (POW). Later Sqn Ldr Saad Hatmi flew that captured Gnat from Pusrur to Sargodha, which is now placed in PAF museum in Karachi.
In an article Late Air Cdre Saad Hatmi narrates the event as:
” From the air it looked like a big Mela at Pasrur airfield as Wing Commander Ayaz and I arrived overhead. The IAF Gnat had been switched off at the end of the runway. There were people everywhere and more were coming; they came on foot, bicycles, tongas, horses, cars and buses; all to see the IAF fighter. We had to buzz the airfield many a time before the crowd gave us enough room to land. It was a touching scene as we parked next to the Gnat. The crowd broke into wild clapping and greeted us with loud cheers of “PAF Zindabad”. The Gnat was being guarded by a detachment of Army Jawans.
Pilots of No.19 Sqn with their Sqn commander Sqn Ldr Sajjad Haider (center).
During the 1965 war, No.19 Sqn conducted various strike, air combat and Close Air Support (CAS) missions for Pak-Army. The most successful strike mission was the attack on Pathankot air filed on Sep 6, 1965 in which 8 F-86s destroyed IAF fighters parked in hangars. A total  14 wreckages were counted, including IAFs Soviet-supplied Mig-21s as well.
Squadron Leader Sajjad Haider (lead)
Wing Commander M G Tawab
Flight Lieutenants Arshad Sami , M Akbar, Mazhar Abbas, Dilawar Hussain, Ghani Akbar
Flying Officers Arshad Chaudhry, Khalid Latif and Abbas Khattak
Indian air field at Pathankot in the aftermath of the deadly strike by 8 F-86s from No.19 Sqn. Soviet-supplied Mig-21s parked in the base are seen bursting into flames.
Sqn Ldr Shabbir H. Syed took command of the No.14 Squadron in March 1963; later in October 1964 squadron was deployed at Dhaka, the place where it fought against 10 IAF fighter squadrons in the 1965 war.

On 7 September, 1965, Sqn Ldr Shabbir Syed led two separate strike formations in same day. Both times, the target was IAF air field in Kalaikunda. At the end of the day he and his team members destroyed 10 Canberra light bombers and 2 unidentified enemy transport aircraft. For displaying unparalleled flying skills and courage he was awarded Sitara-i-Jurat.
Air Marshal Nur Khan awarding Sitara-e-Jurat To Flight Lieutenant M.Tariq Habib for his exceptional performance on Kaliakunda strike. [Post 1965 war photo].
No.14 Sqn pilots and crew that participated in 1965 war.
Standing from left (2nd & 3rd) are Sqn Ldr Shabbir H syed (OC) and Dhaka Station commander Wng Cdr Ghulam Haider. Sitting from left the first man is Flt Lt Farooq Feroz Khan (later became Air Chief), 2nd from left is Flt Lt A.T.M Aziz, he was the first Shaheed of No.14 Sqn in 1965 war. Sitting 3rd from left is Flg Off A.K Baseer, a member of team that conducted strike over Kalikunda. 4th from left is Flg. Off Afzal Khan who embraced Shahadat near Kalaikunda, this was the second and last casualty suffered by the unit in the war.
No.14 Squadron equipped with 12 F-86F aircraft was the only squadron of PAF deployed in the West Pakistan compared to 10 IAF squadrons stationed near West Pakistan.  During the war, strikes on IAF bases Kalaikunda (2 strikes) ,Bagdogra, Barrackpore, and Agartala were a crucial blow to IAF morale. No.14 Squadron’s 1965 war total score included 10 Canberra, 5 transport aircraft, 2 Hunters and 1 helicopter destroyed, while damaging 4 Canberra and 1 Hunter.

Flight lines of B-57/RB-57 aircraft. Both B-57 and RB-57 proved vital in offensive operations in 1965 war. Air field strike and deep interdiction was the task assigned to both B-57 units. RB-57 induction in 1956 brought the capability of climbing up to 72,000ft along with the ability to remain in air for 10hrs.
B-57s from No.7 Sqn conducted deep strike missions inside Indian Territory and earned 12 gallantry awards: 7 Sitara-e-Jurat. B-57s from No.8 Sqn, under the command of Sqn Ldr Rais A Rafi conducted successful counter-air  operations over Indian airfields at Jamangar and Jodhpur in south; Ambala, Adampur, Halwara and Pathankot in the north. B-57s also provided both day and night CAS to Pak-army troops. B-57 pilots Sqn Ldr Alam Siddiqui and Sqn Ldr Aslam Quershi (Navigator) also laid their lives during strike on Jamangar air field, 7 Sep 1965.

No.9 Sqn, led by Sqn Ldr Mervyn L Middlecoat (seen in right along with AM Nur Khan)  proved its mettle in air defence, fighter escort and recce mission. No.9 Sqn equipped with Mach 2 supersonic F-104 Strafighter was credited with five kills during the war, i.e.






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