Command & Structure

Pakistan Air Force (Pak Fiza’ya – PAF)

STRENGTH: 65,000 plus 9,000 ReservesAIRCRAFTS: 700 (approximately) The Pakistan Air Force (Pak Fiza’ya – PAF) is a well-trained and highly professional organization with average annual flying time is approximately 200 hours and rising. The primary mission of the PAF is defending the country’s airspace. Secondary missions are retaliatory strike including nuclear weapons delivery, support of ground operations, fleet protection/maritime strike, and search and rescue. COMMAND & CONTROL

Chief of Air Staff: Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mehmood Ahmed
Vice-Chief of Air Staff: Air Marshal Shahid Latif

The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS; Air Chief Marshal; four star) commands the air force, is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and the National Security Council, and is responsible for coordinating inter-service cooperation within the overall doctrine of the Riposte and, it would appear, its nuclear equivalent. The Vice-Chief of Air Staff (Air Marshal; three star), is responsible for flight safety, intelligence, procurement, PR and the Air War College. Air HQ has five directorates, each under a Deputy Chief of Air Staff (Air Vice Marshal; two star): Operations, Administration, Engineering, Personnel, and Training.

The overall operational and administrative command of the PAF vests in the Chief of the Air Staff who exercises these functions through the PAF’s Air Headquarters. He is assisted by a Vice Chief of Air Staff and 4 Deputy Chiefs of the Air Staff who control and administer the Administration, Operations, Maintenance and Electronics divisions of the PAF respectively.

The operational command of the PAF comprises of 4 directorates which are the:

·  Directorate of Administration

·  Directorate of Operations

·  Directorate of Maintenance

·  Directorate of Electronics


There are also an additional 4 non-operational Directorates which are the:

·  Directorate of Air Intelligence

·  Directorate of Training

·  Directorate of Recruitment

·  Directorate of Public Relations


The headquarters of the Pakistani Air Force (Air HQ) is at Chaklala, close to Islamabad and adjacent to the capital’s civil airport. Rear Air HQ is at Peshawar. Three regional air commands form an intermediate link in the chain of command, each having a small headquarters flight and exercising control over two or three subordinate wing organizations that direct the activities of flying units at different air bases; the basic tactical operating unit is the squadron. There are also a few aircraft-operating organizations that report directly to Air Headquarters, these being engaged in transport, pilot training and tactics training.

For the operational command and control functions of the PAF, Pakistan has been divided into 3 air defense ‘districts’, each under the responsibility of a Defense Command (DC). The DC of the PAF’s three air defense districts include the:

·  Northern Command

·  Central Command

·  Southern Command

These Commands are based at the major air bases at Sargodha, Faisal, Masroor, Gilgit,  Lahore, Mianwali, Peshawar, Quetta and Risalpur. They have the responsibility of monitoring and guarding Pakistani airspace, in providing support to ground, naval and paramilitary security forces and of defending the country against air attacks. Secondary missions include the provision of air transport to ground troops when needed, the co-ordination of civil and military air defense activities, and the conduct of technical training for civil aviation specialists.




The Pakistan Air Force does not make its Order of Battle public. The table below is based on a number of sources which does not include PAF and any Government of Pakistan sources. In total, including those units listed, there are estimated to be:


Unit Base Type Role
HQ Flight Peshawar Mushshak Communications
33 (Multi-Role) Wing Minhas    
14 Squadron Minhas F-7MP AD/Attack
15 Squadron Minhas Mirage 5PA AD/Attack
25 Squadron Minhas Mirage 5F AD/Attack
36 (Tactical Attack) Wing Peshawar    
16 Squadron Peshawar A-5- III Attack
16 Squadron Peshawar FT-6 Continuation Training
26 Squadron Peshawar A-5-III Attack
26 Squadron Peshawar FT-6 Continuation Training
81 Squadron Peshawar Alouette III SAR/Liaison
37 (Combat Training) Wing Mianwali    
1 Fighter Conversion Unit Mianwali FT-5 Advanced Training
18 Squadron (OCU) Mianwali F-7MP Combat Training
18 Squadron (OCU) Mianwali FT-7 Combat Training
19 Squadron (OCU) Mianwali F-7MP Combat Training
19 Squadron (OCU) Mianwali FT-7 Combat Training
86 Squadron Mianwali Alouette III SAR/Liaison


Unit Base Type Role
HQ Flight Faisal (Karachi) Mushshak Communications
HQ Flight Faisal (Karachi) Cessna 172 Communications
31 (Fighter) Wing Samungli    
17 Squadron Samungli F-7PG AD/Attack
23 Squadron Samungli F-7PG AD/Attack
85 Squadron Samungli Alouette III SAR/Liaison
32 (Tactical Attack) Wing Masroor    
2 Squadron Masroor F-7MP AD/Attack
2 Squadron Masroor F-7P AD/Attack
7 Squadron Masroor Mirage IIIO AD/Attack
7 Squadron Masroor Mirage IIIDP Continuation Training
8 Squadron Masroor Mirage 5PA2 Land/Sea Attack
8 Squadron Masroor Mirage 5PA3 Land/Sea Attack
22 Squadron (OCU) Masroor Mirage 5F Combat Training
22 Squadron (OCU) Masroor Mirage IIIBE Combat Training
84 Squadron Masroor Mil Mi-171 SAR/Liaison


Unit Base Type Role
HQ Flight Mushaf Mushshak Communications
34 (Fighter) Wing Rafiqui    
5 Squadron Rafiqui Mirage IIIEP Air Defense
5 Squadron Rafiqui Mirage IIIRP Reconnaissance
5 Squadron Rafiqui Mirage IIIDP Continuation Training
20 Squadron (OCU) Rafiqui F-7PG Combat Training
20 Squadron (OCU) Rafiqui FT-7PG Combat Training
83 Squadron Rafiqui Alouette III SAR/Liaison
38 (Multi-Role) Wing Mushaf    
9 Squadron Mushaf F-16A AD/Attack
9 Squadron Mushaf F-16B Continuation Training
11 Squadron (OCU) Mushaf F-16A Combat Training
11 Squadron (OCU) Mushaf F-16B Continuation Training
24 Squadron Mushaf Falcon 20F EW/ECM Training
82 Squadron Mushaf Alouette III SAR/Liaison


Unit Base Type Role
35 (Composite Air Transport) Wing Chaklala    
6 Squadron Chaklala C-130B Transport
6 Squadron Chaklala C-130E Transport
6 Squadron Chaklala CN-235M-220 Transport
12 Squadron Chaklala F27 Friendship Transport
12 Squadron Chaklala Airbus A-310-300 Transport
12 Squadron Chaklala Falcon 20E Transport
12 Squadron Chaklala Citation V Communications
12 Squadron Chaklala King Air 200 Communications
12 Squadron Chaklala Gulfstream IV-SP Communications
12 Squadron Chaklala CN-235M-220 VIP
41 Squadron Chaklala Cessna 172 Communications
41 Squadron Chaklala Seneca Communications
41 Squadron Chaklala Y-12(II) Communications
Transport Conversion School Chaklala (loan as needed) Training
Combat Commanders’ School Mushaf    
F-7 Squadron Mushaf F-7MP Tactics Training
Mirage Squadron Mushaf Mirage IIIO Tactics Training
Mirage Squadron Mushaf Mirage 5PA Tactics Training
Pakistan Air Force Academy/Air University Risalpur    
Flying Instructors’ School Risalpur (loan as needed) Instructor Training
Primary Flying Training Wing Risalpur    
1 Primary Flying Training Squadron Risalpur Mushshak Primary Training
1 Primary Flying Training Squadron Risalpur Super Mushshak Primary Training
2 Primary Flying Training Squadron Risalpur Mushshak Primary Training
2 Primary Flying Training Squadron Risalpur Super Mushshak Primary Training
Basic Flying Training Wing Risalpur    
1 Basic Flying Training Squadron Risalpur T-37 Basic Training
2 Basic Flying Training Squadron Risalpur T-37 Basic Training
Advanced Jet Training Wing Risalpur    
1 Advanced Flying Training Squadron Risalpur K-8 Advanced Training
PAF College Risalpur SF-25C Falke Sport Flying



Chaklala (33° 36′ 60″ N; 73° 05′ 57″ E)
Faisal (24° 52′ 29″ N; 67° 07′ 05″ E)
Masroor (24° 53′ 36″ N; 66° 56′ 24″ E)
Mianwali (32° 33′ 47″ N; 71° 34′ 14″ E)
Minhas (33° 52′ 17″ N; 72° 24′ 03″ E)
Mushaf (32° 02′ 55″ N; 72° 39′ 55″ E)
Peshawar (33° 59′ 36″ N; 71° 30′ 52″ E)
Rafiqui (30° 45′ 29″ N; 72° 16′ 57″ E)
Risalpur (34° 04′ 52″ N; 71° 58′ 21″ E)
Samungli (30° 15′ 05″ N; 66° 56′ 16″ E)


Lahore (31° 31′ 18″ N; 74° 24′ 12″ E)
Multan (30° 11′ 58″ N; 71° 24′ 58″ E)
Murid (32° 54′ 37″ N; 72° 46′ 29″ E)
Nawabshah (26° 13′ 12″ N; 68° 23′ 16″ E)
Pasni (25° 17′ 22″ N; 63° 20′ 36″ E)
Faisalabad (31° 21′ 51″ N; 72° 59′ 40″ E)
Shahbaz (28° 16′ 59″ N; 68° 27′ 01″ E)
Sukkur (27° 43′ 15″ N; 68° 47′ 43″ E)
Talhar (24° 50′ 28″ N; 68° 50′ 11″ E)
Vihari (30° 05′ 29″ N; 72° 09′ 14″ E)


The Pakistan Air Force Academy is based at Risalpur, 60 miles east of Islamabad and is the principal training centre, for which at least 100 aircraft are available to provide basic and advanced courses. Platforms include the indigenous Mushshak and Super Mushshak, T-37 jet trainers supplied by the US and the Chinese-built K-8 Karakorum. A dozen examples of the K-8 have been in use for several years and it appears likely that more will be received to ultimately replace the T-37 as well as FT-5 aircraft of the Fighter Conversion Unit at Mianwali. Eventually, the PAF intends to conduct primary training on the Mushshak with basic jet transition on the Karakorum followed by lead-in fighter training on a two-seat version of the JF-17 Thunder.

In March 2006, four women pilots graduated from the Academy, and a further three were said to be under training. However, in spite of the apparent success of the program, the PAF has announced that induction of females for the pilot stream has been stopped, in order “to check operational fitness of women officers”.

Pakistan Air Force pilots fly with the Royal Saudi Air Force (Al Quwwat al Jawwiya al Malakhiah as Sa’udiya) and other air arms in the Gulf region, gaining much experience and completing more annual air hours on advanced aircraft than is currently possible with their parent service. They are highly regarded by the air arms to which they are seconded.

Exercise “High Mark 5″ was held in September 2005, with the aim of testing combat skills in a realistic scenario. Some 8,200 sorties were flown in all, with the M2 motorway used to test its suitability as an emergency strip. PAF has also started to conduct joint exercise with Turkish Air Force (Türk Hava Kuvvetleri). On April 19, 2008, joint exercise started at Sargodha air base and were named “Indus-Vipers 2008″

Officer training, basic pilot instruction and instructor training take place at PAF Risalpur. Advanced training is carried out by Operational Conversion Units at Sargodha, Masroor and Mianwali; the Fighter Conversion Unit at Mianwali; and the Combat Commanders’ School at Mushaf (formerly known as Sargodha and renamed to commemorate ACM Mushaf Ali Mir who was killed in an air crash in 2003).


Fixed Wing         

Type Manufacturer Role Original Total In Service First Delivery
F-16A Fighting Falcon Lockheed Martin Multirole Fighter 32 n/a 1983
F-16B Fighting Falcon Lockheed Martin Multirole Fighter 14 n/a 1983
F-16C 52M Fighting Falcon Lockheed Martin Multirole Fighter 12 - 2009
F-16D 52M Fighting Falcon Lockheed Martin  Multirole Fighter  6  -  2009 
FC-20 Vigorous Dragon CAC Multirole Fighter 60~150 - 2010-11
JF-17 A/B Thunder CAC/PAC Multirole Fighter 250 8 2007
F-7P CAC Air Defence/Attack 20 n/a 1988
F-7MP CAC Air Defence/Attack 100 n/a 1988
F-7PG (F-7MG) CAC Air Defence/Attack 57 n/a 2002
Mirage 5F Dassault Air Defence/Attack 33 n/a 1998
Mirage IIIEL Dassault Air Defence/Attack 9 n/a 2002
Mirage IIIEP Dassault Air Defence/Attack 18 n/a 1967
Mirage IIIO Dassault Air Defence/Attack 43 n/a 1991
A-5-III Fantan NAMC Attack 60 n/a 1983
Mirage 5PA Dassault Attack 28 n/a 1973
Mirage 5PA2 Dassault Attack 18 n/a 1981
Mirage 5D Dassault Attack 50 n/a 2004
Mirage 5PA3 Dassault Anti-Ship Attack 12 n/a 1982
Mirage IIIRP Dassault Reconnaissance 13 n/a 1969
Saab 2000 Erieye




Airborne Early Warning & Command








CN-235M-220 Airtech Transport/VIP 4 4 2004
C-130B Hercules Lockheed Martin Transport 13 5 1963
C-130E Hercules Lockheed Martin Transport 11 10 1975
L-100 Hercules Lockheed Martin Transport 2 1 1967
F27-200 Friendship Fokker Transport 2 1 1982
Y-12 (II) HAI Transport 2 2 1995
Falcon 20E Dassault Transport/VIP 1 1 1973
A-310-300 Airbus Transport/VIP 1 1 2007
707-340C Boeing Transport 1 Storage 1986
707-320C Boeing Transport 1 Storage 1986
King Air B200 Beechcraft Communications 1 1 1991
172 Skyhawk Cessna Communications 7 4 1975
560 Citation V Cessna Communications/VIP 1 1 1993
Gulfstream G-450 Gulfstream Aerospace Communications/VIP 2 2 2005
Phenom 300 Embraer VIP 4 0 2009?
Mushshak PAC Communications 6 4 1974
Falcon 20F Dassault Combat Support 2 2 1986
Mushshak PAC Trainer 50 n/a 1974
Super Mushshak PAC Trainer 30 n/a 2000
T-37B Cessna Trainer 29 n/a 1962
T-37C Cessna Trainer 39 n/a 1962
K-8 Karakorum HAIG Trainer 34 n/a 1994
FT-5 Chengdu Trainer 64 n/a 1975
FT-6 SAC Trainer c40 n/a 1980
FT-7P GAIC Trainer 22 n/a 1989
FT-7PG GAIC Trainer 9 n/a 2002
Mirage IIIBE Dassault Trainer 6 n/a 1998
Mirage IIIBL Dassault Trainer 1 n/a 2002
Mirage IIIDP Dassault Trainer 5 n/a 1969
Mirage IIIOD Dassault Trainer 7 n/a 1991
Mirage 5DPA2 Dassault Trainer 2 n/a 1981
SF-25C Falke Scheibe Sport Flying   n/a pre-1981

  1. Includes one in VIP configuration
  2. Deliveries in progress
  3. Currently in storage
  4. On order
  5. Requirement exists for at least another 20 to partly replace T-37 and FT-5
  6. Included in total given elsewhere
  7. In July of 2007 the U S agreed to deliver 26 additional F-16 A/B fighter aircraft to Pakistan.

Rotary Wing           

Type Manufacturer Role Original Total In Service First Delivery
SA 316/319 Alouette III/ICA-Brasov IAR-316 Alouette III Aerospatiale Utility Helicopter   15 1967
Mi-171Sh Mil Combat Support 7 7 2004

Compiled by H Khan, with sources of references from Jane’s Information, Flight International, Defense Journal, and ex-PAF personal.