Monday, October 17, 2011

Pakistan Air Force Introduction

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.

Indo - Pak 1971 War

With 1971 commenced the most tragic year of our history. Failing to resolve a political problem by political means, a Martial Law regime, manipulated by some megalomaniac politicians, resorted to military action in East Pakistan on night 25/26 March. Widespread insurgency broke out. Personnel of two infantry divisions and Civil Armed Forces with weapons were airlifted in Pakistan International Airlines planes, over-flying about 5000 miles non stop via Sri Lanka in the first week of April 1971 – the longest operational air move by Pakistan Army. By May near normalcy had been restored, thanks to the fast reaction, dedication and cool courage of our soldiers, sailors and airmen operating in a hostile environment under adverse climatic and terrain conditions, without adequate logistics and medical support. India's immoral covert armed intervention having failed, by October it had concentrated four times our strength in over 12 divisions (400,000) supported by five regiments of tanks, and about 50,000 activists trained and equipped by Indian Army. Indian Navy's one aircraft carrier, eight destroyers/frigates, two submarines and three landing crafts, against our four gunboats, eight Chinese coasters and two landing craft supported them. Eleven Indian Air Force squadrons – 4 Hunter, 1 SU-7, 3 Gnat and 3 MiG 21 – from five airfields around East Pakistan faced our one valiant Number 14 squadron of F-86F Sabres based on a single airfield around Dhaka .
On 21 November, Eid day, when our fatigued soldiers had been operating in the most hostile environment for almost ten months, including a month of fasting, the Indian army felt emboldened enough to launch a full scale invasion at over twenty fronts in the east, west and north of East Pakistan . Divisions attacked our brigade positions; brigades attacked our battalion, company and platoon positions, supported by their armour, artillery and lair force. When most of our defensive positions, rooted to the ground, could not be overrun, Indian forces after suffering heavy casualties resorted to outflanking moves. The aggressors could not capture, till the cease-fire; on 16 December, a single town except Jessore, which was not defended for strategic reasons. For the Pakistani soldiers this was their finest hour, fighting against heavy odds with their backs to the wall inflicting heavy casualties, bloodied but unbowed” when an Indian commander, through a messenger asked for our Jamalpur battalion to surrender, encircled by two brigades, the commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Sultan Ahmad, Sitara-i-Juraat of 31 Baloch replied in a message wrapped around a bullet which read, “I want to tell you that the fighting you have seen so far is very little; in fact the fighting has not even started. So let us stop negotiating and start the fight.” Similarly 4 Frontier Force under 205 Brigade (Brigadier Tajammul Malik) held out at Hilli for l19 days against 6 battalions, inflicting heavy casualties, till withdrawal on 11 December, after getting outflanked. Similar hard fought actions took place at Bahaduria and elsewhere by Punjab, Baloch, Frontier Force and Azad Kashmir units all arms and services, and Civil Armed Forces including West Pakistan Rangers and police units. 107 Brigades (Brigadier Mohammad Hayat, Sitara-i-Juraat) held at bay a division of 5 brigades and 2 armour regiments at Khulna inflicting heavy casualties till 17 December and ceased fighting only after repeated orders of our Eastern Command.
On the West Pakistan front, on 3 December 1971 , India attacked with the main effort against Shakargarh sector with three infantry divisions supported by three armoured brigades against our 8 Division front, operating under our 1 Corps (Commander Lieutenant General Irshad Ahmad Khan). The attack was halted in the tracks, inflicting heavy casualties. 8 (Independent) Armoured Brigade (Brigadier Mohammad Ahmed, Sitara-i-Juraat) effectively blocked and destroyed enemy penetration our minefield and saved Zafarwal from being outflanked by enemy armour. In Jammu and Kashmir , Chhamb, Lahore , Kasur, Sulemanki and Rajasthan sectors, war was carried into Indian territory , with success at some points, not so successfully at others due to inadequate forces and air support. For the Pakistan Army, Navy and Air Force this conflict was their finest hour. Fighting against overwhelming odds in both wings of the country raged with full fury. Before our counter offensive could be launched in West Pakistan , India asked for cease-fire in the United Nations. The Ghazis and Shaheeds proved in their supreme hour of trial all the military virtues of Faith, Honour, Valour, Fortitude, Endurance, Loyalty, Group Cohesion and Unlimited Liability, and above all, the spirit of Jehad.
On 4 December 1971 , the United States moved a draft resolution calling for cease-fire and withdrawal of Indian forces, which was vetoed by Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Thereafter, another six resolutions including one by China were introduced calling for cease-fire and withdrawal of forces, some of which were accepted by Pakistan. However, due to behind the scene political machinations by India and her allies their passage and implementation was stalled till Dhaka fell on 16 December 1971 and the cease-fire had been perfidiously converted to surrender.” I took a careful look at the documents and was aghast to see the heading – which read Instrument of ‘Surrender'……” writes Lieutenant General J.F.R.Jacob, Chief of Staff, Indian, Eastern Army. (Lieutenant General J.F.R.Jacob, “Surrender at Dacca : Birth of a Nation).
Flawed national and operational strategy proved to; be disastrous for Pakistan , both politically and militarily. Power, national and operational strategy, the methodology of crisis and conflict management, and higher direction of war in which we had been found wanting in 1971.

Indo - Pak 1965 War

The Indian forces intruded into Pakistani area in the Rann of Kutch in April 1965. In a sharp and short conflict, the Indian forces were ejected. Both the armies had fully mobilized, with eyeball to eyeball contact. Pakistan proposed cease-fire, India accepted. An agreement was signed: the forces disengaged. The Award by the Arbitration Tribunal vindicated Pakistan 's Position.
Past midnight on 5/6 September, without a formal declaration of war, Indian Army crossed the international border and attacked Lahore and Kasur fronts. Pakistan Army and Pakistan Air Force halted the attack in its tracks, inflicting heavy casualties on the aggressor. On 7 September a single Pakistan Air Force Pilot, Squadron Leader M.M. Alam, Sitara-i-Juraat, in his F-86 Sabre shot down five Indian Air Force attacking Hunter aircraft in a single sortie, an unbeaten world record “On night 6/7 September three teams of our Special Services Groups were para-dropped on Indian Air Force bases at Pathankot, Adampur and Halwara to neutralize them.
To relieve pressure on Lahore front, on night 7/8 September, after crossing two major water obstacles in a bold thrust, Pakistani armoured and mechanized formations supported by artillery and Pakistan Air Force overran area Khem Karn, 6 to 8 miles inside Indian territory. Vital Indian positions at Sulemanki and across Rajasthan and Sindh were also captured in bold, swift attacks.

On night 7/8 September, 1 Corps of Indian Army launched its main effort east of Sialkot with one armoured and three infantry divisions on our extended 15 Division front, screened only by gallant 3 Frontier Force and B Company 13 Frontier Force (Reconnaissance & Support). 24 Infantry Brigade (Brigadier A.A Malik, Hilal-i-Juraat) on the move in area Pasrur, rushed 25 Cavalry (Lieutenant Colonel Nisar Ahmad, Sitara-i-Juraat), on 8 September to delay and disrupt enemy thrusts. As soon as the presence of Indian 1 Armoured Division was confirmed, Pakistan Army rushed forward to stop the onslaught on a 30-mile front. The biggest tank battle since World War II was fought on the Chwinda front by 6 Armoured Division with under command 24 Infantry Brigade Groups and valiantly supported by 4 Corps Artillery (Brigadier A.A.K. Choudhry, Hilal-i-Juraat). The main effort of the Indian Army was blunted, inflicting heavy and troop casualties. Pakistan Air Force support helped turn the tide of the battle. Before a counter offensive by 6 Armoured Division on 22 September could be launched, Indian asked for cease-fire in the United Nations. India 's aggression against our international borders without a formal declaration of war had cost it, apart from heavy personnel, material land economic losses, 1617 sq. miles of territory as compared to 446 sq. miles of our open and undefended territory. Pakistan Army captured 20 officers, 19 Junior Commissioned Officers, and 569 Other Ranks.

Kashmir War 1947 - 49

By November 1947 Auchinleck, Supreme Commander based in New Delhi, being convinced that Indian Cabinet was seeking to destroy and undo Pakistan by economic and military means, was forced to resign. As the build-up of Indian forces in Jammu and Kashmir continued, Pakistan Army units were being hurriedly organized and equipped without any base for manufacture of ammunition, signal stores, equipment or vehicles. Simultaneously, Pakistan National Guards were raised from ex-servicemen and other volunteers along border areas to provide a second line of defence. By February 1948 Indian build up in Jammu and Kashmir reached five brigades plus, under two full-fledged division Headquarters. Our 101 Brigade, commanded by Brigadier Akbar Khan was rushed into the critical front to forestall and halt the Indian offensive along Uri-Muzaffarabad axis. In April 1948, Commander-in-Chief Pakistan Army appreciating the threats in the north along Muzaffarabad-Kohala axis, and in the south along Bhimber-Mirpur-Poonch axis further reinforced the front with elements of 7 Division to halt the Indian offensive at Chakothi. Reinforcements were rushed overnight to Tithwal sector to defend Muzaffarabad front 9(F) Division was also moved to reinforce 7 Division in Tithwal, Uri and Bagh sectors. 7 Division was thereafter moved to the southern front. In May Pakistan informed the United Nations of these moves. By June, Pakistan had five brigades in Jammu and Kashmir together with Azad Kashmir forces and elements of the para-military Frontier Corps, holding twelve Indian brigades (with 4 to 5 battalions each) supported by armour, artillery and Indian Air Force. Indian summer offensive was decisively beaten and halted. Some months later, two brigades of 8 Division from Quetta further reinforced Muzaffarabad-Uri front.

 On 14 August 1948 , the first anniversary of Pakistan , General Headquarters sent the following message to the Quaid-e-Azam, “Loyal and grateful greetings from the Army on the first anniversary of Independence Day. We serve and shall serve Pakistan with all our hearts and souls. Pakistan and its Creator, Zindabad.” The Quaid-e-Azam was at that time in Quetta , fighting his own battle for survival against a deadly affliction. In December, Pakistan Army planned to go on the offensive, ‘Operation Venus', with 7 Division to cut off the main supply route at Beri Pattan Bridge area, and isolate Indian forces in Nowshera-Jhangar-Poonch sector. On 14 December, in a pre-attack artillery bombardment the Beri Pattan bridge area containing ammunition, rations, petrol and supplies in a two-mile area was totally destroyed together with Indian divisional Headquarter, isolating the Indian forces in that sector. The Indian Army was taken by surprise. At midnight on 30 December, India asked for ceasefire with effect from 1 January 1949 . Pakistan accepted, as the fate of Jammu and Kashmir had been taken over by the United Nations. By early 1949 Pakistan Army had completed its formative stage. It halted the Indian offensive and prevented it from totally over-running Jammu and Kashmir , and closing up to Pakistan 's vital border areas, thus ended the war in Jammu and Kashmir . Pakistan Army continued its reorganization. An ordnance factory to produce small arms and ammunition was established at Wah. The threat from India was by no means over. In spring of 1950 and again between July and October 1951 the Indian Army concentrated on Pakistan‘s borders and transgressed into Azad Kashmir and West Pakistan territory forty eight times. The Indian Air Force violated Pakistan 's air space thirty times thus bringing the two countries very close to another all out war through India 's coercive diplomacy and interventionist strategy.

The British Artillery

Army Firepower - "shock and awe"The Royal Artillery supplies the army's firepower and is as vital on the modern battlefield as it has ever been. The Royal Regiment of Artillery, also known as The Gunners, has lots of it.  We are responsible for 'shock and awe' on the battle field. We are a combat arm and work closely with tanks, infantry and attack helicopters.  We serve aboard ships from the Royal Navy, we also direct attack aircraft of the Royal Air Force to engage our targets.

Royal Artillery TeamIt is important to view the Royal Artillery as a team. We find the enemy with unmanned air systems or radars.  We use digital communications to transmit information and orders.  Our soldiers deliver ammunition and equipment to the front line for our guns, rockets and missiles to hit the target.  All are in the Gunner family.

Japan's Aging Air Force Plans Major Overhaul


Underscoring Japan's uphill battle in an increasingly heated race to control the skies over Asia, the air review came just a week after the country's entire F-15 fleet was ordered into its hangers for safety checks following a midair accident, the second such order in three months.

But in an effort to counterbalance big strides by China and Russia toward deploying new stealthy aircraft, Japan's Air Self-Defense Forces are about to get a multibillion dollar overhaul.

The F-15s the workhorse of Japan's air defenses were relegated to ground displays, either parked on the runway or allowed to taxi but not take off. Last weekend, an empty fuel tank burst and detached from a F-15 on a training flight, causing the grounding order. In July, an F-15 flying out of Okinawa crashed into the ocean. The pilot is listed as missing and presumed dead.

The accidents reinforced what military planners already knew: Japan's aging air force has seen better days. But after years of delays and budget battles, Japan is expected to announce by the end of December a new fighter deal that will likely shape Asian air security for decades to come.

"The JASDF is on the edge of becoming a major tool of power projection," said Michael Auslin, a Japan security expert with the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. "With its fighter selection process, it will signal whether it intends to be qualitatively competitive with leading air forces around the region over the next generation."

Japan with 362 fighter jets, mostly F-15s, F-4s and F-2s is already one of the top air powers in the region. But planners have long been concerned by the increasing age and expense of maintaining the fleet along with this country's ability to match the improving air capabilities of neighboring Russia and China. Japan has been using the F-15 as its centerpiece fighter since the early 1980s, though they have been updated over the years. Japan flies about 200 of the planes.

Tokyo's first choice was the United States' stealthy F-22 Raptor, which can cruise at supersonic speeds and is hailed by many aviation experts as the most advanced fighter in the skies. Japan is the only country where the F-22 is regularly deployed overseas, having done several rotations to the U.S. Kadena Air Base on the southern island of Okinawa.

Acquiring the F-22 would have been a quantum leap for Japan. Because of its sensitive technology, the U.S. Congress has opposed selling the F-22 abroad. Budget restraints in the United States have further forced Washington to drastically reduce its own orders for the pricey plane, whose future is now cloudy.

With the F-22 out of the picture, Japan has set its sights on three jets as its next mainstay fighter the Lockheed F-35, Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet and the Eurofighter Typhoon. The hotly contested deal for more than 40 "F-X," or next generation, planes is worth upwards of $8 billion. The first planes are expected to begin arriving in 2016. Japan is likely to go with one of the American options.

Germany Wants to Supply Battle Tanks to Saudi Arabia

Photo Gallery: Germany's Mighty 'Leopard' Tanks in Demand

Right in the middle of the Arab Spring, Germany plans to supply high-tech weapons to an undemocratic regime in the region. According to information obtained by SPIEGEL, Saudi Arabia is interested in buying up to 200 "Leopard" battle tanks. A sale would end Germany's traditional restraint on arms sales to the country.

Germany is prepared to deliver modern "Leopard" battle tanks to Saudi Arabia in a reversal of its decades-old policy not to supply heavy weapons to the authoritarian kingdom.

According to information obtained by SPIEGEL, the German security council, in which Chancellor Angela Merkel, Defense Minster Thomas de Maizière, and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle are represented, last week approved the deal in principle. The Saudis are interested in purchasing more than 200 units of the most modern Leopard version, the Type 2A7+.

German defense companies including Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, Rheinmetall and many supply firms, are hoping for a deal worth billions of dollars because the Saudis are aiming to buy brand-new tanks rather than used ones.

Riyadh had initially negotiated with Spain where the company Santa Bárbara, part of a US engineering group, makes Leopard tanks under license. But now it appears that a large number of the tanks to be purchased will be made in Germany.

In recent decades, various German governments had turned down Saudi Arabian requests to buy Leopard tanks by arguing that such deals might endanger Israel's security. But Israel's high-tech military no longer sees Saudi tank units as a threat.

Saudi Military Helped Put Down Protests in Bahrain
Nevertheless, the kingdom has not been peaceable of late. In Bahrain, Saudi forces helped to crush protests during the Arab Spring.

The "Leopard" is one of many weapons systems being exported by Germany, and the government is helping manufacturers to sell their wares around the world. India, for example, plans to buy 126 fighter jets worth €11 billion, and German ministers have been banging the drum for Eurofighters in meetings with Indian officials.

Even highly indebted Greece likes to buy weapons made in Germany, such as submarines or "Leopard" tanks. Athens has also been pondering buying Eurofighter fighter jets.

Some 80,000 people are employed in the German defense sector. The Bundeswehr, Germany's armed forces, has also been involved in the international arms trade through the sale of used tanks.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the main buyers of German weapons systems in the years 2006 through 2010 were:
  • Greece (with a share of 15 percent)
  • South Africa (11 percent)
  • Turkey (10 percent)
  • South Korea (nine percent)
  • Malaysia (seven percent)
SIPRI said that Germany advanced from fifth to third place among the biggest arms sellers between 1998 and 2009, even though a previous center-left government pledged in 2000 to pursue a "restrictive'" policy on exporting defense technology.

German exports have in fact doubled in the past 10 years and Germany's share of the world market rose to around 11 percent in the period between 2006 and 2010. Many of those deals had been approved by Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's government before it was voted out of office in 2005. Only the US (30 percent) and the Russians (23 percent) export more.