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Battle Lines of the PAF

PAF Base Lahore History: 1948-1988

Lahore is one of the oldest bases of the PAF. During pre-independence days it functioned as a maintenance depot for the RIAF, but it had no flying units. After Pakistan came into being and up to 1948, Lahore remained a small base while continuing its maintenance role. A big change came when, in 1949-1950, No. 6 Transport Squadron equipped with Dakotas and Bristol Freighters moved from Peshawar to Lahore. Later, in 1960 the squadron moved on to its permanent home Chaklala.

Within a month of independence, an air force central medical board had been established at Chaklala, which was responsible for the medical certification of all aircrews of the PAF, civil aviation and plant protection department. Soon thereafter, the C M B was relocated at Lahore where it remained for about ten years; in 1959 it moved again, this time more permanently, to Mauripur.

In the early-1950s, a University Air Squadron (UAS) and a Shaheen Air Training Corps (SATC) troop were established at Lahore with a view to making the students air minded, and for attracting talented youngsters to join the RPAF. The USA was equipped with Austers and Tiger Moths comprised gliding, aero-modeling and camping etc. Both these units were disbanded sometime in 1956-1957 but not before they had made a substantial contribution to the all-important pilot recruitment programme of the RPAF.

In 1960, the station organization was re-orientated to make Lahore an air defence base. Many existing observer units were shifted to it from other bases, and by 1965-1966 additional units had been raised. Today, the operations wing of Lahore has the vital responsibility of providing year-round air defence cover by both human and technical means over vast areas of the country.

In the late-1950s, the civil aviation department was placed under Air Headquarters. Consequently, the PAF station commander at Lahore was also made the regional controller of civil aviation for Lahore region, which encompassed areas up to Rahim Yar Khan. At the same time, the regional control centre was moved from Chakala to Lahore while the civil air traffic shifted from Walton to Lahore airfield. In 1961, a PIA Super Constellation made its first landing at the improved Lahore airport. The northern hangar of the PAF was loaned to PIA and converted into the civil terminal building. In 1966, the main runway was extended to facilitate operation of Trident and Boeing aircraft.

In 1978, the PAF's new low looking as well as high powered radars and associated facilities started to arrive in the country, and Lahore base was given the responsibility of setting up an institution for the purpose of training large numbers of officers and men on the new equipment. Accordingly, in 1978-1979 an air defence modernization school, now renamed as Air Defence Systems School, was established to qualify all technicians, operators, engineers and controllers before assignment. Today the ADSS continues to fulfill this role on a permanent basis.

Being located in a most attractive provincial capital and historically rich city, the Lahore air base also plays host to many air force dignitaries from foreign lands. In addition, during the annual Air Force Day celebrations on 7 September, the base attracts one of the largest crowds in the country, and many retired PAF personnel settled in the city are welcomed to join the festivities.

 
 
 
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