Defence Day Air show 2015 – Fatima Jinnah Park Islamabad

To celebrate 50th anniversary of Pakistani armed forces victory of 1956 war, an  airshow was organised at  Fatima Jinnah Park, F-9, Islamabad. The day reminds us of professionalism and bravery of Pakistani soldiers to decimate enemy’s monstrous forces.

PAF in particular ensured air guards of Pakistani frontiers and despatched the enemy forces back from where they had come. The day also reminds us of those who went on missions – never to return.

F-9 Park airshow Summary:

1130hrs:  High Speed Run by Mirage-III
1132hrs: Super Mushshak aerobatics
1139hrs: Sherdils display
1148hrs: JF-17 Thunder, 26 Sqn
1155hrs: F-16 MLU, 9 Sqn
1202hrs: AS350 Écureuil aerobatics (Pak Army)                                                                                                                            [ All photos credits: Abid Khan]

C-130 & Alouette

No.6 Sqn C-130 (Callsign “Stranger12”) provided air surveillance of venue prior to the airshow. The aircraft was seen flying at altitude of 9000-10,000 ft. Alouette-III from Search-And-Rescue unit provided Metro-logical support.

Mirages Sonic Boom

Two low-level flying Mirage-IIIEL aircraft kicked off the airshow with a massive sonic boom followed by vertical High-G maneuver polished by released of flares. Both aircraft took the audience by surprise & faded away in less than 15 seconds.



Super MushshakSuper Mushshak (Serial # 97-6394) of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex showed its potential & maneuvering skills. PAC has exhibited the aircraft in various airshows in Middle East in the past; recently it participated in Bucharest International Air Show (BIAS) in Romania in June. The aircraft has cruising speed of 130kts (240km/hr) and comes with internationally reputed Dyon and Garmin cockpit instrumentation technology. Mushshak can carry weapons / bombs on six external stations and can also perform border patrol duties.

Sherdils - K-8 9- Sherdils from PAF Academy Risalpur brought colours to the airshow. The team showed their precise flying, sharp reflexes and exceptional piloting skills in maneuvering the aircraft in close formations. The team’s menu remained the same since its inception in 1974 i.e. line astern to diamond formation during a loop, then clover-leaf, steep turn, barrel roll and finally, the breath-taking bomb-burst. In Sherdils, 6 aircraft perform where as three aircraft perform the initial run-in and break-off in a linear bomburst over the venue.

JF-17 Thunder - Pakistan's PridePakistan’s pride JF-17 Thunder (Serial # 09-111) flown by O/C 26 MR Sqn brought the WoW factor  to the airshow. The aircraft flew various fast passes, slow passes, fast rolls and inverted roll in its 7-min performance.

JF-17 Thunder has been inducted in 3 combat squadrons of PAF, with a 4th unit gearing up to receive this aircraft. The success of Pak-China JF-17 Thunder has brought an affordable Multi-Role combat aircraft not only to PAF but to many Middle Eastern & Asia countries who are looking for replacement of their combat fleet with state-of-the-art fighter aircraft. Recently Myanmar has signed at deal for purchase of one squadron of this aircraft.

F-16 Fighting FalconThe legendary F-16 Fighting Falcon flown by O/C No.9 MR Sqn stole the airshow with its breathtaking performance. The pilot exhibited aircraft’s maneuverability in tight turns, slow-speed pass. On the peak of display, the aircraft comes down to low level and performed max-performance turn…taking Islamabad by a storm!


As-350 Ecuriel, PAAFollowed by PAF performances were  AS350 Écureuil aerobatics of Pak Army Aviation wing and flight of Special Services Group (SSG) commandoes hanging from slings with AS-332 Super Puma aircraft. Motor-glider flight by PAF Academy Risalpur and para-trooping by special forces units of all three forces dropped from C-130 aircraft at about 10,000 ft brought more colours to the airshow.

( Click on photos to enlarge )

AS-332, PAA & SSGF-16 Fighting Falcon Super Mushshak, PAC Super Mushshak, PAC

Sherdils - K-8  Sherdils - K-8 Sherdils - K-8

Sherdils - K-8Sherdils - K-8 Sherdils - K-8 Sherdils - K-8

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Shahbaz Falcons – Part 2/2

Pictures from PAF’s No.5 MR Sqn from Shahbaz Air Base, Jacobabad.

Part-1 here


F-16D Block52 Pakistan Air Force

F-16D passing by scare crow planted  for flight safety reasons on Shahbaz runway. A part from such conventional scare crows  PAF has also employed sharp shooter men (equipped with rifles) to keep birds away from the air field.

F-16D Block52 Pakistan Air Force

F-16D Block52 powered by F100-PW-229 turbofan engine capable of producing of 29,100 lb (129.4 kN) thrust on full augmentation.

F-16D Block52 Pakistan Air Force

F-16D Block52 Pakistan Air Force A No.5 Sqn pilot goes over his checklist prior to takeoff with F-16D block 52. F-16 Block52s are force multiplier platform for PAF and are equipped with array of air-air and air-ground munitions.

F-16D Block52 Pakistan Air Force

A F-16 pilot gestures ‘Thumbs Up’ to ground crew as he prepares for take off. The pilot is wearing Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System( JHMCS).

F-16D Block52 Pakistan Air Force

Falcons formation preparing for takeoff from Shahbaz Air Base.

F-16D Block52 Pakistan Air Force



F-16 Block 52 head on shot, showing Advance Identification of Friend or Foe (AIFF) antennas mounted on the upper forward fuselage in front of the canopy.

F-16D Block52 Pakistan Air Force


Blast from the past: PAF F-16 Shoot down IAF UAV – 7 June 2002

Exactly 12 years ago, the same day an F-16B Sr# 83-605 from No.9 MultiRole Sqn shot down Indian Air Force Searcher-II UAV near Lahore. The Indian AF UAV was on a spying mission over Lahore. Such mission was of vital importance to Indian AF as both sides were in high tension on border and gathering any information behind enemy lines may have been game changer.

During the Operational Sentinel, which lasted from December 2001 to end October 2002, PAF remained high alert and distributed its fighting elements across various Forward Operating Air Bases (FOBs) and air fields and conducted Combat Air Patrol (CAP) missions across Pakistan.

During one similar CAP mission, two IAF UAVs were spotted near Lahore, both bogies took off from airfield in Jammu. Hot scramble was initiated from two locations Rafiqui Air Base, Shorkot and Minhas Air Base, Kamra. In the initial scramble by two Mirages and two F-7s; Searcher-II drones with low-radar and low-visual/IR signal were not spotted. Later an F-16B spotted the low level flying UAV at about at 13,000 ft. Sqn Ldr Zulfiqar Ayub and Sqn Ldr Afzal Aman flying in the F-16 opted for AIM-9L heat seeking missile for the kill. The wreckage fell off at the Dogran Kalan village, South-West of Lahore.

According to ACM Mushaf Ali Mir, CAS PAF’s statement ” The UAV was spotted by the mobile observation units when it crossed into Pakistani territory and was immediately gunned down.” 

Today the wreckage of this UAV is placed outside No.9 Sqn Office and Mushaf Air Base, Sargodha history museum marking a unique encounter of a supersonic fighter aircraft with UAV.


Wreckage of Indian Air Force UAV placed in a C-130 hangar at PAF base PAF Chakala on 10th June,2002 for press conference.

Wreckage of IAF UAV showing marking of Isreali Aircraft Industries. The UAV was wearing no-marking, and was believed to be put in service with Indian AF in a 'hurry'.

Wreckage of IAF UAV showing marking of Isreali Aircraft Industries. The UAV was wearing no-marking, and was believed to be put in service with Indian AF in a ‘hurry’.

Wng Cdr(then Sqn Ldr) 'sidewinder'  Zulfiqar shot down IAF UAV du

Wng Cdr(then Sqn Ldr) ‘Sidewinder’ Zulfiqar; the pilot who shot down IAF UAV on that Night.

File photo of F-16B Sr # 83605 parked in shade during an Multi-national Exercise with Turkish Air Force.

File photo of F-16B Sr # 83605 (the aircraft that shot down UAV) seen parked in shade during an Multi-national Exercise with Turkish Air Force.

Shahbaz Falcons – Part 1/2

Pictures of PAF F-16 Block-52 aircraft preparing for Air-Air combat training flight from Shahbaz Air Base.

The aircraft are equipped with AIM-9M Sidewinder missile, AMD pod and Sniper Advance Targeting pod.

Sniper pod is used both for tracking of both air and ground targets.

F-16D Block52 Pakistan Air Force  F-16D Block52 Pakistan Air Force  F-16D Block52 Pakistan Air Force  F-16D Block52 Pakistan Air Force


F-16D Block52 Pakistan Air Force F-16D Block52 Pakistan Air Force

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F-16 Block52 induction ceremony fly past

No.5 Sqn ‘Falcons’ Ex-RAAF Mirage IIIDF being escorted by F-16 Block-52 aircraft  during its farewell fly past on 10 March, 2011. The same day; No.5 Sqn was re-equipped with newly inducted state-of-the-art F-16 C/D Block 52+ aircraft. General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Chief of the Army Staff, Pakistan Army was the Chief Guest on the occasion. Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force also attended the ceremony along with other senior civil and military officials.

No. 5 Sqn was raised on August 15, 1947 and it is PAF’s second oldest fighter squadron. Mirage; the delta winged fighter aircraft, was inducted in the unit in 1967 and remained in service for over 43 years. No. 5 Sqn kept flying Mirage-IIIEA/DA/EP/RP and Mirage-VDR variants for years. Keeping so many Mirage types  operational was a difficult task for the engineering team.

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PAF’s Shahbaz Air Base in 2012

PAF Air Base (AB) Shahbaz, Jacobabad is the new home of F-16s. The air base was expanded in late 2009/early2010 to accommodate the newly procured F-16 Block52 aircraft. Today Shahbaz AB has an operational F-16 C/D Block-52 squadron and a Mi-171 Search And Rescue (SAR) squadron.  The F-16  A/B Block-15 aircraft which are undergoing Mid Life Update (MLU) are also placed at Shahbaz.

Officers of the No.39th Wing at Shahbaz AB  along with their aircraft.

Officers of the No.39th Wing at Shahbaz AB along with their aircraft.

Falcons engineering team with F-16 Block-52 and F-16 Mid Life Update (MLU) aircraft.

Falcons engineering team with F-16 Block-52 and F-16 Mid Life Update (MLU) aircraft.

No.5 Multi Role Sqn operates 18 F-16C/D Block-52 aircraft.

No.5 Multi Role Sqn operates 18 F-16C/D Block-52 aircraft.


PAF is modernizing its fleet of 45 F-16 A/B Block-15 to Block50 standard with the help of Turkish Aircraft Industries (TAI), Turkey. Seen above is one of the five F-16 MLU currently operated by PAF. Later this year, four more F-16 MLU are scheduled to be delivered to PAF. F-16 MLU has AN/APG-68 V(9) Multimode radar which gives its “six on six” pylon AIM-120 AMRAAM carrying capability.

8th Pakistani F-16 pilot joins 2000hrs club

In March/April 2012, Wg Cdr Ghazanfar Latif (then OC No.5 Sqn) reached the unique milestone of becoming the 8th Pakistan Air Force F-16 pilot to complete 2000hrs. Wg Cdr Ghazanfar has been flying   F-16s since 1996 and apart from participating in domestic  exercises & operational deployments. He has also actively participated in several multinational exercises for PAF that include Exercise Anatolian Eagle 2004 (Turkey), Indus Viper 2008 (Pakistan) and Falcon Talon 2009 (Pakistan).

PAF has been operating F-16s since January 1983 and since then hundreds of thousands of flying hours have been accumulated by the Pakistani pilots. Over fifty PAF pilots have surpassed the 1000hrs benchmark.

Wng Cdr Ghazanfar 2000hrs F-16

June 26, 2010: Wg Cdr Ghazanfar Latif poses for the camera after ferrying first ever F-16 Block-52 aircraft from U.S to Pakistan. He also led the team that ferried MLU F-16s from Turkey in Feb 2012. PAF’s fleet of F-16A/B Block-15 are undergoing MLU at Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), Turkey which are expected to be completed by 2014.

F-16 Fighting Falcon 2000hrs patch

Lockheed Martin Corp. delivers the specially designed F-16 2000-hour patch to the pilots of recipient Air Forces.

Maintenance Programs of Pakistani Falcons

Pakistan Air Force (PAF) inducted F-16 Fighting Falcon in January 1983. This provided a quantum leap to the PAF. It was PAF’s first experience of handling such a modern day fighter aircraft. From 1986 to 1988 F-16s participated in air defence missions carried out in Afghan War (1979-1988). F-16s played a vital role in guarding the western borders of Pakistan from Soviet/Afghan intruding aircraft. During the war PAF flew a total of 10,939 sorties and logged 13,275 hours.
This extreme usage of F-16s in the start of its career raised serious questions about its service life in coming decades. PAF went for development of in-house facilities for maintenance and overhaul of F-16 components. A F-16 Upgrade Cell was established at Sargodha Air Base. This cell was capable of performing depot level structural and avionics related modifications in the F-16s. These modifications include Operational Capability Upgrade (OCU), 479 Bulk Head Replacement Module and Wing box modifications.
In 1989, Mirage Rebuild Factory (MRF) at Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), Kamra was assigned the task of overhauling the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-200 turbofan engine that powers the F-16 fleet in PAF service. The F-16’s structural modifications were made in engine, fuselage, ailerons and flaps. These structural modifications were a part of its type extension program. Reinforcement plates were also added on the fuselage to strengthen the structural integrity of the F-16s, thus extending its service life.
MRF has also upgraded the F100 engine from 200 to 220E configuration. The -220Econfiguration provides better performance and greater reliability. Up to 26 modifications were made in F-100 engines modules including fan, engine core, fuel nozzles, gearbox, high pressure turbine…etc
Improvement in the service life of various F-100 modules is as follows:

Fan Module 1800-4000 Hours
Core Module 4000 Hours
 Turbine 3500 Hours
Augmentor Module 4000 Hours
Gearbox Module 4000 Hours

The repair, up-gradation and overhaul of F-100 Engine, replacement of wing and fuselage fuel cells are also carried out by MRF. MRF has been certified for aircraft painting and de-painting as well.The F-16’s avionics, structuraland engine related modifications allowed the PAF to maintain a high level of readiness despite U.S. sanctions and arms embargo from the West and did not hamper the operational preparedness of the fighting force during both times of peace and war.
Over the years,F-16s have participated in various multinational exercises around the globe. The devoted ground crew has always ensured the combat ready status of these falcons. F-16s participation in counter insurgency operations in Global War on Terror are the recent example of their combat record.

In June 2009, PAF, Lockheed Martin and United States Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) signed a contract of Mid Life Update (MLU) of these F-16s. Under this program, TAI will upgrade 41 F-16 A/B Block-15E aircraft at the TAI facility in Ankara, Turkey. It will also provide training to PAF technicians and engineers on MLU F-16s. After getting the MLU, these aircraft will be a mainstay aircraft in PAF for at least two decades. PAF will use these modified F-16s as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen the defence of Pakistan.

A F-16B with structural reinforcement plate visible on its fuselage. Inset is close up of a structural reinforcement plate.

A F-16 fuselage without structural reinforcement plates.

F100-PW-220/-220E Cutaway View (Newest Configuration) [P&W graphic]

F-100 engine undergoing testing.

Engineers working on F-100 power plant at MRF facility. The F-100 modules repair/overhaul consists of Inlet Fan Module (IF), Fan Drive Turbine (FDT) Module, Core Module, Gearbox Module, and High Pressure Turbine Module (HPT).

F-16A undergoing painting at aircraft painting facility, MRF.

An example of neat paint job done.