Defence Expert’s Tribute to PAF’s role in 1965 Indo-Pak War.

Every Man A Tiger: General Chuck commanded the US and allied air assets during Desert shield and desert storm wrote a book titled Every Man A Tiger about Pakistan Air Force and Pilots.  “Pakistan has one of the best, most combat ready air forces in the world. They have to because their neighbour to the east is huge, and the two nations have a long history of hostilities. For Indian war planners, Pakistan Air Force is their worst fear.

Pakistani pilots are respected throughout the world, especially the Islamic world, because they know how to fly and fight. It was those few I was concerned about – the ones with great situational awareness and good eyesight who had figured out how to effectively use their aircraft and weapons to defend their nation.

The Lindsay Peacock Journal: Air International, Vol 41. No 5 pays tribute to Pakistan Air Force in these words, “PAF – Quality If Not Quantity: “Another way in which the PAF satisfies the imbalance with regard to numbers viz a viz IAF is through pursuit of excellence with regard to its combat echelons. Paradoxically, though, that pursuit is by its very nature an expensive procedure and there is a high wastage rate as pilot progress through the training system, with individuals being weeded out all the way along the line.

The end result is felt to be well worth the expense involved, however, and personal observations have certainly convinced the author that the average PAF pilot is almost certainly possessed of superior skills when compared with, say, an average American pilot. As to those, who are rated above average, they compare favourably to the very best in a host of western air arms.

Standard of accuracy appear comparable to those of the west and may surpass them, one F-6 pilot of No. 15 Squadron having recently put 20 out of 25 shells through a banner in four successive passes. The author can vouch for this having inspected the banner at Kamra and even more remarkably, the pilot responsible for this impressive shooting was a ‘first tourist’.”

General (Retd) Chuck Yeager of USAF in his autobiography titled “Yeager, the Autobiography” writes, “When we arrived in Pakistan in 1971, the political situation between the Pakistanis and Indians was really tense over Bangladesh, or East Pakistan, as it was known in those days, and Russia was backing India with tremendous amounts of new airplanes and tanks.

The air war lasted two weeks and the Pakistanis scored a three-to-one kill ratio, knocking out 102 Russian-made Indian jets and losing thirty-four airplanes of their own. I’m certain about the figures because I went out several times a day in a chopper and counted the wrecks below. The PAF remains the only foreign air force in the world to have received Chuck Yeager’s admiration – a recommendation which the PAF is proud of.

Anthony Robinson, former staff of the RAF Museum, Hendon and now a freelance Military aviation writer, in his book titled “Elite Forces of the World” about 1965 Indo- Pakistan War, says ‘The Pakistan Air Force, however, emerged with great credit from its conflict with the Indian Air Force, destroying 22 IAF aircraft in air-to-air combat for the loss of only eight of its own – a remarkable achievement considering that the PAF faced odds of nearly four to one.

Christopher Sivores in his book titled “Air Aces Combat over the Indian Subcontinent” writes “In Sep 1965 a festering border dispute between India and Pakistan erupted into full scale war. The Indian possessed the larger air force numerically, composed mainly of British and French types- Hawker Hunter, Folland Gnat and Dassault Mystere fighters, Dassault Ouragons fighter-bombers and English electric Canberra bombers.

The smaller but highly trained Pakistan Air Force was equipped in large part with F-86F Sabers, plus a few F-104 Starfighters. Fighting lasted little more than two weeks, but during that time, Pakistan gained a definite ascendancy in the air. It was the well proven Sabers that emerged with honours, being credited with all but five of the 36 victories claimed. The Indians claimed 73 victories – undoubtedly a considerable overestimate – for an admitted loss of 35.”

Pushpinder Singh, Ravi Rikhye, Peter Steinemann in a book titled “Fiza’ya: Psyche of the Pakistan Air Force writes “The Pakistan Fiza’ya (Pakistan Air Force) gets the best and the brightest of the country’s young men and it is given clear preference in the matter of equipment.

In 1981, for example, Pakistan paid $1.2 billion for 40 F-16s. Had the US been willing to supply an Airborne Warning and Control System to Pakistan in the second package (1987-92), along with additional F-16s again the PAF would have gotten half or more of the total sum?

Israel Air Force chief Ezer Weizmann writing about PAF chief Nur Khan in his autobiography, On Eagles’ Wings, He was a formidable fellow and I was glad that he was Pakistani and not Egyptian”.


Amna Malik

Author is the President, Center Of Pakistan And International Relations (COPAIR) and Editor -in- Chief of ‘Mélange’

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About Amna Malik 61 Articles
Author is the President, Center of Pakistan and International Relations (COPAIR) and Editor-in-Chief of ‘Mélange int’l Magazine’ and ‘ The Asian Telegraph’.