Pakistan Air Force Exercise Saffron Bandit 2018 & PAF Review
Pakistan Air Force (PAF) conducted annual exercise Saffron Bandit in August.
PAF sees the exercise as rigorous training imparted to help in maintaining the cutting edge. Group Captain Ghazi Salah-ud-din, Officer Commanding Air Warfare School gave a detailed briefing about the conduct of the exercise at the closing ceremony held at Air Warfare School, Mushaf on 17 August.
Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force was reported to have participated in the concluding phase of Saffron Bandit and also flew an exercise mission.
Air Chief lauded the level of motivation and thorough professionalism of the PAF personnel and stated that owing to the operational readiness of PAF they can counter any internal or external threat. Exercise Saffron Bandit has been conducted by PAF since 1994.
PAF at present has 20 combat fighter squadrons though only 9 of these will be potentially useful due to the vintage of the F 7 P and Mirage III.
The JF 17 is also not combat proven thus despite the rapid inductions overall capability profile for conventional operations will remain low.
PAF has had good exposure in conducting ground attacks on terrorist bases devoid of air defence cover. Lockheed Martin F 16 Block D was the main platform employed given the versatile weapons systems provided with pinpoint accuracy.
During later phases JF 17 was also used. The employment of JF 17 for these operations has also led to much interest in foreign air forces for purchase of the fighter which at approximately $ 25 million is a cost effective options for employing in counter insurgency operations by countries as Myanmar and Nigeria amongst others
The potential of JF 17 Block 3 needs worth watching as it is expected to have advance avionics and AESA mode radar.
As per the PAF Website, PAF Commands and Command Headquarters are:- Northern Air Command (NAC) Peshawar, Central Air Command (CAC) Lahore, Southern Air Command (SAC) Faisal, Karachi, Air Defence Command (ADC) Chaklala, Rawalpindi, Air Force Strategic Command (AFSC) Islamabad.
PAF Flying Bases include, PAF Base Peshawar, PAF Base Minhas(Kamra), PAF Base Nur Khan , PAF Base M M Alam, PAF Base Mushaf(Sargodha), PAF Base Rafiqui(Shorkot), PAF Base Masroor(Karachi), PAF Base Faisal (Karachi), PAF Base Samungli (Quetta), PAF Base Shahbaz (Jacobabad)