PAF Paintings

STRIKE AGAINST A BOMBER BASE 7 SEPTEMBER 1965

The painting shows 2 of the 5 Dhaka-based F-86 Sabres attacking the IAF bomber station at Kalaikunda. The Sabre pilots, quickly overcoming their initial surprise at finding so many bombers neatly lined up, wasted no time in making the best of it. Formation leader was Squadron Leader Shabbir H Syed with Flight Lieutenants Abdul Baseer, Tariq Habib, Abdul Haleem and Flying Officer Afzal Khan in his formation. In his memoirs written after the 1965 India-Pakistan War, Air Chief Marshal P C Lal, Chief of the Air Staff, IAF, conceded the losses suffered by the IAF during this daring attack. He wrote:"A sharp lesson ... was taught by the PAF in an attack on an IAF base near Kharagpur (Kalaikunda). In one raid that it mounted, it destroyed several Canberra bombers and Hunter fighters aircraft on the ground."

INTERDICTION AT GURDASPUR

On 13 September 1965, four Sabres led by Squadron Leader Alauddin "Butch" Ahmad on their second offensive patrol over Indian lines of communication, attacked a long line of freight wagons at Gurdaspur railway yard. The Sabres' rockets and guns soon yielded some spectacular explosions as the ammunition wagons received direct hits. Squadron Leader Ahmad's F-86 was struck by fragments of an exploding train after he had fired a salvo of rockets. Despite a radio call from him that he was ejecting from his disabled F-86 this superb, intrepid pilot never returned from this mission. He was awarded a posthumous Sitara-e-jurat for his exemplary aggressiveness, combat leadership and valour.

THE DESTRUCTION OF AMRITSAR RADAR

The painting depicts the last of several air strikes by PAF aircraft on the Amritsar radar installation during the 1965 War. Wing Commander M Anwar Shamim, who led this mission on 11 September, is seen pulling up after his strafing attack. The leader's No 2 was Squadron Leader Muniruddin Ahmed, who attained Shahadat when his aircraft was hit by a heavy ack ack shell. Following behind and faintly visible are his No 3 and No 4, Flight Lieutenants Imtiaz Bhatti and Cecil Chaudhry.

END OF A NIGHT INTRUDER0409 HOURS, 21 SEPTEMBER 1965 - FAZILKA AREA

In the closing days of the September 1965 War an Indian Canberra on a night bombing raid against Sargodha was shot down by an F-104 near the border and its pilot who ejected was captured.The painter chose the only moment of the episode when some details could have become clearly visible on an otherwise dark night. The area was brightly lit up when the burning, sprialling Canberra, hit at 32,000 feet, reflected light off a layer of clouds at 10,000 feet.

The pilot of F-104 was Squadron Leader Jamal A Khan (later Chief of the Air Staff) and the Controller Squadron Leader Anwar Ahmad from Sakesar Radar.This is said to be the only confirmed missile kill at night in actual combat by an F-104 Starfighter anywhere in the World.

THE FIRST ENCOUNTER0525 HOURS, 6 SEPTEMBER 1965

Dawn over Wazirabad. Flight Lieutenant Aftab Alam Khan in an F-104A Starfighter destroys a Mystere IV and damages another, to mark the start of the India-Pakistan war. India launched the war over West Pakistan with an attack by a formation of four Mystere IV aircraft. The Mysteres crossed the international border to attack a Pakistani train near Wazirabad. Flight Lieutenant Aftab Alam Khan was on a routine morning combat air patrol in the Chamb/Mangla area. He was directed by the Controller at Sakesar, Flight Lieutenant Farooq Haider, to intercept the intruders. First contact with the enemy was made as the F-104 passed head on through the Mystere formation. In the ensuing combat at tree top level, he skillfully outmanoeuvred the opponents to destroy one Mystere and damage another. The remaining members of the formation managed to slip away in the poor light conditions, only to tell the tale of the "dreaded F-104 and the deadly Sidewinder". Apart from being the first encounter to start the war in earnest, the engagement was also significant in other respects. It marked a new era of dog-fighting at very low altitude. It was also the first combat kill by any Mach-2 aircraft, and the first missile kill for the Pakistan Air Force.

ATTACK ON BAGDOGRA 1730 HOURS, 10 SEPTEMBER 1965

Four F-86Fs of No 14 Squadron, Dhaka strike IAF Base, Bagdogra. Four enemy aircraft were destroyed on ground and damage inflicted on the ATC building and hangers.

Leader Squadron Leader Shabbir H Syed
No 2 Flying Officer Salim
No 3 Flight Lieutenant Farooq F Khan (later CAS, PAF)
No 4 Flight Lieutenant Hasan Akhtar

PATHAMKOT STRIKE1705 HOURS, 6 SEPTEMBER 1965

8 F-86Fs of No 19 Squadron led by Squadron Leader Sajjad Haider struck Pathankot airfield. With carefully positioned dives and selecting each individual aircraft in their protected pens for their strafing attacks, the strike elements completed a textbook operation against Pathankot. Wing Commander M G Tawab, flying one of the two Sabers as tried escort overhead, counted 14 wrecks burning on the airfield. Among the aircraft destroyed on the ground were nearly all of the IAF's Soviet-supplied Mig-21s till then received, none of which was seen again during the War. Tied escorts consisted of Wing Commander M G Tawab (later Air Marshal and air Chief of Bangladesh Air Force) and Flight Lieutenant Arshsad Sami while the strike elements were led by Squadron Leader Sajjad Haider with Flight Lieutenant M Akbar, Mazhar Abbas, Dilawar Hussain, Ghani Akbar and Flyng Officer Arshad Chaudhary, Khalid Latif and Abbas Khattak (later CAS, PAF) in his formation.

MAKING OF AN ACE

On the morning of 7 September 1965, Squadron leader M.M Alam - OC 11 sqn shot down five IAF hunter aircraft in less than a minute. Making him the only ACE of sub-continent.

For his valour and courage he was awarded Sitara-e-Jurat twice in the same war. He retired in 1982, at the rank of Air Cdre.

GNAT DOWN!

A painting depicting F-86F shooting down an IAF Gnat during 1965 war.

A B-57 IS LOST OVER ADAMPUR2345 HOURS, 14 SEPTEMBER 1965

Flight Lieutenant Altaf Sheikh had pulled up his B-57 after his dive bombing run over the heavily defended Adampur airfield when it received direct hits from the IAF's medium ack ack guns. As the B-57 began to lose control, the pilot ordered his navigator Flight Lieutenant Bashir Chaudhry to eject and then fired his own seat out of the cockpit. Both landed in the close proximity of the airfield and while attempting to escape, were surrounded by Indian police. They were to become the first prisoners of the war.

ALAM SIDDIQUI'S TRIPLE ATTACK ON JAMNAGAR AIRFIELD0415 HOURS, 7 SEPTEMBER 1965

The painting shows the last moments of a fiercely dauntless B-57 pilot Squadron Leader Muhammad Shabbir Alam Siddiqui and his equally motivated navigator Squadron Leader Aslam Qureshi, as drop their last bombs on the target during a repeat attack.The flying controls of this 8 Squadron bomber were so badly crippled by hits from the Indian anti-aircraft gunners below that neither crew had the precious seconds necessary to attempt ejection.

The squadron colleagues of the spirited A1am Siddiqui later recalled how he had argued his way into being allowed to fly another aircrew's mission, even though this was his third sortie within the preceding ten hours without any intervening rest. Called for wartime duty from a staff appointment by his squadron, A1am Siddiqui seemed determined from the outset to serve his country to extraordinary standards of aggression and courage. He did so heroically, leaving behind a glittering page in No.8 Squadron's history.

DUEL OF THE SABRE GRAND MASTERS OFF THE KARACHI COAST1730 HOURS, 28 APRll.1959

Nearly one hundred of the PAF's F-86s were operating from Karachi's Mauripur (now Masroor) air base in the late 1950s. In the rightly packed daily flying routine of the Sabre squadrons during working hours, there was hardly any opportunity to throw any no-holds-barred gauntlets at worthy opponents for" 1 vs. 1" dog fights. Such windows opened only in the afternoons that were reserved for test flights and characterised by fewer watchful eyes at the air base. With less crowded skies, this part of the day was spent in taking up a constant flow of F-86s that had just come out of scheduled maintenance or repairs. After the Sabres passed the checklisted tests, pairs of the experienced test pilots had usually enough fuel remaining to head for an agreed rendezvous to test their own mettle in mock combat. Among the Sabre pilots who thus honed their personal skills, two notable ones are shown here in their 14 Squadron planes. Artist Hussaini chose to freeze the highly dynamic action just as the rightly wrenching dog fight between Flight Lieutenants M. M. Alam(front) and Hameed Anwer is nearing a stalemate. The two had long been friends and intense rivals, as all fighter pilots tend to be at young age. Both were already recognised in the PAF for their professional devotion and outstanding piloting skills but each had yet to make history in the challenges that lay ahead. Within half a decade, one was destined to become the top scoring pilot of the PAF in 1965 and the other would fly the proud flag of the PAF to distant lands -first in the UK's RAF, and then for many years in Jordan and other Arab countries to teach the art of air combat to young pilots.

 

At the time depicted in this painting, however, young Alam and Anwar are doggedly canopy-to-canopy, scissoring hard, barely aware of their diminishing safety margins above the Arabian Sea and each intent on getting behind the other in the unarguably astern position that would persuade the other to concede defeat. As usually happened in their frequent duels, this time too it was a draw.

ATTACKERS FLY BY THE ROHTAS FORT NEAR DINA, JEHLUM -8 DECEMBER 1954

In its early years, the PAF had only one jet fighter squadron, all the others were equipped with Hawker Fury or Tempest piston-engined fighters. It was usual for No.ll Squadron to be employed in both the 'friendly' and the 'enemy' roles in the two-sided war games of those days.In one such exercise in 1954, the Attackers operated from Lahore and Chaklala airfields in the air superiority role. The painting shows two Attackers returning to Chaklala after an evening fighter sweep near Jehlum, taking a few minutes to fly by the 16th Century Rohtas Fort.

PAF ENTERS THE JET AGE

Attackers -the PAF's first jet fighters -arrived from England in August 1951 and were allotted to No.ll Squadron. Although designed primarily as a ship-borne machine, the Attacker was also produced in a land version, offering the nautical advantage of short take-off and landing characteristics, with a heavy load of bombsjet fighter was soon mastered by PAF pilots and was used quite effectively. The aircraft also participated in fire-power displays on many occasions but never saw combat.

It was phased out in 1958. The artist shows an Anacker overtaking a Fury during a simulated interception.

BELLY LANDINGBY A HALIFAX BOMBER RISALPUR -23 AUGUST 1951

The Handley Page Halifax bombers first joined Britain's Royal Air Force in 1941, and were extensively used for attacking targets in Germany throughout World War II. In 1949, Pakistan purchased 8 ex-RAF Halifax B-VIs to equip No.12 Squadron, the PAF's first bomber / transport unit. The PAF Halifaxes were powered by four Hercules-100 engines, and could drop a bomb load of 14,500 Ibs on targets 1,500 miles away, flying at 270 mph. Before its short career in the PAF ended four years later, the Halifax flew many important supply drop missions in support of the Kashmir operations. Because of their age and technology, however, the reliability of the Halifaxes was not high, and all had to be prematurely retired from the PAF by 1954.

 

It was on one of these Bombers in August 1951 that a technical malfunction forced the pilot to make a controlled crash landing when one of its main landing wheels jammed in the partially extended position. For more than three hours the crew attempted without success to lower the stuck wheel. Eventually the decision was made to crash-land the bomber. On the ground, the alerted crash crew and many base personnel at RPAF Station, Risalpur watched anxiously as lumbering bomber came in for landing. It touched down with nearly empty fuel tanks, rolled straight for some length of the grass runway, then began a cartwheel that nearly reversed its direction by 180 degrees, as the fuselage fractured at about midpoint. Due to thorough pre-crash preparation, and briefing by the aircaft commander, all crew members evacuated the Halifax without injury.

 

Captain               : Flight lieutenant         S M Ahmed (Lanky)
Co-Pilot              : Flying Officer           Majeed Beg
Flight Engineer: Flying Officer              M Rehani

"THE RED DRAGONS" -1951

The first formation aerobatic team, formed by No.9 Squadron on its Furies, was called "The Red Dragons". The painting shows the team performing officially for the first time in 1951 at Peshawar. The occasion was the farewell ceremonies for the PAF's outgoing C-int-C, Air Vice-Marshal R L R Atcherley. "The Red Dragons" thus gained the honour of being the first aerobatic team in the subcontinent.

 

The Team:    Squadron Leader   Zafar Chaudhry
                        Flight Lieutenant   Saeedullah Khan
                        Flying Officer         T H Goning
                        Flying Officer         M Hayat Khan

THE FIRST FIGHTER TRAINER PESHAWAR AIRFIELD

The Hawker Fury FB 60 was the PAF's mainstay fighter during the first half of the 1950s. Ninety-two Furies were inducted during the early 1950s. To convert new pilots onto the new fighter, the PAF also acquired five two-seat trainer versions of the Fury, called the Fury T-61. The two-seater could also be used for operational roles.

LOW LEVEL AEROBATICS BY “F.S.” NOVEMBER 1949 – PESHAWAR

Even as a young Flying Officer, Fuad Shahid Hussain's incredible mastery in low level aerobatics became legendary in the PAF. Manoeuvring just a few feet above the ground in a Hawker Fury, his propeller was kicking up dust on the runway, or just missing the tree tops in a graceful 8-point roll, it all look like child's play. By the early 1950s he was a rapidly rising star – now known by thousands throughout Pakistan as just “F.S.” – and a role model of every fighter pilot in the air force. Tragically, “the prince of pilots” lost his life to diabetes at the young age of 40, when he was an Air Commodore.

HARVAD IN FLIGHT
A T-6 Harvad at Omega Bend, Risalpur.

HARVARD 2-B

One of the earliest Harvards of the PM being flown by the Advanced Flying School, Risalpur.At the time of partition, the PM received a mix of 20 Harvard 2-Bs and 2-Cs.

With subsequent purchases of T -6s from the USA and Canada, the PAF continued to operate its Harvards foroffensive role against forward Indian army.

RPAF STATION RISALPUR - 1130 HOURS 15 SEPTEMBER 1947

The artist Hussaini has chosen a busy oment on the mid-morning of the alma mater's inception. Initially the Flying Training School (FTS) has only two flights of 6-8 aircraft, one equipped with Tiger Moths and the other with Harvad trainers. Controlled by signalling lamps and flares from ATC tower, the country's first Flight Cadets in the radio-less Tiger Moth trainers practice take offs and landings, while in the backdrop their senior colleagues develop formation skills on three Harvads.

THE BIRTH OF ARMY AVIATION LAHORE AIRFIELDSUNSET -14 AUGUST 1947

The painting shows four Auster V aircraft of the newly formed No.1 Air Observation Post (AOP) Flight of the Royal Pakistan Air Force at Lahore airfield. The four Austers represented the entire strength of AOP assets that came into the share of Pakistan on partition. The Austers originally belonged to the larger No. 659 AOP Squadron of the pre-Independence India, which was also based at Lahore, and it soon transferred to India.

 

The establishment of the No.1 AOP Flight was significant since it was around this unit that the Pakistan Army's Aviation grew in the subsequent years to become an independent arm of the Army. Many young officers from the Artillery and other arms began to flock to the Army Aviator's challenging and adventurous career. Today, the Army Aviation Command provides critical combat and logistic support, from the icy Karakorams to the Arabian Sea shores. It has more than twenty flying units and over 300 rotory and fixed wing aircraft of different types, including some jets.

TEMPESTS ON AIR PATROLTHE FIRST KASHMIR WAR 1948

Tempest IN from 5 Squadron are shown patrolling in the northern area during the First Kashmir War. They are shown in the earliest camouflage, as they were received from India in 1947. The aircraft are still carrying the two victory stripes painted by the British after the Second World War.

THE GRIFFINS

The painting shows a flight line of No.9 Squadron Fury FB.60 fighter/bomber aircraft.

THE PAF ON AIR ALERT 1947

One of the first jobs of the newly formed Pakistan Air Force was to continue the policingof the North-West Frontier region. The painting shows a scramble by No.5 SquadronTempest lIs from inside the historical Miran Shah Fort.

THE PIONEERS TAKE STOCK CHAKLALA AIRFIELD, RAWALPINDI -AUGUST 1947

In the chaotic scene that surrounds them, the officers, airmen and civilian staff migrating from the re-demarcated India to their newly born country deplane from the Dakotas. Many of their colleagues -now unwelcome in hostile India -would arrive by special trains, trucks and some even by foot, to gather at the airfields near Karachi, Lahore, Dhaka and as shown in this painting at Chaklala Aerodrome of Rawalpindi.

 

Not all of them know even where to begin. They are short of everything- planes, spare parts, fuel, ground facilities and even rations and tents. But imbued with patriotic fervor and perseverance these pioneers would within that organize their modest assets with feats improvisation that would transform their Air Force into a disciplined and lethal sword, to guard the skies from Kashmir to the Arabian Sea.

 

 

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