by Imran H. Khan

Core technologies and capabilities that drive the economies take a long time, large amounts of money and even bigger patience to bear fruit. But once they mature, the rewards are well worth the effort.  Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Outliers” makes a similar case for outstanding achievers, that it is more of their earlier start than their brains that make them excel. It is sustained practice of ones art or profession that over the period of time blossoms into an unsurpassed  ability.  Developing countries typically try to shy away from making investments in longer gestation technologies and therefore commit themselves to the path of perpetually playing catchup with developed countries. This is a story of a jet engine that propelled Air Forces possessing it into an unrivaled position. Read more

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by Air Cdre M Kaiser Tufail(Retd)

“Enemy pilots should see it, but never catch up with it.”
[MARCEL DASSAULT]
Mirage IIIRP 67-202, one of the first three recce version Mirages ready for its ferry flight from FranceAt the outbreak of the 1971 Indo-Pak War, Mirage IIIEs were the newest and most advanced combat aircraft in the PAF inventory. Besides performing a wider variety of missions, they could generate a higher daily sortie rate compared to the aging F-86s, F-104s and B-57s. They could navigate accurately to relatively deeper targets and, after the attack, egress at high speed. They could carry out straight line, hit-and-run intercepts against raiders as adeptly as the F-104s, though the radar performance of both fighters was suspect against low-flying targets in ground clutter. Coupled with marginal performance of the five-odd low level AR-1 air defence radars which were interspersed with yawning gaps, PAF’s intercept capability was of consequence during day only; at night-time, it was a chance in a million, as it were. Read more

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by Air Cdre M Kaiser Tufail (Retd) F-6

The US embargo on military sales to Pakistan at the outbreak of 1965 Indo-Pak War was received with dismay and disbelief by the PAF, whose combat and training aircraft were totally of US origin. Already starting to get outclassed by more modern aircraft, the F-86Fs, F-104s and B-57s were now plagued by spares support problems that rendered them virtually worthless in the PAF. The C-in-C of the PAF, Air Marshal Nur Khan who had cannily led the force during the war, sensed the criticality of the situation and started an immediate search for suitable aircraft from new sources. Read more

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