Indo-Pak 1971 air war

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Indo-Pak 1971 air war Empty Indo-Pak 1971 air war

Post  Nalin Bakshi on Sun Dec 27, 2009 1:50 pm

Technology superior PAF took on the bigger IAF in 1971 war which started on 3rd Dec 1971 when Pakistani President General Yahya Yahya Khan declared war against India at 1630 hours. Armed with better missiles, Radars & communication systems, PAF was technically superior to IAF. Bigger squadrons, support of USAF(technically), extra fighters given by US & Jordon helped PAF more. Despite this IAF Dominated both the fronts. Why was PAF unable achieve which many in east & west expected it to?

Indo-Pak 1971 air war Hunters-bombing
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Post  smpratik on Sun Dec 27, 2009 6:23 pm

Firstly PAF was equally large enough force because their squadrons were larger and always to 100% capacity were as IAF only had 10-12 birds per squadron, sometimes as less as 6. Most of the PAF force was stationed in the WEST Pakistan and hence IAF was not able to take control of western airspace like they did in east. More over many pilots were Bangladeshis including the Legendary MM Alam, so they were grounded. IAF dominated the war because they were more confident force and had their objectives straight, they had to help the IA reach Dhaka no matter what. IAF did loose lots of aircrafts in the war, it was not like the Israeli domination. In the end IAF was able to carry out more sorties, strike deep into enemy territory, kept hitting hard for 14-15 days, fought every PAF attack and kept achieving their objectives. Naval air-arm went even far by hitting the heart of Pakistan in Karachi.

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Post  Nalin Bakshi on Sun Dec 27, 2009 7:23 pm

smpratik wrote: IAF did loose lots of aircrafts in the war, it was not like the Israeli domination.
IAF lost more because it was assisting troops with low level ground attacks. This made IAF fighters more vulnerable to ground fire. A lot of su-7 were lost in such ground operations which has nothing to do with PAF
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Post  Anup on Sun Dec 27, 2009 9:15 pm

I would say they lost due to the following reasons:-
1] First initiative was lost when their surprise attack on Indian airfields codenamed operation Chengiz Khan although partially successful did not achieve anything close to the stated objective.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Chengiz_Khan
The Pakis do have a tradition of giving flamboyant names to operations but they fail equally spectacularly due to lack in execution. Another example would be Operation Gibralter.
2] Another reason would be that they did have a few Canadian Sabres and Shenyang J-6 stationed in Bangladesh which were destroyed by IAF / Self destroyed by PAF before they got off the ground. Withdrawing them to Pakistan beforehand would have been the best strategy in compliance with their belief that the defense of East Pakistan lay in West Pakistan. Note that the Sabres and Shenyang's numbering around 30-35 could have been used in the first pre emptive attack on India.
3] Third reason would be that India learnt from 1965 when it was out gunned in the air war. This time the Indian jets were kept in fortified pens ,bunkers and the defense infrastructure was vastly improved. The Anti aircraft guns on the ground brought down a large number of PAF fighters.
4] A Fourth reason would be that although PAF was better in air to air armaments such as sidewinders they did not have effective air to ground bombs. Consequently they were able to match the Indians in air to air combat but the Indians destroyed more PAF fighters on the ground which the PAF was not able to do much other than destroy runaways which were quickly repaired..
Here is a link that statistically says that a larger number of PAF aircraft were destroyed ON THE GROUND by India than in the air.
http://orbat.com/site/cimh/iaf/IAF_1971_kills.pdf
5] A Fifth reason would be the Gnat. I don't think i need to elaborate on this. A word of caution would be that the new Pakistani Jf-17 can possibly do the same to the Su-30MKI what the Gnat did to the Sabres. One never knows.
6] A sixth reason would be that the famous starfighters lost to the Mig-21 in the air war. Approx 6 were lost to mig-21's
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Post  Anup on Sun Dec 27, 2009 9:17 pm

Last but not the least, PAF did match IAF toe to toe in the west. However they were not able to complement their army with an air to ground role like the IAF did.
Saying PAF lost the air war in the west would be injustice to them. However they should have dominated the IAF which did not happen and hence we can say they were unsuccessful.
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Post  Nalin Bakshi on Mon Dec 28, 2009 12:00 am

I don't think PAF scored more AA kills than IAF. PAF couldn't do much on either front of which is the ease with IAF did operations to assist ground troops. IAF was able to keep runaways out of commission in east pak & on west they did keep PAF at bay with ease.

Also MiG21 interceptors were used as bombers too. The PAF Had advanced ground radars where as IAF relied on man posts. Here is one good link:
West Pakhttp://www.subcontinent.com/1971war/skies_west.html
East Pakhttp://www.subcontinent.com/1971war/skies.html
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Post  Peregrine on Thu Dec 31, 2009 6:03 am

Here is a break down of IAF losses in the Western front, these do not include any Indian aircraft destroyed on the ground.



Indo-Pak 1971 air war Scan0006-2

Indo-Pak 1971 air war Scan0007-3

Indo-Pak 1971 air war Scan0005-3

Indo-Pak 1971 air war Scan0010-3
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Post  Anup on Thu Dec 31, 2009 2:21 pm

good post peregrine but may i know from where did u get it ?
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Post  Nalin Bakshi on Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:30 pm

The most kills by Pakistan was against bombers and not fighters.
And the heavy losses were due to the fact that IAF flew a lot of ground attack missions.
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