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PAF s' Squadrons

No. 8 Squadron History: 1948-1988

The B-57 light bomber wing of the PAF - No 31 - was established in May 1960 with Nos. 7 and 8 Squadrons at PAF Station, Mauripur (Masroor). No. 8 Squadron was raised in August 1960 with Squadron Leader Muhammad lqbal as its first officer commanding. He saw the squadron through its infancy and was succeeded by Squadron Leader Saeed A Ansari in November 1963. On 27 October 1964, the squadron became the first in the world to form a regular formation aerobatics team of 4 bombers which coolly performed loops in full view of disbelieving spectators.

Squadron Leader Rais A Rafi succeeded Squadron Leader Ansari in October 1964 and remained in command till April 1968. It was thus during his tenure that this squadron saw action in the 1965 war with India. During the war the squadron carried out counter air operations against enemy airfields at Jamnagar and jodhpur in the south and Ambala, Adampur, Halwara and Pathankot in the north. The squadron also carried out daring day and night close support missions in the Shakargarh sector. During most of the night strikes the squadron flew in single aircraft stream raids at low level. In the attack phase, the aircraft were pulled up for bomb delivery from multiple diving attacks. The squadron followed this attack mode despite much greater exposure to ground fire because it ensured the best probability of killing their targets. During one of these missions Squadron Leaders Alam Siddiqui and Aslarn Qureshi - pilot and navigator - were killed in action.

After the war, the squadron was awarded two Sitara-i-Juraats and eleven Imtiazi Sanads. for the gallantry and dedication of its crews during operations.

In the post-1965 period the squadron trained hard to achieve even higher standards in the light of lessons learned during the war. The unit was number-plated on 1 May 1970, and its assets amalgamated with those of No. 7 Squadron. This became necessary because of dwindling spares support following the American arms embargo.

In May 1982, the squadron was reactivated at PAF Base, Masroor with Mirage-V aircraft under the command of Wing Commander Khalid A. Sattar. The re-equipment ceremony was presided over by the Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Tariq Kamal Khan. In March 1986, No. 8 Squadron won the award for the best formation in the Pakistan Day fly past.

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