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Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt
HI(M), T Bt

20th Chief of PAF
19 Mar 2012 - Till Date

Chief of the Air Staff appoints his Principal Staff Officers (PSOs) for efficient functioning of the Air Force,
they are:

Vice Chief of The Air Staff VCAS
Deputy Chief of The Air Staff (Operations) DCAS (O)
Deputy Chief of The Air Staff (Engineering) DCAS (E)
Deputy Chief of The Air Staff (Administration) DCAS (A)
Deputy Chief of The Air Staff (Training) DCAS (T)
Deputy Chief of The Air Staff (Personnel) DCAS (P)
Deputy Chief of The Air Staff (Support) DCAS (S)
Inspector General Air Force IGAF
Chief Project Director JF-17 Thunder CPD JF-17 Thunder
Director General Air Force Strategic Command DG AFSC
Director General Air Intelligence DG AI
Director General Command, Control, Communication,
Computers and Intelligence
Air Officer Commanding Northern Air Command AOC, NAC
Air Officer Commanding Central Air Command AOC, CAC
Air Officer Commanding Southern Air Command AOC, SAC
Air Officer Commanding Air Defence Command AOC, ADC
Air Officer Commanding Pakistan Air Force Academy AOC, PAF Academy
Commandant Air War College Comdt AWC
Chairman Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Board, Kamra Chairman PACB
Managing Director APF MD APF
Deputy Director General Civil Aviation Authority, Karachi DDG CAA
Director General Logistics JS Headquarters DG Log (JSHQ)
Director General Joint Operations (GHQ) DGJO (GHQ)
Director General Air Weapon Complex, Wah Cantt DG AWC
Additional Seceretary II, Ministry of Defence, Rawalpindi Additional Secy-II MoD
Senior Vice President Precision Engineering Complex Senior Vice PEC PIAC
Dean Faculty of Security Studies (NDU) Dean FSS NDU
Pro-Rector (A & R) NUST, Islamabad PR (A&R), NUST



In 1933, British colonial government of India established the subcontinent’s first Air Force station near Drigh Road, now called PAF Base Faisal. In 1934, this element of the Royal Indian Air Force (RIAF) was extended to the north for operations in NWFP. The RIAF had also contributed to the defeat of Japanese invasion during World War II.

In 1947, the British left sub-continent after dividing it into two sovereign states of India and Pakistan. Pakistan Air Force (PAF) was born immediately afterwards. Distribution of military assets between the new states was to follow. However, India with an inherent resentment towards the creation of Pakistan tried to subvert our capabilities by crippling Pakistan militarily. It denied the then Royal Pakistan Air Force (RPAF) even the officially agreed small portions of weapons, equipment and aircraft allocated by departing British as its legitimate share. Much of what was eventually received from India was inoperable. Crates of equipment contained nothing but scrap and waste. The RPAF got 16 fighter aircraft as its foundation. It started off with one squadron of eight Tempest aircraft and a small remnant of No 1 Squadron Royal Indian Air Force (RIAF) which was subsequently utilized to raise No 5 Squadron.

Within three weeks of independence, Indian hegemonic designs sparked off the first war between Pakistan and India. Pakistan’s young air arm was called upon to fly supply missions with one of the two war weary Dakotas. Contending with the unpredictable weather, the difficult terrain, and the enemy fighters was an uphill task. The strength was replenished with two more Dakotas only as the skirmishes resumed the following winters. In the narrow valleys of Kashmir, the stirring tale of Flying Officer Mukhtar Dogar defiantly scissoring his lumbering Dakota with pursuing RIAF Tempests taking pot-shots at him defined the fighting doctrine of the PAF, defend Pakistan and learn to fight outnumbered. Within the span of a year this young air force had completed 437 mercy drops, delivering more than 500 tons of supplies and food.

Whilst these brave pioneers were documenting the historic beginning of PAF, the force was faced with the enigma of finding aircraft to fly. However, despite the lack of funds and market places, PAF entered the jet age in August, 1951 with the induction of British built Attackers. Until mid-1950s PAF’s fighter force comprised nearly 100 Hawker Furies and a dwindling number of Tempests. Then, the first air defence radar was installed and the PAF was rapidly setting up its own advanced flying and technical training institutions. F-86 Sabers and T-33 jet trainers were inducted in PAF as a result of the United States (US) aid.

From 1955 to1965, the Air Force armed its squadrons with the most modern jet fighters and bombers, Sabers and F-104 Starfighters as fighters, B-57s as bombers and the ubiquitous C-130s as transport fleet. The seven years of rigorous training with realistic threat perception, planning and preparation had enabled PAF to inflict a humiliating defeat on the enemy in 1965 when the mutual hostility of the rival neighbours escalated into a war. PAF struck hard its rival and kept it reeling under tactics of shock and unpredictability. Many victories came to PAF pilots who exacted an even retribution on the enemy, leaving it in total disarray. At the end of the war, India had lost 110 aircraft with 19 damaged, not including those destroyed on the ground at night, against a loss of 16 PAF planes. Thus the outnumbered PAF emerged triumphant over a four times larger force, its air defence controllers, engineers, logisticians and hands just as much the heroes as its pilots.

The third war between the South Asian foes began when, in December 1971, the Indian Army crossed into East Pakistan and from the encircling air Bases ten squadrons of the IAF challenged the PAF’s only squadron, No 14, located at Dhaka. The Tail Choppers of 1965 rose heroically to meet the aggressors, and before their squadron was grounded by a bombed out runway, they and their ack ack gunners had destroyed 23 IAF aircraft. The PAF’s Mirages, B-57s, Sabers, F-6s and a few F-104s spearheaded Pakistan’s retaliation from the west. At war’s end IAF had lost 130 aircraft in all. The three-to-one kill ratio that Pakistan scored, however, could not prevent the tragic fall of Dhaka. The trauma of separation of East Pakistan and a preventable military catastrophe affected all Pakistanis deeply and lingered long afterwards. However a stoic recovery was brisk. PAF soon reorganised and reequipped assimilating the new threat environment on the sub-continent.


During the Afghan war in the eighties, PAF had to keep a constant vigil on its western border. Despite the fact that PAF was not allowed hot pursuit into Afghanistan, the pilots and the ground controllers together managed to shoot down eight Soviet/Afghan aircraft without a single own loss.

The post-Afghan war period witnessed a resource constraint with the drying up of traditional sources. The immediate need for induction of a hi-tech aircraft was one part of the crises; the sheer sustenance of the fleet was another. Due to economic constraints, PAF went for cost effective purchases like A-5 aircraft and such upgrades as the ROSE, which gave the old Mirages very good nav-attack, weapon delivery, and other capabilities. With this, self-reliance picked up pace and PAF worked on Griffo radar, Mistral and Anza missiles simultaneously. To keep the ageing weapon systems & aircraft from becoming obsolete, chaff and flares dispensers, radar warning receivers, and laser automation for better weapon delivery were added to the old aircrafts.

The succeeding years witnessed many significant developments including the milestones achieved by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), Kamra such as F-7P overhaul, aircraft engines maintenance, the co–production of K-8 and Super Mushshaq aircraft, the quality standards achieved by Kamra Avionics and Radar Factory. Project JF-17 Thunder was conceived to replace the PAF’s ageing, medium-tech fleet of Mirages, F-7, and A-5 aircraft that would progressively retire from service. It is planned to be a multi-role, light-weight day/night all weather fighter. It would be able to attack ground targets and ships, and engage enemy aircraft at considerable ranges. The aircraft will be inducted in PAF by 2006 and will be co-produced at PAC Kamra. This technological edge will secure both better national security environment and economic benefits for the country.

Air Battle Near Nangaparbat
  04 November, 1948  
While returning in Dakota from an air supply mission to Skardu, Flying Officer Mukhtar Dogar was attacked by two IAF Tempest fighters. One of his crew member got martyred and the navigator was injured under the heavy enemy cannon fire. Dogar continued to evade the Indian fighters by flying down to the tree top level over the twisting Indus River in a narrow valley. He became the first recipient of Sitara-i-Jurat in PAF.
The First Blood, Rawalpindi
  10 April, 1959  
  The first pilot to shoot down an IAF aircraft was Flying Officer Younus. In his F-86F Saber, he shot down an Indian Canberra which was on a Photo Recce mission high over Rawalpindi on an Eid day.  
Strike on Pathankot
  6 September, 1965  
Eight F-86Fs of No 19 Squadron struck Pathankot airfield on 6 September 1965. With carefully positioned dives and selecting each individual aircraft in its protected pen for their strafing attacks, the strike elements completed a textbook operation against Pathankot. Wing Commander M G Tawab, flying one of the two Sabres as tied escorts overhead, counted 14 wrecks burning on the airfield. Most of the aircraft destroyed on the ground were the IAF’s Soviet-supplied Mig-21s received till then. None of them was seen again during the War. Tied escorts consisted of Wing Commander M G Tawab (later Air Marshal and Air Chief of Bangladesh Air Force) and Flight Lieutenant Arshad Sami. Squadron Leader Sajjad Haider led the strike elements in this formation. Along with him were Flight Lieutenants M Akbar, Mazhar Abbas, Dilawar Hussain, Ghani Akbar and Flying Officers Arshad Chaudhry, Khalid Latif and Abbas Khattak (later Air Chief Marshal and CAS, PAF).
A Command is a subdivision of the Air Force assigned with a major part of the Air Force mission and directly responsible to the Air headquarters. The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Commands and Command Headquarters are:-
Northern Air Command (NAC) Peshawar
Central Air Command (CAC) Lahore
Southern Air Command (SAC) Faisal, Karachi
Air Defence Command (ADC) Chaklala, Rawalpindi

Direct Reporting Units:

A direct reporting unit is a subdivision of the Air Force directly subordinate to Air Head Quarters (AHQ), independent of any command or field operation agency because of its unique mission, legal requirements, or some other factors. These units are:-

PAF Academy, Risalpur
PAF Air War College, Faisal
Air Weapon's Complex
Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC)

Pakistan Aeronautical Complex located at Kamra (Attock) is directly responsible to the Ministry of Defence. Its roles and tasks include maintenance of various aircraft and radars on PAF inventory. It also provides similar maintenance services to foreign countries. Presently it is gearing up to undertake the joint production of JF-17 Thunder aircraft. It comprises the following factories:-

Aircraft Rebuild Factory
Overhauls, repairs, upgrades of F-7 aircraft and relevant weapon systems. 
Mirage Rebuild Factory (MRF)
Overhauls, repairs, upgrades of Mirage aircraft and relevant weapon systems.
Avionics Production Factory
Manufactures Mushshak, Super Mushshak and subassemblies for K-8 Aircraft.

Kamra Avionics and Radar Factory (KARF)
Produces, rebuilds and repairs avionics and air defence systems.

Air Force Strategic Command (AFSC) Islamabad





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