Zarrar Squadron Mirages

Mirages No.27 Zarrars Squadron 1

No.27 Sqn “Zarrar” is the youngest combat squadron of PAF made operational on April 19, 2007.

The squadron is equipped with Mirage-VEF and Mirage-IIIDP/Mirage-VDD (Dual seat) ROSE-III aircraft, capable to perform day-night offensive and counter offensive operations. The aircraft are equipped with Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) sensors,  Navigation and Attack System (NAS) and Night Vision Goggles capability.

No.27 Sqn has performed in two edition of Exercise Shaheen (Shaheen-I (2011) and Shaheen-III (2014)) with Chinese Air Force and in Exercise Al-Saqoor-II (2011) with Royal Saudi Air Force.

No.27 Sqn Aircraft inventory:

No.27 Sqn aircraft inventory includes mostly Mirage-VEF aircraft procured by PAF in 1996, which later undergone ROSE-III upgrade with the help of Sagem in early 2000s.

Mirage-VEF 96-728 734 745 746 747 748 749 750 752 757  (and few more air frames)
Mirage-VDD 04-001 004
Mirage-IIIDP 70-304

Mirages No.27 Zarrars Squadron 16 Mirages No.27 Zarrars Squadron 5 Mirages No.27 Zarrars Squadron 11 Mirages No.27 Zarrars Squadron 7
Photos of No.27 Sqn Mirages undergoing routine training flights.

Mirages No.27 Zarrars Squadron  6

 

Exercise Shaheen-I 2011

Exercise Shaheen-I (meaning “Falcon” in English) was the first version of this joint Pak-China air force exercise held in March 2011 at Rafiqui Air Base, Shorkot Pakistan.

PLAAF contingent comprising SU-27UBK Multirole fighters from 8th flight Academy (also known as “Agressors” ) participated in the exercise. The Exercise covered various air-to-air and air-to-ground combat scenarios. PAF’s Mirage-VEF, F-7PG and JF-17 also participated in Dis-similar Air Combat Training (DACT) missions with PLAAF Sukhois. exercise_shaheen-1_pakistan_air_force_china_plaaf_paf_pilots_01

exercise_shaheen-1_pakistan_air_force_china_plaaf_paf_pilots_04

exercise_shaheen-1_pakistan_air_force_china_plaaf_paf_su-27ubk_j-11_02

 

More Exercise Pictures Here.

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.

f-16_block52_pakistan_air_force_paf_induction_no_5_sqn_falcons_01 f-16_block52_pakistan_air_force_paf_induction_no_5_sqn_falcons_03

f-16_block52_pakistan_air_force_paf_induction_no_5_sqn_falcons_04 f-16_block52_pakistan_air_force_paf_induction_no_5_sqn_falcons_02

mirage_pakistan_air_force_paf_no_5_sqn_falcons_03 f-16_block52_pakistan_air_force_paf_induction_no_5_sqn_falcons_05

 

 

 

IL-78 Strategic Tanker and Transport aircraft in photo

Recently PAF has taken the delivery of fourth and last Il-78 Multi-Role Tanker and Transport(MRTT) aircraft. These aircraft are capable of refueling two aircraft at a time, and can carry up to 85,720 kg(188,977 lb) of fuel.  The details of its role in PAF was discussed in the previous article, this post will focus on its photos only.

Following pictures were taken during Exercise High Mark 2010. In this exercise air-refueling flight trails of IL-78 and Mirage-III aircraft were successfully conducted.

 

Delta Legacy

Pakistan Air Forces association with Mirages started after 1965 war when PAF air chief Nur Khan decided to induct a non-US delta winged fighter aircraft. Even after 44 years, PAF’ s adventure with Mirages is still on going. Following research article is written to shed some light about the contracts, types and current status of Mirages in PAF. The factors related to such long service will later be discussed in some other article.

Major Contracts:
• Blue Flash-I 1967/1968 :24 aircraft comprising 18 Mirage-IIIEP , 3 Mirage-IIIRP, 3 Mirage-IIIDP
• Blue Flash-II 1970 : 30 aircraft comprising 28 Mirage-VPA , 2 Mirage-IIIDP
• Blue Flash-III 1977 : 10 Mirage-IIIRP
• Blue Flash-IV 1978 : 32 aircraft comprising 30 Mirage-V PA2/3, 2 Mirage-VDPA2
• Blue Flash-V 1990 : 50 aircraft comprising 42 Mirage-IIIEA, 8 Mirage-IIIDA
• Blue Flash-VI 1996 : 39 aircraft comprising 33 Mirage-VEF, 6 Mirage-IIIDF

More contracts:
• In 2001/02, PAF acquired 10 Mirage-IIIs(9 Mirage-IIIEE and 1 Mirage-IIIDL) from Lebanon, which were stored since 1980s. All these aircraft have flown 300-600hrs and were the best option of PAF.

• In 2003, PAF purchased 12 Mirage-IIIEE and 1 Mirage-IIIDE from Spain. All of them were bought as spares for the operational Mirage fleet. None of them was made operational

• In 2004 PAF purchased good number of Mirages from Libya, which were stored for past 15 years. These aircraft have 400-600 hrs on the airframe, and were in pretty good condition.

PAF’ s shopping list included 4 Mirage-VDR ,6 Mirage-VDD, ,12 Mirage-VD and 25 Mirage-VDE. Only 14 of them were put into service after being overhauled at MRF, PAC Kamra. More Ex-Libyan Mirages were also sold to PAF in late 2007, all these were used as spare cannibalization.

Mirage Serial numbers:
The first two left digits in Serial number denote the fiscal year ordered in which aircraft was ordered.
i.e 96-785 means aircraft serial 785 ordered in year 1995
100 series – Mirage IIIEP (18 aircraft ordered 1967/1968 )
200 series – Mirage IIIRP (Ordered in 2 batches, 3 in 1968 and 10 in 1977)
300 series – Mirage IIID and Mirage VD (3 ordered in 1968, 3 in 1970 , 2 in 1979)
400 series – Mirage V (28 Mirage VPA in 1970, 30 Mirage VPA2/3 in 1979)
500 series – Ex-RAAF Mirage IIIO designated as Mirage-IIIEA (1990)
600 series – Ex-French AF Mirage-IIIDA (1968)
700 series – Ex-French AF Mirage VEF (ordered in 1996)
800 series – Ex-RAAF Mirage IIIDF
900 series – Ex-Lebanese 9 Mirage-IIIEL, 1 Mirage-IIIDL (2001/02)
000 series – Ex-Libyan 14 Mirage-VDD

Current operational units:
No.7 Sqn ‘Bandits’ – Masroor AB, Karachi
No.8 Sqn ‘Haiders’ – Masroor AB, Karachi
No.15 Sqn ‘Cobras’ – Rafiqui AB, Shorkot
No.22 Sqn ‘Ghazis’ – Masroor AB, Karachi
No.25 Sqn ‘Eagles’ –Shahbaz AB, Jacobabad
No.27 Sqn ‘Zarrars’ – Rafiqui AB, Shorkot
CCS Mirage – Mushaf AB, Sargodha

Reserve units:
No.5 Sqn ‘Falcons’ – Rafiqui AB, Shorkot
In June, 2010 No.5 Sqn’s Mirages were withdrawn from service after induction of F-16 Block-52 aircraft. Fewer Mirages which still have less hours on the airframe were allotted to other squadrons whereas most of them were kept in stores as reserves. No.5 Squadron’s Tactical Attack and Reconnaissance related equipment was also distributed among other operational squadrons.

Mirages – operational status:
In the course of this research I have made a list of operational status of Mirage-III/V aircraft in PAF inventory. The list might not be 100% accurate, but it’s definitely gives a very close look of Mirages.

Question mark ‘?’ denotes an assumption that these aircraft might be a part of squadron inventory.
No.5 Sqn ( retired)
Following list is based upon the last known strength of No.5 Sqn before retirement.
Mirage-IIIRP 67-(202 203 204)? 206 210 211
Mirage-IIIDA 67-608 611 612
Mirage-IIIEA 90-511 581 587 596
Mirage-VDR 903
Mirage-IIIEP 104 105 106 107 108 114 115 116
Earlier retired Mirage-IIIEP aircraft
• 67-101 (placed at MRF, Kamra – pattern aircraft for GV-III)
• 67-112 placed outside Rafiqui AB.
• 67-112 113 117 118 are removed from service before getting 2nd overhaul
• 67-119 gifted to China, placed in museum

No.7 Sqn
No.7 Sqn operates 16-18 Mirages in Tactical Attack role. All Mirages are upgraded to ROSE-I standard at PAC Kamra and are used for deep penetration and interdiction missions also.
Mirage-IIIDP 73-301( PAC) 302
Ex-Libyan Mirage-VDD 00-005
Ex-RAAF Mirage-IIIO(F) – designated as Mirage-IIIEA after ROSE upgrade in 1996
90- 510 512(CCS) 513 515 519 525 531 533 535 538 560 565 584 583(probe – PAC) 586 588
• Mirage-IIIEA 90-512 loaned by CCS Mirage Sqn
• Mirage-IIIEA 90-583 used by MRF for flight trails of air-air refueling
• Mirage-IIIDP 73-301 used by MRF for flight trails of air-air refueling

No.8 Sqn
No.8 Sqn operates Mirage-VPA2 and Mirage-VPA3 aircraft for both ground and maritime attack role. The unit’s Mirage-VPA3 aircraft are equipped with AM-39 anti shipping missile (range 35 miles/55kms) and are used for naval support, where as Mirage-VPA2 are used for tactical attack role.
Mirage-V PA2/PA3 79-433 434 437 440 441 442? 443 445 447 449 450 451 454 455 456 457
Mirage-VDPA2 73-307
Mirage-VDP 70-305? 308 ?

No.15 Sqn
No.15 Sqn mainly operates Mirage-VPA for tactical attack role. It also operates some some Ex-Libyan Mirage-VDD examples for fighter conversion, exact details of which aren’t available.
Mirage-VPA 70-401 404 406 408 411 412 432
Mirage-IIIDA 67- 601 604 672
Mirage-VDD 04-010

No.22 Sqn
No.22 Sqn being an Operational Conversion Unit(OCU) is tasked with new pilots training and conversion on Mirage aircraft.
Ex-Lebanese Mirage-IIIEL/DL 90-904 905 906 907 908 909 910 911
Mirage-IIIDF 96-861 867 874 875 876

No.25 Sqn
No.25 Sqn is tasked with tactical and night attack role. Following list only contains the available details of Mirages in No.25 Sqn. It may be possible the some of the following Mirage-VEF aircraft are currently serving in No.27 Sqn.
Mirage-IIIDP 73-303
Mirage-VDD 00-002
Mirage-VEF 96-702(loaned by CCS) 707 711 717 718 719 725 736 740 741 743 755 758

No.27 Sqn
In April 2007, second ROSE-III Mirages squadron No.27 Sqn stood up at Rafiqui. Some No.25 Sqn Mirage-VEF aircraft were also allotted to this squadron. Following list is incomplete as this squadron operates at least 10 Mirage-VEF aircraft. No.27 Sqn is tasked with tactical and night attack role.
Mirage-VEF 96-728 745 746 747 752 757
Mirage-VDD 04-001 004

CCS Mirage Sqn:
CCS Mirage operates 12-14 aircraft, few aircraft are loaned from other operational squadrons also.
In CCS Mirage Sqn, advance lessons on combat readiness and air-combat is given to pilots. Following list is in-complete as this unit operates 12-14 examples of Mirage-IIIEA aircraft, which joined unit in 1996.
Mirage-IIIEA 90-522 527 552 553 554 599

Un-categorized aircraft:
Ex Libyan Mirage-VDD 04-003 005 006 007 008 009 (Serving in 7,15,25,27 Squadrons)
Ex-French AF Mirage-VEF Serving in No.25 and No.27 Squadrons
96- 722 732 734 738 746 743 739 748 749 754 750

Ex-French AF Mirage-VPA, some of the following are still serving in No.15 Sqn where as other have been withdrawn from service and used as spares for other similar examples. Following aircraft are also not part of above posted squadron inventory.
70-402 408 407 409 415 418 417 420 422 429 430 422 427 432 435
• 70-405 (crashed)
• 70-424 Placed at PAF museum

Following ex-RAAF Mirages were inducted in Nov 1990, after being overhauled in 1996 they were brought to service again. Some of the following are serving in CCS Mirage Sqn, where as others are used as spares cannibalization.
Mirage-IIIO(F) – RAAF designation A3-2 ( PAF designation 90-502)
Mirage-IIIEA 90-502 505 506 509 511 517 521 523 524 525 534 539 544 556 562 568 571 573 584 586 593
Mirage-IIIDA 67-603 613