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Battle Lines of the PAF

PAF Base Korangi Creek History: 1948-1988

The Royal Air Force established RAF Station Korangi Creek in 1923. The primary role of this beach station on the outskirts of Karachi was to provide embarkation and disembarkation facilities to RAF and other British personnel arriving by civil or military amphibious aircraft, and also to handle receipt and dispatch of cargo on these aircraft. For this purpose, a jetty was built with complete refueling facilities; the aircraft used to alight on the shallow The water in the creek and taxi up to the jetty. Large mooring blocks and picketing points were built for anchorage of the aircraft. Six Nissen huts were erected for storage of cargo and one block known as the Halton Block was built to serve as customs office and passenger lounge. Twelve bungalows were built for married officers and 3 blocks for bachelors. Lord Mountbatten while commanding South East Asia Command during WW II visited this station and stayed in the VIP suite of the present base commander's house. SNCOs and airmen's messes were also constructed together with 20 living-in barracks for airmen and 120 one-room houses for the followers. An aboveground sewerage system was installed and the entire sewerage was ejected into the sea through large cement pipes. Electrical power was provided by 3 engine driven generators located in the station power house; two of these generators are still working (1988) as standby power supply to the base! In 1942, the RAF leased an area of 1,007 acres from the provincial government and the station premises were then properly secured with a perimeter fence. Korangi Creek also served as a logistic base for the aircraft repair depot at Drigh Road through the supply depot there. Aircraft engines and spare parts that were brought to Korangi Creek by amphibious aircraft were eventually transferred to Drigh Road to be made use of. Much of the equipment serviced by the repair depot was channeled through Korangi to Bombay to support RAF units all over India. After independence, the station continued to be commanded and manned by RAF personnel till 1949. In December 1949, the first RPAF station commander was Wing Commander A K Malik. At this stage it was decided to make Korangi a technical training base for officers and airmen of the RPAF. In April 1951, the first technical school was established at this station and was named the School of Aeronautics (SOA). The school was inaugurated by the prime minister of Pakistan, Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan. The SOA soon established its reputation in the PAF and abroad and a large number of foreign countries started sending their air technicians for basic training. In 1963, the School of Electronics (SOE) was moved from PAF Station Malir to Korangi Creek to become the sister institution of the SOA.

The need for training PAF engineering officers within the country had been felt immediately after the establishment of the SOA in 1951. However, it was not until the mid-1960s that it became feasible to budget for a PAF college of aeronautical engineering. Consequently the CAE was established at PAF Korangi Creek on 1 March 1965. The college remained at Korangi Creek for over 21 years till it was shifted to PAF Academy Risalpur in May 1986.

Subsequent to CAE's departure three major units of the PAF have been located at Korangi which have enhanced the training role of the base. A premier institution for training selected SNCOs, the JCOs' Academy was established in 1986, and the College of Education, dedicated to instructors' training was set up in the same year. Also the Central Trade Testing Board (CTTB), for many years a Faisal-based unit, was moved to Korangi Creek.

To equip this base more comprehensively with the training aids, methods and environment necessary for the PAF's aerospace technicians of the year 2000, Air Headquarters drew up a multi-staged modernization plan for Korangi Creek in 1986, which is gradually taking shape. New equipment to introduce state-of-the-art technologies to young trainees has been ordered and the old, makeshift class rooms and labs are being torn down to make place for a completely transformed training base.

 
 
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