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PAF s' Squadrons

No. 16 Squadron History: 1948-1988

No. 16 Tactical Attack Squadron was raised in 1957 and was equipped with F-86Fs with Squadron Leader Imam-ul-Haq Khan as its first Commanding Officer. Little is recorded about the early years of the squadron; due to unknown reasons, it was disbanded in 1963. On 13 April 70, the squadron was reactivated at PAF Base, Masroor, once again with F-86F aircraft. Wing Commander Sharbat Ali Changazi was appointed as the officer commanding. In February 1971, the squadron was designated as the Fighter Leading School, where courses were conducted for senior pilots of the PAF.

The squadron did not take part in the 1971 war as a unit; instead its pilots were attached command of No 26 Squadron, also an F-86F unit, which was based at PAF Base Peshawar. Apart from leading several missions into enemy territory, Wing Commander Changazi shot down 1 IAF Hunter. Squadron Leader Cecil Chaudhry, also a member of 16 Squadron, was attached to No 18; he accounted for an Su-7. Earlier in the war, he himself had been shot down by ground fire but had ejected safely and was recovered by own troops on the same day. After the war, in October 1972, the squadron was once again number-plated.

After a lapse of almost ten years the squadron was again reactivated, this time with F-6 aircraft, and located at PAF Base Rafiqui. At the same time, it was earmarked to receive the first A-5 III aircraft. A group of officers and airmen was therefore sent to China for familiarization with the new aircraft. The first batch of A-5s landed at Rafiqui on 12th February 1983. Wing Commander Hamid Saeed Khan was placed in command of the squadron which was given a tactical attack role. The re-equipment ceremony took place on 21st March with General Mohammad lqbal, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, as the guest of honour. The ceremony was attended by the Ambassador of China and other dignitaries.

On 23rd March 1983, the squadron took part in the Pakistan Day fly past at Rawalpindi. The base commander Amjad H. Khan, led the A-5 formation which was judged the best of the fly past, and a shield was presented to the squadron to mark the occasion. Since No.16 was the first to fly the A-5s it was instrumental in converting pilots of Nos. 7 and 26 Squadrons, which received the same aircraft later. For this contribution, Wing Commander Hamid Saeed was commended with a certificate from the CAS on 23rd March 1984. The squadron was first put to test in exercise Jetstream in 1983 and again when it took part in the armament competition in February 1984.

In November 1985 the squadron became the first A-5 unit to drop live 750 lb. bombs; it also carried out extensive dissimilar aircraft combat training for the first time against F-16s. In December, the squadron participated in exercise Highmark 85 and a year later, in exercise Highmark 86 during which it carried out offensive operations as well as live armament at Thal range.

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