The PAF’s air defence system made a modest start in the early-50s with the induction of British Morconi Type 13 and 14 radars. Two Sector Operations Centres (SOCs) were also established during the decade, the first one at Korangi Creek and other at Sargodha. In the mid-50s, No 1 Group used to exercise operational control over these air defence elements while a Deputy Director Operations (Control and Reporting) was established at Air Head quarters for policy formulation.
After the disbandment of No. 1 Group, an Air Defence Headquarter (ADHQ) was formed on 1 June 1961 and was located within the premises of Air Headquarter, Peshawar. For the next five years, the ADHQ exercised operational control over all the air defence units of the PAF.
As the result of a major post-war reorganization in the 1966, an Operations Command was established again at Peshawar, to direct all operational activities of the PAF including air defence. However, over a period of time it gradually became involved in policy functions as well which created a duplication – and control between Air Headquarters and Ops Command. To overcome these organizational and functional problems, it was decided to bifurcate Ops Command in 1970. All functions pertaining to tactical operations reverted to Air Headquarters’ operations branch and the Air Defence Headquarter was revived to exercise operational control over the air defence units.
In 1974, another review led to the creation of an independent command named Air Defence Command (ADC), whose permanent headquarters was located at Chaklala and its first air officer commanding, Air Vice Marshal Inam H Khan took over in September 1975. The Director of Air Defence in the Air Headquarters’ operation branch continued to formulate policy while the air defence command exercised functional and operational control over all air defence units. In due course, with the creation of regional air command from 1982 onwards, most of these controls passed to the respective regional air officers commanding, while air defence command monitored and coordinated overall air defence activity. In 1987, the post of the Director of Air Defence was upgraded to that of an Assistant Chief of Air Staff.