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PAF s' Squadrons

No. 7 Squadron History: 1988-1998

After bidding farewell to the 'Heavies' (B-57s) on 27 December 1983, the agile and sleek A-5s became the flying machines of 7 Squadron. During 1988, the maintenance of the A-5 fleet was going through a turbulent phase, so the men and material of this squadron were distributed among other units. The squadron was temporarily disbanded during the second half of 1988. On 13 November 1989, when the squadron was re-established with A-5s that had been overhauled in China, it took hardly any time to retain its operational status. The squadron participated in all the operational exercises conducted by the PAF. In May 1990, the Air Headquarters declared this squadron as an OCU for A-5 aircraft. A batch of newly graduated fighter pilots from the FCU reported to the squadron and completed their operational conversion successfully. Unfortunately, owing to the limitations of the aircraft ejection seat, many aircrew fatalities took place on the A-5s. Therefore, the fleet was grounded again. During this transitional period, all aircrew except the officer commanding, were attached or posted to other squadrons. On 1 July 1991, PAF Base Masroor recieved the first batch of Martin Baker zero-zero ejection seats and all the A-5s started flying again within a span of two months.

Air Headquarters decided to re-equip No. 7 Squadron with ex-Australian Mirage-III aircraft, and thus the A-5s were transferred to Peshawar. Pilots experienced on Mirage aircraft were initially posted to the squadron to make it operationally stable. Those pilots were dubbed the 'Magnificent Seven' in the squadron history book. They were tasked with the responsibility of restoring the operational status of the squadron as soon as possible. After the first three Mirages had been received from PAC Kamra, the dawn of 24 November 1991 witnessed the first training sorties being generated by the squadron.

During 1992, the squadron continued to gain proficiency on the newly inducted weapon system. On 15 February 1993, the squadron's entire flight assets were swapped with those of 22 OCU. While this change kept the squadron waiting for allotment of role and task by the Air Headquarters, it remained busy while integrating this new weapon system in the squadron. In November 1992, the squadron participated in the exercise Saffron Bandit, for the first time. The squadron also participated in all the operational exercises including High Mark-93 and 95, and air-to-air camp in 1995. The squadron stood fourth overall in the armament competition held in 1996.

The Squadron received the ROSE modified ex-Australian Mirage Aircraft during 1997. It proved its mettle in annual air-to-ground weapons delivery exercises. The squadron participated in the Live Missile Firing Camp, held at PAF Base Masroor in 1998. It had the honour of guarding the aerial frontiers over Baluchistan, prior to Pakistan's nuclear tests. At present, the squadron operates the maximum number of ROSE modified aircraft. After the induction of the new airborne radar, the squadron's role changed from tactical to multi-role unit.

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