A Look at the Pakistan Air Force

A Look at the Pakistan Air Force

The Pakistan Air Force was part of the Royal Indian Air Force during the days of the Raj. Once the British decided to hand over Independence to the newly formed states of India and Pakistan, the assets of the two nations were accordingly also divided. Thus the PAF came into being from the resources of the erstwhile RIAF.

The PAF thus inherited the same structure and ethos of the Indian Air Force as both were part of the RIAF earlier. However in Pakistan over a period of time the Army came into the political scenario and became a power sharer in the government. However the PAF received only fringe benefits and thus could continue to be a more professional force.

Unfortunately the PAF has somehow not lived up to its potential.It first went into action in the 1965 war with India. But the PAF put up a dismal show and the F86 given to it by the USA were not at all a success against the IAF Gnats and Hunters.Their bombing was also poor as is evidenced by their attack on the Indian air base at Ambala where they ended up hitting a church a little distance from the airbase. The PAF also failed miserably in giving tactical air support when the Pak Army made its thrust in the Chamb Jaurian sector as well as the Armored assault at Khemkaran.The result was that the offensive at Chamb was blunted and Khemkaran became the graveyard of the much vaunted Patton tanks loaned by the USA.

Come the 1971 war with India which led to the vivisection of Pakistan and creation of Bangladesh.The PAF for reasons best known to it, had only one squadron in erst while East Pakistan. This was a strategic blunder as the PAF was quickly wiped out and the Pakistan Army was left berefit of any air cover.Heavy bombing by the IAF resulted in complete demoralization of the Pakistan Army with the result 93,000 POW were taken.

In the Western sector the PAF taking a leaf from the Israeli Air force attack in the 1967 war with Egypt,mounted raids on Indian air bases at Ambala, Halwara, Adampur, Agra and Amritsar. The air raids were a damp squib and nothing was achieved.The IAF escaped unscathed and the PAF again failed.

The IAF now mounted aitr raids on PAF bases in West Pakistan.However from all accounts the Air Defense of the PAF was relatively better and a number of IAF air craft were shot down. The PAF also performed better in the tactical operations in the west in support of the Pakistan Army. The battle thus petered out into a stalemate before a cease fire was called.


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