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Aviation Art by Group Captain Syed Masood Akhtar Hussaini

Illustrations: Trauma and Reconstruction 1971-1980
 
F-5 FIGHTERS ARRIVE IN PAKISTAN
DECEMBER 1971

During the 1971 War, different types of fighters from some friendly countries were temporarily transferred to the PAF. Of these groups, a formation of three F-5As with PAF markings are shown here entering the Pakistani territory. The pilots who ferried the F-5s were:-

Squadron Leader: Tahir Kheli
Squadron Leader: Zaigham Aizad
Flight Lieutenant: Bilal Khan
AIRBORNE ASSAULT

A highly versatile and capable cargo aeroplane, PAF's C-130s have carried out many crucially needed tactical airlift, supply drop and para-trooping missions in support of Pak Army during both the 1965 and 1971 wars. In peace time they have been used extensively for disaster relief and other humanitarian missions. The painting depicts a commando assault in the midst of a battle field during the 1971 war in East Pakistan.
MIRAGE IN ZOOM ATTACK

"Zoom Attack" is carried out with the assistance of a radar controller to achieve surprise over the enemy. Precise positioning demands close pilot-controller co-ordination. The weapon used in this type of attack is the Matra-530 air-to-air guided missile.
INTERDICTION STRIKE BY MIRAGE-IIIs

One of the most successful strikes during the 1971 War was at Mukerian Railyard south of Pathankot, where a number of trains laden with ammunition and fuel were attacked by 4 Mirage fighters from Sargodha. The mission was led by Wing Commander Hakimullah with Flight Lieutenants Najeeb Akhtar, Hameed Malik and Hasnat as his team members. The pilot's account, gun camera films and subsequent ground reconnaissance was used by the artist to recreate this scene of destruction.
CLUSTER BOMBING BY MIRAGES

The French Mirages are high-speed, all weather, delta wing, long range fighter-bombers which can also be employed in the interceptor role. The Mirages entered service with the PAF in 1968. In the 1971 War, these aircraft were effectively used for day and night air defence as well as offensive roles. The Mirage has a maximum speed of Mach 2.2 and a service ceiling of 54,000 feet. The painting shows PAF Mirages releasing cluster bombs during a low level attack.

JOINT SERVICES OPERATION
15 APRIL 1971 - BHAIRAB BAZAR, EAST PAKISTAN


This was a joint services operation carried out at Bhairab Bazar where the largest and the only leftover reserves of food grain were preserved in the silos. The silos were located at the bank of the river and were occupied by the Indian infiltrators. The storage was recaptured after a well coordinated attack by the three forces. The Pak Navy brought the army troops in the small makeshift boats, mostly with outboard engines and fitted with machine guns. (The larger boats could not operate in this area because of the shallow water). The F-86s from No 14 Squadron Dhaka strafed and rocketed the strong hold of the enemy, while the army moved forward. The army heliborne contingent was led by the late Brigadier Tariq Mehmood, affectionately known as "T. M.", who was then a Major.

Mission Leader:
Squadron Leader Abbas Khattak
No. 2: Flight Lieutenant Khalid Mehmood Khalid
No. 3: Flying Officer Shafqat Mehmood
No. 4: Flying Officer Qazi Javed

NO 19 SQUADRON OVER THE KARACHI COAST
NOVEMBER 1971

Three F-86Es returning to their home base at Masroor after a training flight.

BATTLE OF TEJGAON
4 DECEMBER 1971 - DHAKA

The painting depicts Flying Officer M Shamsul Haq destroying one of the 4 SU-7s attacking Tejgaon airfield with his wing man Flying Officer Shamshad giving chase to a second SU-7. This is the beginning lof the greatest air battle of the day - led by Flying Officer Shams with the very young but spirited Flying Officer Shamshad on his wing immediately after they were scrambled at 0845. just as their wheels were locking up, 2 of a flight of 4 approaching SU7s fired their rockets at the F-86s, which were barely 200 ft above the trees. Shams broke into them and shot down one of the nearer pair of Sukhois with a Sidewinder, cheered by the squadron airmen watching from below. The remaining SU-7s turned tail but seconds later, Shams and Shamshad were directed by the Controller towards 4 approaching IAF Hunters. In the ensuing air battle, both pilots downed a Hunter each with their guns. Shamshad then returned to land but Shams spotted another Hunter over Tejgaon and fired his second Sidewinder at such close range that before its guidance system could take over, themissile streaked straight into the Hunter's tail pipe and blew up the engine. The Indian pilot's descent by parachute was in full view of many ground observers around the airfield. But now Shams, who had no ammunition left, was in trouble; he was suddenly surrounded by 4 Mig-21s which began to attack him in turn, driving him into a tight corner. The quick-thinking Shams immediately whipped into a max-rate steep turn at treetop height, with the Dhaka TV tower in the centre of it, jinking wildly as he turned. The Migs' attack pattern was effectively disrupted and, short of fuel, they soon exited the scene.

LOW LEVEL COMBAT OVER PESHAWAR
1032 HOURS, 4 DECEMBER 1971

Flight Lieutenant Salim Beg Mirza of No 26 Squadron destroys an IAF Hunter near Pimple Hill, west of the Peshawar runway. The Indian pilot did not survive.

F-6 Vs SU-7
1145 HOURS, 4 DECEMBER 1971

Flight Lieutenant Javed Latif destroys an IAF SU-7 over the railway line near Faisalabad. In the background is Flying Officer Riffat Munir, giving a chase to another SU-7. The F-6s belonged to No 23 Squadron deployed at Risalewala during the war.

PHOTO STRIKE AT PATHANKOT
1445 HOURS, 4 DECEMBER 1971

The 1971 India-Pakistan War in the West began on 3 December 1971 and Pathankot airfield, located at the junction of Punjab and Kashmir, became the lynch-pin for all crucial land and air operations. It was bombed and pinned down by the PAF Mirage aircraft during the day and by the B-57s at night. The painting shows Pathankot airfield camouflaged with nets and camouflage paint, due to which the details merged very well with the surrounding terrain and were difficult to spot from the iisual distance by an attacking pilot. Here Squadron Leader Farooq Umer is manoeuvring and aligning his Mirage fighter recce aircraft to photograph this heavily defended IAF airfield after an earlier air strike by the PAF. Visible at the beginning of the runway are two Indian aircraft burning on the main runway. Clearly visible on the parallel taxi tracks (on the left of the main Runway) are three grey patches indicating the points at which the taxi track has been freshly repaired, to recover from the damage caused by PAF strikes of the previous day.

THE LAST ENCOUNTER
1612 HOURS, 4 DECEMBER 1971 - DHAKA

Squadron Leader Dilawar destroys a Hunter over Dhaka in the last air battle in East Pakistan. Next day, Tejgaon airfield seen in the background would be destroyed completely by enemy bombers thus ending the heroic stand against overwhelming odds by No 14 Squadron.

Today the squadron flies the F-7s and proudly displays the battle honours of 'Kalaikunda 1965' and 'Dacca 1971' inscribed on its Squadron Colour. Far greater honours may lie in the future for No 14 Squadron but the unforgettable epic of its handful of audacious warriors - rising repeatedly from Tejgaon runway to challenge an enemy who outnumbered them 10 to 1 - shall remain enshrined in its history for all times to come.

A DARING AIR RESCUE NEAR DHAKA
1625 HOURS, 4 DECEMBER 1971

Flight Lieutenant Sajjaad Noor being rescued after ejecting from his disabled F-86 during the last dog-fight of No. 14 Squadrons over Dhaka. Noor had parachuted down across river Buri Ganga, close to an Indian Army unit that was advancing toward Dhaka. An Alouette helicopter was immediately airborne and the downed pilot was picked up in a daring rescue - in which PAF ground combatteres fire with the enemy troops that were trying to capture Noor.

Helicopter Pilots:
Squadrons Leader Sultan Khan
Flight Lieutenant Hamid Masood

On Board Guards:
Airmen of the GC Wing, Dhaka

SUNSET ENCOUNTER
1705 HOURS, 4 DECEMBER 1971

A Mianwali F-6 meets an IAF Hunter at dusk over lake Khabakki near Sakesar. The Hunter was gunned down, its pilot ejected and was taken POW. The F-6 was piloted by Flight Lieutenant Qazi Javed.

DEATH IN THE SOAN VALLEY
1230 HOURS, 5 DECEMBER 1971

On the bright winter morning of the third day of war in the west, Wing Commander Saad Hatmi led a pair of F-6s from No 25 Squadron that was scrambled on an air defence mission. Vectored onto two intruders from Pathankot Air Base, Hatmi and Flight Lieutenant Shahid Raza intercepted the Hunters in the Soan valley near Sakesar hills. In the low level high 'g' combat, the Sidewinders fitted to the F-6s would have been useless, and Hatmi and Raza, using their 30 millimetre cannons instead, shot down the two Hunters. None of the two Hunter pilots, Flight Lieutenant G.S. Rai and K.L. Malkani survived. Both belonged to No 27 Squadron of the IAF. This aerial encounter was conducted from Kala Kahar radar by Flight Lieutenant Zarrar Shafique Sheikh.

ATTACK ON OKHA
2244 HOURS, 5 DECEMBER 1971

On the night of 4 December 1971, Indian Osa missile boats attacked the Pakistan Navy, hitting a destroyer and a minesweeper southeast of Karachi. The menace of Indian missile boats was a very serious threat not only to the Navy but also to other Pakistani ships in the Arabian Sea and in the Karachi harbour. Pakistan retaliated by causing extensive damage through a single B-57 attack on Okha naval base in India. The bombs scored direct hit on fuel dumps, ammunition dump and the missile boats jetty. The missile boat attacks on Pakistani naval installations ceased thereafter.

Pilot:
Flight Lieutenant Shabbir A Khan

Navigator:
Flight Lieutenant Ansar

NIGHT BOMBING ON A DAYLIGHT RAID
1200 HOURS, 7 DECEMBER 1971 - CHOR

The painting shows the two-seat B-57C bomber trainer (No 846) of No 7 Squadron on a daylight raid against the Indian Army units massing up along the Khokrapar-Chor railway line leading into Hyderabad. Affectionately nicknamed "Baba"', the B-57 followed its bombing attacks by several strafing runs on the freight wagons lined up below. "Baba" and its two F-86 escorts from No 19 Squadron (top left) stayed over the target for over 30 minutes. A series of such missions from Masroor Air Force Base forced the enemy to abandon its planned offensive.

B-57 Aircrew:
Flight Lieutenant Shabbir A Khan (Pilot)
Squadron Leader Shoaib Alam Khan (Navigator)

F-86 Escorts:
Flight Lieutenant Mushtaq A Laghari (Leader)
Flight Lieutenant Khalid Mehmood Khalid (No 2)

SU-7 GOES DOWN NEAR FAISLABAD
1425 HOURS, 8 DECEMBER 1971 - NEAR RISALEWALA AIR BASE

Over the village of Khalspur - twelve miles southeast of the PAF's Risalewala Air Base - an SU-7 of the IAF explodes under a Sidewinder impact. The SU- pilot, Flight Lieutenant Ramesh Gulabrao Kadam of the IAF's Tactics and Combat Development Establishment did not survive. In the pursuing F-6 is Wing Commander Sayyed Manzoor-u-Hassan Hashmi, the Commander of No. 23 Squadron. Squadron Leader Samiullah Khan conducted this low-level interception from Kirana radar.

MIRAGES STRIKE PATHANKOT
1050 HOURS, 10 DECEMBER 1971

Mirages from 5 Squadron Sargodha strike IAF Base Pathankot. Apart from the damage inflicted in the technical area by the bombing runs of the formation, the leader Squadron Leader Akhtar Rao (seen in the foreground pulling away after firing his guns) also destroyed two Hunters lining up for take off.

Escorts:
Squadron Leader Aftab Alam
Squadron Leader Arif Manzoor

Strike Force:
Squadron Leader Akhtar Rao (Leader)
Flight Lieutenant Shafique Haider
Flight Lieutenant Farooq Zapata
Flight Lieutenant Hameed Malik

STARFIGHTERS STRIKE UTTERLAI
11 DECEMBER 1971

Two F-104 Starfighters flown by Wing Commander Arif lqbal and Squadron Leader Amanullah are seen carrying out a surprise attack on an IAF desert base at Utterlai. An IAF HF-24 fighter is seen destroyed on the taxi track, after a gun attack by Squadron Leader Amanullah. The second of the two HF-24s, scrambled to intercept the starfighters, was shot up by Wing Commander Arif Iqbal, also by gun attack.

DESERT STRIKES IN THE SOUTH
1210 HOURS, 13 DECEMBER 1971 - UMARKOT AREA

Preparing to launch a piercing attack towards Hyderabad, the Indian Army was stopped in its tracks astride the KhokraparChor railway line. The air campaign involved several missions and a mix of combat aircraft from Masroor Air Base. The painting shows one of these missions that employed 5 F-86s and 4 T-33s. It was led by Group Captain Wiqar Azim seen here in the F-86. At some distance are the T-33s that were led by Wing Commander Asghar Randhawa. The lone escort was flown by Flight Lieutenant Kamran Qureshi.

F-86F DOWNS A GNAT OVER SRINAGAR
0815 HOURS, 14 DECEMBER 1971

The pilot of the Gnat going down in flames, Flying Officer Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon, was posthumously given the Param Vir Chakra, India"s highest gallantry award. Nirmaljit had taken off behind his group from Srinagar (in the background) to intercept the approaching air strike of four F-86s with two escorts. Before being shot down with a gun burst by Flight Lieutenant Salim Beg Mirza (leader of the escort F-86 pair), Nirmaljit was claimed by the IAF to have scored hits on two of the six F-86s but in fact all of them had returned to Peshawar without a scratch. The painting shows Salim and his wingman in the foreground. Two of the four strike F-86s can be seen at a distance, attacking their targets at the Srinagar air base, through the bursting ack ack shells.

Strike Element:
Wing Commander S A Changezi
Flying Officer H K Dhotani
Flying Officer Amjad Endrabi
Flying Officer Maroof Mir

Escorts:
Flight Lieutenant Salim Beg Mirza
Flying Officer Rahirn Yousefzai

F-6 STRIKES ARMOUR

During a major assault in the Shakargarh area on 14 December 1971, PAF fighters were called in for air support. The painting shows one of the supporting F-6s bearing down on enemy armour, while another one has just pulled off. The aircraft belonged to No 23 Squadron. Apart from being effective in the air defence role, the F-6s (introduced into the PAF in 1966) provided valuable air support to Pak Army in the 1971 War.

MIG-19 OUTFIGHTS THE MIG-21
1120 HOURS, 14 DECEMBER 1971 - SHAKARGARH

A flight of F-6s (Chinese built Mig-19s) from No 11 Squadron was on a search and destroy mission over the Shakargarh salient when Flight Lieutenant Aamer Ali Sharieff spotted four manoeuvring Mig-21s, much superior in performance to Aamer's F-6. Quickly sliding into the blind zone of the trailing Mig-21, Aamer launched his Sidewinder. The Mig-21 burst into flames and crashed.

DESERT ENCOUNTER
15 DECEMBER 1971

F-86E of No 19 Squadron Masroor, gets behind an IAF Hunter in the Thar desert. Within a few seconds the Hunter went down in flames.

Pilot: Flight Lieutenant Farooq Qari

SABRE TAKES A SUPERIOR AIRCRAFT
1145 HOURS, 17 DECEMBER 1971

The last aerial encounter of 1971 War turned out to be a dog-fight between a supersonic MiG-21 and the relatively slow and much older F-86 Sabre. The F-86 flown by Flight Lieutenant Maqsood, Amir emerged as the victor and the Indian Mig-21 pilot Flight Lieutenant Tejwant Singh who ejected after being hit, was taken prisoner. Squadron Leader Rab Nawaz was the Radar Controller for this interception.

THE STARFIGHTER'S FAREWELL FLIGHT
MASROOR AIR BASE - 21 JUNE 1972

After eleven years of eventful service, a pair of No 9 Squadron's F-104As lifts off the Masroor runway to mark the Lockhead Starfighter's last mission in the PAF. The F-104's life in the PAF was cut short by the United States Government's "even-handed" arms embargo on both Pakistan and India after the 1965 and 1971 wars. Washington chose to ignore the fact that India, a long-time ally of the Soviet Union throughout the Cold War, did not posses any American military equipment and the sanctions thus exclusively penalised the armed forces of Pakistan. In the face of increasing difficulty in obtaining spares, the PAF finally decided in mid-1972 to phase out the Starfighters. The PAF's F-104s were somewhat unique. While being the lightest among the Starfighters in combat configuration, the more powerful J-79-11A engines gave them additional manoeuvre energy. The 20mm Gatling gun, retrofitted to the PAF's F-104s by specific request, also added to the fighter's combat effectiveness. Many heavyhearted airmen and officers of No 9 Squadron witnessed the farewell flight, some of them having served in the unit through two wars. Among the squadron's veteran pilots were the two took up the Starfighters for the last time.

Leader: Squadron Leader M Amanullah
Wingman: Flight Lieutenant Abbas H Mirza

"THE TIGERS" WING OVER
SARGODHA AIR BASE - 11 FEBRUARY 1980

The second formation aerobatic team on the F-6 (MiG-19) fighters of the PAF was called "The Tigers". Like its predecessors "The Rattlers" (1969), the second team was also formed at Sargodha Air Base. The F-6 was a high energy fighter of its time on which formation aerobatic displays were especially demanding because the F-6 needed skillful piloting during low airspeed manoeuvres. The first official display by "The Tigers" was given at Sargodha Air Base before a visiting foreign defence delegation.

The Team:
Leader: Squadron Leader Hasnat Ahmed
Right Wing: Squadron Leader Imtiaz Ali Khan
Left Wing: Squadron Leader Tahir Ahmed
Slot: Flight Lieutenant Nazar Hussain
Reserve: Flight Lieutenant Abdul Razzaq

 
 
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