Country Listing

Pakistan Table of Contents


Air Force

In 1994 the Pakistan Air Force had 45,000 active personnel and 8,000 reserve personnel. Headquartered in Rawalpindi, it comprised directorates for operations, maintenance, administration, and electronics. There were three air defense districts--north, central, and south.

In 1994 the air force was organized into eighteen squadrons, with a total of 430 combat aircraft. The mainstay of the air force was the F-16 fighter. Of the forty aircraft originally acquired, thirty-four were in service, divided among three squadrons. Some were reportedly grounded because of a lack of spare parts resulting from the 1990 United States suspension of military transfers to Pakistan (see The United States and the West , ch. 4). Pakistan had an additional seventy-one F-16s on order, but delivery has been suspended since 1990. Other interceptors included 100 Chinese J-6s (which were scheduled to be phased out) and eighty J-7s, organized into four squadrons and two squadrons, respectively. Air-to-air missiles included the Sparrow, Sidewinder, and Magic (see table 16, Appendix).

The air force had a ground-attack role. The air force had three squadrons of Chinese Q-5s (a total of fifty aircraft) as well as one squadron of eighteen Mirage IIIs and three squadrons (fifty-eight aircraft) of Mirage 5s, one squadron of which was equipped with Exocet missiles and was deployed in an antiship role.

In 1994 Pakistan took out of storage thirty of forty-eight Mirage IIIs that it had originally acquired from Australia; the Mirages were grouped into a fighter squadron. Additionally, Pakistan's Mirage 5s were scheduled to be upgraded with French assistance.

The backbone of the transport fleet was formed by twelve C130 Hercules, which had recently been upgraded; plans to acquire more were stymied by the dispute with the United States over Pakistan's nuclear program. There were also smaller transport aircraft and a variety of reconnaissance aircraft.

Data as of April 1994