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PAF s' Squadrons

No. 19 Squadron History: 1947-1982

The squadron was formed on 1st February, 1958 under the command of Flt. Lt. S. A. Rafiqui with twelve aircraft, but started active training with Sqn. Ldr. Amanullah Khan as its Commander. In 1962, with Sqn. Ldr. Wiqar Azim as O.C., the squadron took part in the Perry Keene Armament Competition from 25th February to 2nd March and won first position among the competing F-86 squadrons. In Dacca a flight of three F-86 aircraft led by Sqn. Ldr. Wiqar Azim took part in Republic Day fly-past on 23rd March, 1963. For the first time jet aircraft participated in such a ceremony in the Eastern Wing. In October, 1964 the squadron moved to Peshawar and a year later participated in the September, 1965 war with India. In June, 1967 the squadron moved to Masroor base and later participated in the 1971 war. On 10th November, 1972 it was allotted the role of Fighter Leader School, and in May, 1977 it was designated No. 19 Air Superiority Squadron and located at Sargodha base with F-6 aircraft on its inventory.

Role in the two wars:

The squadron took active part in the war operations from 6th to 23rd September, 1965. While located at Peshawar, it carried out the first close air support (Wagah) and the first strike (Pathankot) mission. Successful strikes were launched on Srinagar airfield on 7th and 14th September, and regular close support missions were carried out in the Sialkot sector from 7th to 22nd September, 1965. The squadron destroyed 14 aircraft, 74 tanks, 140 vehicles (including armoured vehicles) and 16 guns, and damaged 16 aircraft, 68 tanks, 128 vehicles and 27 guns. It also slightly damaged the Jammu Radar. The squadron did not lose any aircraft or pilot throughout the operations. Its Commander, Sqn. Ldr. S. S. Haider was awarded Sitara-i-Jurat.

In December, 1971 war the squadron was initially given day air defence and close support of southern sector, but during actual conflict it performed night A.D.A. (after duty alert), C.A.S. (close air support) for the Army and C.A.S. for the Navy. The squadron pilots operated from forward air bases in the southern sector. A significant factor was the introduction of F-86E aircraft in the squadron. The F-86E was mainly used for close air support to supplement the F-86F. These aircraft were introduced very late and were not in combat ready state, mainly because of the defects in the fire control system. The sights and guns were not harmonized, and due to the unserviceability of auxillary services such as radio and armament, there occured a large number of ground and air miscarriages. F-86F was flown with unwanted external attachment causing unnecessary drag. Day air defence of southern sector was, however successful and all close air support missions were very effective, especially in Rajasthan sector, though a number of close air support missions failed due to poor forward air control and lack of information by the Army. In fact, most of the Indian Army who in turn sent C.A.S. requests for the same targets. It was experienced that during close air support missions procedures were not followed and short cuts were resorted to. The communication between aircraft and Forward Air Controller was thus seldom established. The R/T range was hardly five miles.

The squadron destroyed two enemy Hunter aircraft and one MI-4 helicopter; one Hunter was damaged. In addition, eight enemy tanks and many military transport vehicles were destroyed in close air support missions; two enemy trains were set ablaze. During combat with Hunters after take off from forward air bases, Flying Officer Naseem Nisar Ali lost his life. He was awarded Tamgha-i-Jurat (posthumous) in July, 1972.

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