IAF COMBAT KILLS - 1971 INDO-PAK AIR WAR
Author : B. Harry
Updated : v1.1, Sept 06, 2006
The final tally of the 14-day 1971 war announced by Indian Defence Minister Jagjivan Ram, in the Parliament on Dec 18, 1971, puts Pakistani losses at 94 aircraft and Indian losses at 45 (54  ) aircraft. The figure for kills was determined though very strict procedures and does not include damaged aircraft or probable kills. It has not been clear whether these claims refer to PAF losses alone or to all aircraft destroyed in combat or if they include the F-86Es captured at Tejgaon, which would make the numbers much higher. A breakdown of kills was never released officially, although a crude estimate of 75 kills mentioned the Official history of the 1971 war, would include 35 Pakistani aircraft lost to the air action and the rest destroyed on the ground. This document attempts to list to the highest extent possible, all of the claims made by the IAF, in terms of enemy aircraft destroyed during the conflict. Since the IAF itself has not released a single, detailed list of such claims, all the respective tables (especially Table 1.1) are thus incomplete until more information becomes available.
TABLE 1.1.1 - IAF Air to Air kills Dec 1971 1. TABLE 1.2 - Damage, Probable and Close calls
IAF PAF RJAF
Indian Air Force Pakistan Air Force Royal Jordanian Air Force Wing Commander Squadron Leader Flight Lieutenant Flying Officer Baled Out Operational Conversion Unit Killed In Action Prisoner of War Anti Aircraft Artillery Light Machine Gun East Pakistan High Explosive (ammo) Tail Number Serial number
6 7 8
TABLE 2.1 - PAF AAA and Ground to Air Losses TABLE 3.1 - IAF Air to Ground kills Dec 1971 1. TABLE 3.2 - Damage and Probables
W/C S/L F/L F/O B/O
TABLE 3.3 - Decoys OCU KIA
9-10 10-12 13 - 18
Attrition Trends ANALYSIS - A War of Credibility NOTES - Bibliography, References and Excerpts
POW AAA LMG EP
MAP of Western Sector MAP of Eastern Sector
HE t/n s/n
1.1 - IAF Air to Air claims Dec 1971 – Confirmed
Kill Aircraft Sqn Claimant
22 Nov 71 22 Nov 71 22 Nov 71 04 Dec 71 04 Dec 71 04 Dec 71 04 Dec 71 04 Dec 71 04 Dec 71 04 Dec 71 05 Dec 71 06 Dec 71
F-86E F-86E F-86E F-86E F-86E F-86E F-86E F-86E F-86E ?Mirage III or F-86 F-86E F-86 F-86E (t/n 4030) F-86E (t/n 3856) F-6 (t/n 1703) F-104A (s/n 56-773) F-86 F-86 2x F-86 F-6 F-6 F-104A F-6 F-104A
Gnat F.1 Gnat F.1 Gnat F.1 Hunter Hunter Hunter Hunter Hunter Hunter Hunter HF-24 Mk.1 Gnat F.1
22 22 22 20 17 17 14 37 ?? 27 220 18
F/L R A Massey F/L M A Ganapathy F/O D Lazarus W/C C V Parker W/C N Chatrat F/L V K Neb W/C R Sundaresan F/O H Masand F/O S Jayendra F/O Sudhir Tyagi S/L K K Bakshi S/L V S Pathania
Boyra Boyra Boyra Peshawar Dacca Dacca Dacca Dacca Dacca Murid Nayachor Srinagar
W/C Chaudhary (14 sqn) / BO over EP F/O Khalil Ahmed (14 sqn) / POW F/L Pervez Quereshi (14 sqn) / POW Not listed as confirmed by No.20 sqn F/L Saeed Afzal Khan (14 sqn) / KIA W/C S M Ahmed (14 sqn) / KIA S/L Dilawar Hussain (14 sqn) F/O Sajjad Noor (14 sqn) 14 sqn ?5 sqn (See note.3)
07 Dec 71
F/O Hamid Khawaja (17 sqn) Pilot crashed while chasing Hunter, acc. to the PAF. (See note.3) S/L Aslam Chaudhry / KIA F/L Ejazuddin (23 sqn) / BO W/C M L Middlecoat (9 sqn) / KIA
10 Dec 71 12 Dec 71 12 Dec 71 13 Dec 71 13 Dec 71 15 Dec 71 16 Dec 71 16 Dec 71 17 Dec 71 17 Dec 71 17 Dec 71
Hunter Su-7BMK MiG-21FL Hunter Hunter Hunter T.66 MiG-21FL MiG-21FL MiG-21FL Su-7BMK MiG-21FL
20 32 47 OCU OCU OCU 29 29 29 ? 29
S/L R N Bharadwaj F/L S S Malhotra F/L B B Soni F/L K S Suresh S/L F J Mehta W/C M N Singh S/L F J Mehta F/L S B Shah F/L S B Shah S/L I S Bindra ? F/L Niraj Kukreja
Chamb Mianwalli Jamnagar Talhar Talhar Nayachor Nayachor ?Uttarlai Uttarlai Shakargarh Nayachor
F/O N N A Baig (19 sqn) Maneuver kill. Both targets flew into the ground. Escort mission Wreckage found by Indian Army . 9 sqn (RJAF) From Official history  9 sqn (RJAF)
17 Dec 71
F-104A (s/n 56-787)
F/L Samad Changezi (9 sqn) / KIA
Confirmed from PAF chronicler, John Fricker's, records 
Damage. Rockets were fired at aerial target. Listed as accident during raid. See note 4 F-104A mentioned in official records  as seen crashing but more likely.
4 Dec 1971 4 Dec 1971
Gnat F. Probable. Probable. No claims. Intercepted and photographed. by Pakistan. Not claimed by squadron but mentioned in citation. Claimed hit .20 sqn but unlikely.TABLE
F/O N S Sekhon
17 Dec 1971
F/L S B Shah
4 Dec 1971
F/O K P Murlidharan
4 Dec 1971 4 Dec 1971 4 Dec 1971
F-86 F-86E F-86
Hunter MiG-21FL Hunter
20 30 20
S/L K N Bajpai ? W/C C V Parker
Peshawar Kalaikunda ---
4 Dec 1971
F-86E ( t/n 1689) F-86 Mirage-IIIEP
W/C C V Parker
Peshawar >40 nm from Peshawar Murid
4 Dec 1971 4 Dec 1971
F/L C S Dhillon F/O Sudhir Tyagi
8 Dec 1971
F-6 (t/n 1508)
Su-7BMK (s/n B-910)
F/L R G Kadam
9 Dec 1971
>9 Dec 1971
W/C T J Master F/O Sreekanth or S/L Brian de Magry
12 Dec 1971
HF-24 Mk. Pilot was firing at target but was eventually SD and KIA. probable. 2 K-13 AAMs were launched and a proximity hit recorded. Probable. 1 F-86 claimed as shot and 1 damaged.1
? W/C Johnny Greene
Mirage claimed as hit. Listed as 'Probable' K-13 launched and claimed to hit wing of target. K-13 launched. Pilot B/O reported. Damage claim but write off unlikely. Probable kill. Target disappeared from radar. Engagement inconclusive. F/L Nayyar Iqbal / KIA (17 sqn). initially but claim seems to have been revised to no kills.2 .1 Gnat F. K-13 launched and observed to hit. Target claimed damaged in citation. Aircombat with target attacked and result unknown.IAF Air to Air claims Dec 1971 . Probable kill claimed by No. See note**. F/L AJ Siddqui* (23 sqn) is claimed by the PAF to have been shot while chasing this formation. 5 min aircombat.1
12 Dec 71
F-104A or F86 F-104A F-86E
S/L V Kapila
12 Dec 1971
14 Dec 1971 F-86E
Gnat F. No claim. The pilots of both sides were KIA.
have actually been shown to be a confirmed kill when some timely and selective admission of losses show up on Pakistani records. returned safely. during the same encounter. * Loss also attributed to own AAA or possible fratricide by Leader. The latter is confirmed to have transferred at least 3 F-5E to the PAF. 2. flying the Marut. There is no mention of any engagement on 12 Dec. it is quite likely that the Mirage did suffer a number of air-to-air losses at the hands of IAF fighters. the PAF lined up  no more than 22 Mirage-III fighters at on. due to formalities concerning US clearance. In a major PR exercise following the 1971 war.Notes
1. writes  that F/O Hamid Khawaja was shot down by KK Bakshi. SS Malhotra's F-6 kill is one such example  3. Polly Singh.
  
that all 6
. with one claimed to having been written off in a 'training sortie' prior to the war and another undergoing repairs. Pakistani sources have not been clear. However. the IAF does not claim a kill and the record is mentioned for reference and study only. Since the IAF only claimed 1-2 Mirage-IIIs confirmed as destroyed on the ground and 1 shot down by AAA. on 07 Dec 1971. some sources  claim that additional Mirages were supplied during wartime by an unspecificied Middle Eastern ally. according to Dassault and other sources   . However. but these were claimed by Pakistan to have arrived only after the war ended. the PAF took delivery of no less than 28 Mirage-IIIs in and not 24 Mirages as claimed by the PAF. near Hyderabad. it is possible that he shot down AJ Siddiqui before going down.
4. possibly Libya. While Kadam was shot down by W/C Hashmi (PAF) and KIA. There have been cases where a number of IAF probable claims or no claims from an encounter where a target was engaged. a prominent IAF author. ** Damaged aircraft were said to have been noted by eyewitnesses but the PAF maintains aircraft of the formation which attacked the lone Gnat. is attributed to ‘Joe’ (S/L KK Bakshi). in order to claim that none had been lost in combat. Furthermore. PC Lal  mentions (pg 288) another engagement on the last day of the war (17 Dec) where a second
Marut kill of an F-86.
29 AD Regt Zafarwal / Claimed by Pakistan as fratricide
Zafarwal / Hav Uttam Jawalge.1 . 27 AD Regt Amritsar Amritsar / Hav Gopala Krishnan. 27 AD Regt
S/L Amjad Khan / POW Claimed hit but unlikely F/L Javed Iqbal / KIA F/L G M Malik / KIA
6 Dec 1971
S/L I Hameed / KIA S/L Z Ahmed / KIA
6 Dec 1971
B-57B (t/n 3939) 3x F-86 F-6 (t/n 4110) F-86F (t/n 1657) F-86 F-86F F-104A Mirage-III F-6 F-86 Mirage-III F-6
S/L Khusro / KIA S/L Peter Christy / KIA Claim  F/L Wajid Ali Khan / POW S/L Cecil Choudhry / BO Claim  F/L Fazal Elahi / KIA Claim  Claim F/L Shahid Raza / KIA Claim Claimed 'hit' Claim 
AAA Small Arms fire LMG AAA AAA AAA Naval air defence AAA AAA AAA AAA AAA
6 Dec 1971 7 Dec 1971 7 Dec 1971 7 Dec 1971 8 Dec 1971 9 Dec 1971 10 Dec 1971 11 Dec 1971 11 Dec 1971 14 Dec 1971 17 Dec 1971
?Chamb / 26 Division Marala / Naik Bal Bahadur. 501 AD Grp Okha Pathankot Shakar Garh / Hav M Kycharala.TABLE
2. 45 AD Regt Amritsar Jammu Shakargarh
.PAF AAA and Ground Fire Losses
Victim / Status
Sector / Claimant
3 Dec 1971 3 Dec 1971 4 Dec 1971 5 Dec 1971 5 Dec 1971 6 Dec 1971
F-104A B-57B B-57B F-104A (s/n 804) B-57B B-57B
Claim  Unknown / KIA Claim
AAA 3x SA-2 AAA AAA AAA AAA
Amritsar Halwara (crashed in Pakistan) Amritsar Amritsar / Hav T C Ramaswamy.
Gen Chuck Yeager's personal aircraft.TABLE
3. Solitary DHC-6 in East Pakistan.3 Two B-57Bs were targeted while being refueled. 8 total claims by sqn on Masroor strikes. Wreckage photographed. The most prolific kill of the war. This was Brig. Burning wreckage confirmed by Su-7 photorecce at 1200 hrs. See section 3. EX (P)
4 Dec 1971 4 Dec 1971
3x F-86E* ?Bristol-170
?W/C A Sridharan ?W/C A Sridharan
Tejgaon Tejgaon or Kurmitola
4 Dec 1971
Mirage-III or F-104A
F/O S Balasubramanian
Attackers got airborne at 1035 hrs. Navy. Admitted by Pakistan (Radio)
due to Air to Ground Action
4 Dec 1971
3x Pilatus PC3 DHC-6 Twin Otter F-86F in Pen (t/n 1187)
W/C B K Bishnoi
Identified as light aircraft. 1st attack. Confirmed from gun camera footage. Claim  but not mentioned in leader's own account. Navy.
4 Dec 1971
W/C B K Bishnoi
4 Dec 1971
F/L A A Rozario
4 Dec 1971
W/C CV Parker VM
4 Dec 1971
F/O A Sathaye
4 Dec 1971 4 Dec 1971
Mirage-III 3x F-86
F/O A Sathaye S/L VK Bhatia
4 Dec 1971
Lt Arun Prakash. Strikes were on 4 and 5 Dec. 1 C-130 confirmed destroyed. Aircraft was being loaded with troops. Credited with destroying 6 aircraft on the ground in citation. 3 C-130 were spotted and all three were hit. EX (P)
5 Dec 1971
Beech Queen Air (USAF)
F/O B C Karambaya
5 Dec 1971
C-130 DHC-6 Twin Otter (s/n 13808)
S/L Bharadwaj VM F/L S S Gahlaut S/L Bharadwaj VM
5 Dec 1971
20 F/L S S Gahlaut
Shared kill.1 . See 3. Wreckage photographed Admitted by Pakistan Claimed as decoys by Pakistan but thick black smoke was noticed.IAF Air to Ground kills Dec 1971 . The kill was described as a 'needle nosed' aircraft.3 Possibly includes RT-33s. see note. The destruction was described by the same as 'The Indian way of giving Uncle Sam the finger!'  Shared kill
4 Dec 1971
2x F-86 3x B-57B
4/5 Dec 1971
Hunter 3x F-86 C-130 Hunter
W/C D M Conquest
5 Dec 1971
Lt Arun Prakash. 2 damaged. Photographed by W/C Mangat.
by aircraft from the IAF's No. notably those from Iran. Last remaining Elint RB-57D.3848 . (so far) 2 Confirmed 
5x F-86F ( t/ns 1095 8 Dec 1971 .
16 Dec 1971
W/C B K Bishnoi (see comment*)
* The figure of 11 F-86Es and 2 RT-33s disabled. Thus the aircraft destroyed by the Su-7s on 4 Dec 1971. 2.193) that 11 aircraft were located on the ground at Tejgaon (Dhaka) but some of them had been destroyed by air-strikes and some of them had been disabled by the Pakistanis themselves. But from what can be concluded from the mentioned evidence is that out of the PAF's entire deployment in East Pakistan. were known to have operated in West Pakistan. were most certainly attacked. supplying spares and other vital supplies. After the liberation of Bangladesh and the Pakistani surrender. On 10 Dec 1971.India claims between 19 and 22 units whereas Pakistan claims 16 to 18.6 Dec 1971
RB-57D (t/n 3934)
W/C K K Badhwar
Admitted by Pakistan.3851. Foreign C-130s. Five F-86s were recovered by India for Bangladesh. No mention in PAF accounts. 4018 ) 8 Dec 1971 8 Dec 1971 3x F-6 C-130 Light aircraft
? ? F/O B C Karambaya
8 Dec 1971
20 F/L A L Deoskar
The Hunters attacked aircraft being pushed into Pens. The exact figure for the number of F-86Es in East  Pakistan does not remain certain . the IAF personnel at Tejgaon were able to recover no more than five F-86Es and no mention is made of other aircraft. could have included the RT-33s among the targets attacked. All destroyed aircraft were fully armed and four were in Pens. It is unclear whether any foreign C-130s were attacked and destroyed while operating at Pakistani airfields. PC Lal  does mention (p. only five F-86Es survived intact. is a purely PAF claim.106 recon squadron. Loss admitted by Pakistan but no respective IAF accounts discovered. there is no specific mention of them being found or recovered at Tejgaon as per IAF records and their air activity is also never mentioned in PAF records. First pass of attack. an Iranian C-130 was photographed  off-loading supplies at an airstrip near Gwadar.
8 Dec 1971 9 Dec 1971 11/12 Dec 1971
Transport (?Bristol 170) Light aircraft Light aircraft
Hunter ? Canberra
20 ? 16
S/L Bharadwaj VM ? ?W/C Gautam
Murid Nawabshah Tejgaon
Destroyed in proximity blast of 4000 lb bomb.
. Disabled by PAF after permanent destruction of runway by MiG-21FLs.3839. although suspected supply points such as Nawabshah. Although the RT-33s were confirmed to be in service.
IAF Air to Ground kills Dec 1971 . 400 rounds of 30 mm HE were put into a large hangar which thus emitted black smoke. Navy.Damage
4 Dec 1971
F/O A Sathaye
Destroyed 2nd Attack.TABLE
3. Described as Arun's "Lobster thermidor". Claimed destroyed and listed as probable. Probable  (official history/ records) Smoke from aircraft fires noted. EX (P) 4 Dec 1971 2x C-130 Hunter 20 F/O BC Karambaya Pilot fired into the open mouth of the pen and black smoke of aircraft on fire was observed. indicating aircraft fires.
4 Dec 1971
S/L VK Bhatia
Lt Arun Prakash. Damage to wing and tail sections. Navy. 57mm rockets were used to destroy the Hangar Claimed by Pakistan to have "caught fire" while "servicing" / Write off  Chakala Damaged
5 Dec 1971
Aircraft in Blast Pen
F/O S Balasubramanian
5 Dec 1971 6/7 Dec 1971
Shorkot Drigh Road (Karachi)
F/L AA Rozario 7 Dec 1971 Aircraft in Hangar Hunter 20 F/O R Demonte Kohat
8 Dec 1971
Lt Arun Prakash. EX (P)
8 Dec 1971
Hangar B-57B ( s/n 3945)
S/L VK Bhatia
8 Dec 1971
. Gun camera was ineffective in fading light.2 . 1430 hrs.
not including the 191 sorties  flown by aircraft of the INS Vikrant. it must be mentioned that through extremely strict standards of observation and reconnaissance plus pre and post-war intelligence.
3. Transports and Helicopters logged no less than 588 "combat" sorties .000 sorties. Director.IAF Air to Ground kills Dec 1971 – D e c o y s
Both the IAF and PAF were known to have deployed several decoys in the form of dummy and retired aircraft. Destroyed but explosion pattern confirmed them as decoys. totally. It would appear that combat aircraft (fighters. In his article "Some Reflections on the IAF" . Destroyed but noted as decoys. the IAF also logged no less than 7346 combat sorties  . with 2914 combat sorties. during the  war.178) and cross referencing this with his attrition figures [see chart 2] . No kills claimed. Here are a few examples where they were encountered.3 . The PAF officially logged 3076 sorties in total. or the sorties by other segments of Naval aviation and Army aviation. it would appear that the IAF itself did indeed log something in the area of 15. Identified and Ignored
5 Dec 1971
3x F-86 decoys
7 Dec 1971
2x F-86 Decoys
W/C CV Parker
8 Dec 1971
7x F-6 decoys
S/L VK Bhatia
For the period of the war. While it was highly convenient to claim that destroyed or attacked aircraft on the ground were actually decoys. the IAF never claimed any as actual kills. In some cases they were identifiable before being attacked and in others. they did not display the thick black smoke expected. meaning that they suffered almost twice the amount of losses at less than half the combat sortie rate. No kills were claimed. Kurmitola mostly had dummy aircraft. Center for Air Power Studies. Air Commodore Jasjit Singh AVSM VrC VM (Retd). bombers) alone apparently logged between 6542 (PAF estimate  ) and 6758  combat sorties. mentions that Transports and Helicopters flew around 7500 sorties in total (p.
?4 Dec 1971
were considered. post war intelligence and survey. The IAF was also considerably more generous in releasing wreckage and gun camera evidence into the public domain. Very strict procedures and missions  for evaluating the validity of a kill claim were followed. numbers had very little meaning or immediate worth for the Indian side. only perfectly clear gun camera footage and/or enemy admissions of losses. should also come into consideration. with little or nothing to gain from additional propaganda from inflating kill figures and hiding own losses. although plenty of such intercept records existed on tape. With objectives and air superiority fully achieved. in light of the outcome of the same conflict which has been so decisive. wreckage in own territory and from reconnaissance over enemy territory. that influenced the overall outcome of the war. Even so. The credibility of a Secular Democracy over a Military Dictatorship known for oppression  of its own people. using several sources for a single claim.
.A War of Credibility
While it is generally said that the actual figure for kills/losses or the truth lies somewhere in between the claims of both sides. one must also note that the 1971 war was an outright decisive victory for India. such as gun camera film. numbers and more importantly. the Indian estimate of kills (94) and own losses can be deemed fairly accurate. attrition. have always been secondary when compared to actual objectives achieved. Therefore. For air-to-air and air-to-ground claims. Radio intercepts and intelligence reports alone were not  usually considered sufficient evidence to confirm a kill.
so that the PAF could once again claim a 3-4:1 kill ratio in its favor and save face. Overall. all of these paid by the Shah of Iran under US orders. Additional US Declassified  documents further mention the supply of about another 2 squadrons of aircraft from Turkey and 12 more F-104s after the war had concluded.27 which 'disappeared' at sea). which. despite reports foreign reinforcement. Pakistan Army Aviation or civilian losses (barring a single Fokker F. was eventually acknowledged by Pakistan. On 16 Dec. from his autobiography. Both Offensive Counter Air (OCA) and Defensive Counter Air (DCA) sorties showed an extreme fall from 4 Dec to 17 Dec. the PAF never ever showed up. well after the Pakistani surrender. which had a MiG-19 variant. against the IAF's actual strength of 625 combat aircraft. a retired Pakistani Brigadier. on 13 December 1971. the PAF had built an invincible image for itself until the outcome of the 1971 conflict proved otherwise. Pakistani sources even needed to fabricate the IAF's strength in order to once again portray a David-vs-Goliath  struggle. MiG-23s and MiG-19s. is selectively quoted by Pakistanis in support of PAF claims. how could that have ever happened? Perhaps this embarrassingly false account simply added to the PAF's lack of credibility. Brig General Chuck Yeager's account  of the war. the PAF sortie rate dropped from 240 sorties on 4 Dec 1971. bore a desert camouflage. without the IAF's dominance over the battlefield and the consequential ability to provide uninterrupted support to ground forces throughout the conflict. Pakistan acknowledged the loss of no more than 42 aircraft to all causes including operational accidents and units disabled by self.The situation in Pakistan was thus quite the opposite. Given that foreign aircraft were already photographed supplying equipment to Pakistan during the war and taking into consideration the examples of the F-104A and F-5 transfers. Besides the mentioned examples. This was not initially mentioned in Pakistani accounts. when Indian tanks broke the protective cordon in the Zafarwal area. Eventually. For example. such as the claim that India wanted to keep East Pakistan for itself. it was the PAF itself and not the IAF. where just 4 Hunters wiped out an entire Pakistani armored regiment. Neither was air support provided at all  when Karachi was attacked. All of the mentioned. while Offensive Air Support sorties. to 150 sorties on 15 Dec and finally 215 sorties per day on 17 Dec. in possession of. The most famous example would be the transfer of 11 RJAF F-104A Starfighters to Pakistan. indicate the IAF's local air superiority plus a solid depletion of    available numbers in the PAF aircraft fleet. but Pakistan maintains that these units arrived only on Dec 27. Finally. confirmed the transfer. and despite this. not including foreign aircraft such as Brigadier General Chuck Yeager's Beech Queen Air. The PAF was nowhere to be seen on 5 Dec at Longewella. including but not restricted to the fantasy of a 4:1 kill ratio in its favor. After suitable fairytales about the 1965 war fed to the public. declassified US documents . Yet. However. Pakistan does not acknowledge the transfer of any other aircraft although Indian    sources as well as independent sources constantly mention the transfer of several additional F-86  Sabres and possibly Mirage-IIIEPs from Middle Eastern sources. where the PAF "whipped their (Indian) asses in the sky ". and these not only added to its combat element but more importantly. the credibility of the same is also completely destroyed through the inclusion of certain laughable gems in his own assessment. during the follow on 1971 conflict. the possibility of additional loaner aircraft during wartime cannot be easily written off despite PAF denials. that the IAF operated the MiG-21J (not inducted until 1973 as the MiG21MF) and that F-86 and F-104 Starfighters constituted half the PAF fleet of 500 aircraft! Yeager gives away his agenda by explicitly labeling the conflict as a surrogate war between the Soviet Union (India) and America (Pakistan). Also transferred were at least 3 Libyan Northrop F-5Es. Therefore. a prominent PAF author . no PAF air support was provided  despite requests. Yeager also mentions that the outcome on the ground was the complete opposite of the outcome of the air war. It is thus unsurprising to see so many independent air-power and airwar analysts    castigate the PAF for the use of rather bare faced propaganda. The tank busting over Longewella lasted not a few hrs. the Shenyang F-6C. The PAF has always accused Bengali defectors of giving away deployment details and information to the Indian side but such access to information only makes Indian claims relating to the PAF. The PAF extensively received foreign assistance and aircraft throughout the war. more accurate. helped camouflage the extent of its losses. With not only a decisive defeat at hand but a comparatively low sortie rate (which increases the overall attrition figure even with a small number of losses). fueled in the past by ridiculous claims. it is confirmed  that the PAF's sortie rate slowly decreased day-by-day.
. as the conflict proceeded. Funnily enough. numbers meant everything. despite desperate pleas  for air support from the latter. was first noted by IAF pilots when the F-104s they shot  down. claims  that the IAF was in fact. claims that the IAF had no less than 1200 combat aircraft alone. but nearly two whole days. showed an increase . as early as 1965. very strategic figures for kills (suitably high) and losses (suitably low) needed to be carefully fabricated. Another author.
When the above became too apparent. Both Yeager and Russian personnel  began to think that the Su-7s and MiG-21s had been modified with weapons aiming computers and precision guided weaponry. While the PAF would try to have both the world and its own country believe that it had achieved a major victory over India in September 1965.
. exposing themselves much more to enemy fire under low fuel states which made engagement of patrolling aircraft very difficult.000 casualties and 253 tanks lost in combat. transport and recce sorties. In the PAF's case. So while the Indians were drawing strength from their superior training and tactics. The intensity of ground fire over Pakistani territory is however. with about 93. even though the actual outcome was the opposite. despite what the PAF claims. due to nothing more than fantasy accounts from the 1965 air war. The Indian Army acknowledges  the fact that the IAF played a critical role in achieving the decisive victory within a very short period of 14 days. flew an almost completely offensive air campaign ( 65.000 soldiers taken as POW. Rather than the joy of victory. The IAF couldn't have done so without achieving air superiority. unlike India. perfect. and was dependant on external sources. the IAF considers the lessons learnt in combat for the future review and refinement of tactics and procedures. it is quite clear that the IAF won the air war of 1971 and high level Pakistani Army sources    are now starting to acknowledge the same at some level or the other. Truth is indeed. over 20. thus acknowledging the existence of and consequently weeding out the weaknesses. which became Bangladesh. sometimes up to 8 passes when fuel reserves were sufficient. The IAF in contrast. The IAF's performance (in some cases) was so good that some authors  began to estimate that the missions were conducted under AWACS control of a 'loaned' Soviet Tu-126 Moss. illustrated by the number of related fratricide claims made by the PAF. Whatever the real statistics are. The first would be the fact that the Pakistanis enjoyed a technologically superior Air Force and were mostly on the defensive while the IAF was flying most of its aircraft in offensive sorties over Pakistan. as far more important. The IAF for example. being purely DCA sorties. from their own side   as well as from the international side   . The PAF also could not boast of support from a indigenous Defence industry. making refinements in tactics and carefully planning for future action.The PAF almost exclusively flew defensive   sorties with 61. The second factor is that the PAF became a victim   of its own propaganda from the 1965 war with India. stranger than fiction.5% according to a serving PAF author  or up to 80% according to Indian sources ). The latter also allowed the IAF to fly more photo-reconnaissance missions for accurate damage assessment. poor. the PAF was drawing strength from a fictitious past victory over India. the fact remains that neither was the overall conduct of the IAF. Lastly.500 sq. it was the IAF which got the job done. At the end of the day. Despite the mentioned perceptions however. plus a massive 5. suffered massive losses to ground-fire (65 to 80 % of total combat losses) and some of the primary causes were attributed as 'overenthusiasm' or in some cases 'indiscipline'  in taking more attack passes than allowed. she was facing a better trained and better disciplined opponent which had carefully planned its course of action. the Indians carefully studied their past actions and force levels. nor was the conduct of the PAF. while the procedures used both the opposing air forces needed some improvement. Unfortunately. Pakistan lost the whole of East Pakistan. miles of territory  in the West. as a consequence of oppression  and attempted racial discrimination . it had also lost a considerable amount of its East Pakistani (Bengali) personnel. This perspective can be attributed to a number of factors. both Pakistani piloting skills and the PAF's tactical and strategic planning came under severe criticism. this was compounded by the underestimation of IAF capability and the overestimation of self capability. thus setting themselves up for a massacre.5%  of the overall effort and up to 70%  excluding bomber.
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 "by 14 December. p. No. Fricker John.tripod.174. 1971. Pratap Chandra.PVSM. "Sam's Indian Air Force down under". "Transition to triumph Indian Navy 1965-75".1. A. Times of India  Lal. "Journal of an Air War". Stewart Wilson. References and Excerpts
 Chapters 10 and 14. Vol. 2006 (All No. Pakistan's Army Aviation. New Delhi. John Fricker. May 1972. "When Lightnings Strike : No.Gen. 1969-74. Air Enthusiast.K Niazi. Volume 2.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB79/#3  Faqir Syed Aijazuddin Khan. Indian Air Force 1956-2006". No.com (archive of 2001)  Vice Admiral GM Hiranandhini (Retd.A. Monsoon 2004 edition  Pushpindar Singh. Lancer International  "Two PAA artillery
-spotting and reconnaissance Cessna O -1s were blasted out of the sky during the 1971 war by the 30mm ADEN cannon of marauding Indian Hawker Hunters over the battlefield .58 54 Sabres ". 6 April 1972  Editors footnote from official sources.gwu. Air Marshal M.  Wing Cdr Ashok Sadashiv Limaye. Oxford University Press  Air Commodore Jasjit Singh AVSM VrC VM (Retd). My years with the IAF. The White House & Pakistan. The Society for Aerospace Studies. Secret Declassified Documents. ISBN 0185777271
. the Indian air force had achieved alarming success Shaukat Raza.
1971  "The Indian air force dispersa
l (of its air units) plus the spotty operational efficiency and dubious tactics of the PAF operating from West Pakistan bases blunted an effort to emulate the Israeli air blitz against Egypt in 1967 ". Islamabad. AWST.com/may98/fightergap1.
"Trying to catch the Indian Air Force napping.
 December 20. Dec 13. Major RG Kyle. "Demons of December ..com/2000/nov/pak-army.com/IAF/History/1971War/Longewala. ".htm  "The PAF's performance in 1971 did not come up to public expec tation. Feroze sons. the aircraft of Russian origin. the air force was kept on the defensive. Maj (Retd) Agha Humayun Amin. PAF failed to provide imaginative leadership to plan and direct the air effort. AVSM. this defies explanation. February 02. "Indian-Pakistan War of 1971: A Modern War". Bawa. Yahya Khan. 1971
 Inflated Perceptions about Pakistani military effectiveness. "Great Battles of the Pakistan Airforce" and
"Pakistan Air Force Combat Heritage" (pafcombat) et al. boasted that. ".html  "the IAF influenced the war significantly with relatively small losses while the PAF flew far fewer sorties with greater losses and less effect. and Yahya's strategy of scattering his thin air force over a dozen air fields was a bust! ". When the Indians changed their strategy on or about December 7. tired and
ill-equipped eastern garrison completed all the given tasks under the worst possible conditions against overwhelming odds. Interview with Lt Gen A A Khan Niazi. VM. 2004. http://www. Defence Journal http://www. was the C -in-C PAF drunk? ".500 square miles of territory in less than 10 days under conducive conditions. ISBN 9690018922  "Air support was not provided in the Zafarwal sector. and why the western garrison. “if India was not supported by Soviet Union. "Pakistan Army Since 1965". the PAF was not prepared to change over during the short war to meet the new enemy threat. The C -in-C. Pakistani pilots were inept.htm  Air Marshal (retd. Indian Air Force Journal. Hamid Hussain. http://www.com/. http://www.bharatrakshak./news/2004/feb/02inter1. Fazal Muqeeum Khan. Rediff. and remained helpless.htm
 "A former Air Force Chief.34. with enough forces and resources and having the initiative. Newsweek.htm
. http://www. Marine Corps Command and Staff College. Whereas it could undertake its own Def ence. 1984. Kaiser Tufail. "The saga of Longewella". launched a Pakistani version of Israel's 1967 air blitz in hopes that one quick blow wou ld cripple India's far superior air power. A ir Marshal Jamal Ahmad Khan while commenting about the pathetic performance of the air force in 1971. National Book Foundation. it could not generate offensive support. "A military exercise should also be held to find out how and why the small. namely the MiG-21FL and Su-7BMK represented only 34 % of the IAF fleet strength ).Gen. "The Fighter Gap". Sqn Ldr Shuaib Alam Khan. Both strategically and tactically. p.Road from East Pakistan to Bangladesh".defencejournal. ". failed and lost 5.
"Pakistan's Crisis in Leadership".S. Royal Canadian Artillery.defencejournal. Editorial.rediff. But India was alert.) M. PVSM. 1973
 Group Captain M. It was deployed in depth but too thinly.defencejournal.com/2002/dec/demons. after the first three days. 1997. Maj. Pakistan Air Force would have crippled Indian air force " (Note : However.
 Flight International.  No. Pusphindar Singh. Dec 9. On the eve of their attack.in  Air Marshal (retd. Vayu Aerospace Review.nic. which is being fought on two major fronts
is undoubtedly going in India's favor despite extravagant Pakistani claims. but first impressions are that the IAF has the upper hand "
Flight International. But no one thought to warn General Yeager. "Air Operations of Dec 1971". however have gone largely unchallenged. New Delhi
 " The war between India and Pakistan.47 sqn history. 1942-1992".Pakis tan. but these were reported to be ineffectual. He raged to his cowering colleagues at a staff meeting. "War in Peace . certainly the Indian sortie rate has been consistently high.a reversal of the earlier situation in E. Fighter Units.7 Squadron IAF. I never found out how the United Nations reacted to the destruction of its plane. Dec 16. On the western front Pakistani aircraft have been maintaining attacks on bases in NW India. Repeated attacks by IAF Su -7s against Pakistani air bases. Dodging antiaircraft fire. New Delhi 1991. His voice resounding through the embassy. but Yeager's response was anything but dispassionate. the Punjab and the New Delhi area. "Fiza'ya: Psyche of the
Pakistan Air Force. Official website of the Indian airforce. "The Battle Axes : No. indianairforce. of "at least 74 Indian aircraft" having been destroyed. 1971
 It was the morning after the initial Pakistani strike that Yeager began to tak
e the war with India personally. part. reported in one newspaper. he proclaimed that the
. he could see only two small planes on the ground. One was Yeager 's Beechcraft. in Kashmir. the Pakistanis had been prudent enough to evacuate their planes from airfields close to the Indian border and move them back into the hinterlands. Peter Steinemann. New Delhi. Thus. Himalayan Books  HP Willimott. Ravi Rikhye. it is difficult to make any clear assessment of the relative effectiveness and successes of either air force. 1971
Dec10 : In W.Pakistan . The Society for Aerospace studies. when an Indian fighter pilot swept low over Islamabad's airport in India's first retaliatory strike.) CV Gole. the PAF claimed it was shooting down more Indian aircraft than it was losing itself . 1993.An analysis of Warfare since 1945"  Pushpindar Singh. Dec 1991. With the war being fought on two widely separated fronts." Society for Aerospace Studies. he blasted both to smithereens with 20 -millimeter cannon fire. The other was a plane used by United Nations forces to supply the patrols that monitored the ceasefire line in Kashmir. as have raids against Karachi.
operating primarily in the air Defence role. Oct. but it is clear that India effectively won the air war in 1971. "the Indian way of giving Uncle Sam the finger. and appropriate requirements were drawn up "
Jon Lake. although it underline the importance of a number of re -equipment plans. and that the Pakistan Air Force emerged with a dented reputation and was blamed by the man on the street for 'letting down the nat ion'
World Air Power Journal.' he relates in his book. "The right stuff in the wrong place" . He vanished from his office. The end of the war brought with it major analyses of IAF performance but most reports indicated t hat refinement rather than revolutionary change was all that was required. wasn't seen again in Islamabad until the war was over. Washington Monthly. and. Some 28 Mirages were supplied by France.findarticles. the bulk of Indian losses were to ground fire. 1985
http://www. perhaps to allow for rapid transfer of more of these aircraft had the war gone on for a longer period.5 squadron at Saragodha during the 1971 war. Achieving 80 percent se rviceability. the Indians demonstrated an edge. Air Power Analysis : Indian Airpower.
which was not found wanting. World Air Power Journal.com/p/articles/mi_m1316/is_v17/ai_3959887
 "The 1971 war with Pakistan was the proving ground for the new air force (IAF). flying F -104s and the delivery of betwee n 25 and 70 F -86s from Saudi Arabia. It wasn't a long period. the Indian Air Force mounted some 4000 sorties in the west and 1978 in the east. The IAF concentrated on interdiction sorties.') The destruction of the Beechcraft was the last straw for Yeager. became an independent country. Exact kill and loss figures remain controversial to this day. despite preemptive strikes by the PAF against many IAF airfields. and Yahya resigned in disgrace.Chuck Yeager's crash landing in Pakistan. known as Bangladesh. although very often cited. Air Power Analysis : Pakistan
The Mirage -IIIEP served with No.
. preventing a major Pakistani offensive against In dia. officially and unofficially)
 Interestingly the PAF was augmented during the war by No. Despite much propaganda by Pakistan and its apologists. and in the air.Indian pilot not only knew exactly what he was doing but had been specifically instructed by Indira Gandhi to blast Yeag er's plane. Volume 12 (Note : Sortie rate incorrect. the Indians took only two weeks to trounce the Pakistanis. to the best of my knowledge. Ingraham. He was so drunk during his televised farewell spe ech that the camera focused not on him but on a small table radio across the room
Edward C. East Pakistan.9 squadron of the
Royal Jordanian Air force. It is also believed that Libya sent a training detachment of F -5s. ("It was.
a classic example of an air force without the support of an indigenous aircraft industry. when east Pakist an declared independence as the new state of Bangladesh . 128 Su -7 and 165 Gnat fighte rs. Nearly 85 Canberra night bombers were also available. The IAF had not deployed too many aircraft forward. some of them belonging to the very advanced category and the remainder of substantial capabilities.
Chris Bishop. when the Indians would be least likely to expect such an attack. Even the obsolete Vampire (224) and Ouragon (50) fighters could be used in areas uncontested by the PAF. Vol.1948-1988". though six extra aircraft were said to have been supplied by a Middle Eastern ally. smaller but more populous than the west. The war lasted till 16 December. and "History of Pakistan Air Force .200 aircraft. close to the frontier and those that were had been stored in concrete hangars invulnerable to anything less than a direct hit. The PAF played a more limited role in the operations. . ISBN 0007115679
"In terms of military hardware the IAF stood fifth largest in the world after the USA. perhaps as a potential training unit to prepare Pakistani pilots for an influx of more F -5s from Saudi Arabia . the PAF deployed relatively few of it's 300 aircraft and did little to support the land campaign. comprised 232 Mig -21. 1997. These were backed by some 300 relatively old but still operational Hunters (199) Mysteres (61) and indigenously produced HF -24 Maruts (54). Libyan F -5s were reportedly deployed to Saragodha. struggling to conserve it's equipment. After the initial attacks. and was reinforced by F -104s from Jordan. 'The Air War in 1971-Revisited'."
Group Captain Sultan M. The attack was largely unsuccessful . PakMilitary. Indo-Pakistan wars 1965-71. the Western sector
 [xx] "Growing tensions between India and Pakistan was compounded by unrest in East
Pakistan. 2001 Aerospace publishing ltd. USSR. David Wragg. Chapter 10. Peshawar. Hali." PAF.XLVI. "The Encyclopedia of 20th Century Air Warfare". Indian support for East Pakistan was resented by Pakis tan. Official History of the 1971 war. the PAF struck at 10 IAF bases including two in Kashmir. Mirages from an unidentified Middle Eastern Ally (probably Libya) a nd by F-86s from Saudi Arabia. Shaheen.the IAF claimed to have lost just 3 aircraft. the Muslim Sabbath. it (the PAF) received 35 F -86s from Saudi Arabia and Iran" . 1971 War section
. 2001 edition
"During the war itself.386. Rear Air Headquarters. On 3 Dec 1971. It possessed o ver 1. Their arrival helped camouflage the extent of Pakistan's losses.and 23 were shown after t he war.
The inventory of advanced aircraft. France and China. p. to add to the IAF’s overwhelming numerical superiority . Summer issue. timing the attacks at dusk on a Friday. "JANES AIRFORCES OF THE WORLD". which were capable of performing multiple roles.
the Indian Air Force in 1971 handled claims of aerial victories by its pilots with great maturity.V. the Air Chief asked the Halwara station commander." Brigadier (retd) Shaukat Qadir. he explains. to visit every IAF station in the West to ascertain the performance of various squadrons.V. "the PAF out -flew and out -fought the IAF who not only had MIG-19s. but also MIG-21s and even MIG-23s. http://www. Gole recalls that one SAM battery had fired missiles at a couple of attacking Pakistani B 57 bombers. "SAPRA India 1971 War site".com. On investigation it was found that what remained was not the debris of an aircraft but that of a missile.) Chuck Yeager and Leo Janos.aircraftresourcecenter.bharatrakshak.org/case_bangladesh. 1971.com/1971war/1971war.com/IAF/History/Aircraft/Su-7. "Air Battles -December 1971 .subcontinent.gendercide.com/Gal2/1301-1400/Gal1347_HF24_Singh/gal1347.html
http://www.html PAF Citations.htm
Acknowledgements : PVS Jagan Mohan and Anurag Gupta
"Unlike in 1965.asp?page=story_25-10-
 Gen (retd. The hit was not taken into account. A fe w hours later.com/sept98/citation_paf3. But discrepancies could well remain.html  W/C (retd.) Salim Baig. some villagers called to say that they had found the debris of the Pakistani aircraft. we had access to other information as well and we worked out a pretty accurate picture of losses on both sides". preferably by photo reconnaissance missions. Rupak Chattopadhyay and Air Marshal (Retired) C. It was only much after the war that some Pakistani report spoke about a B -57 pilot who had become "Shaheed" after he tried to bail out his burning aircraft but could not make it .Gole.My experiences". Defence Journal   
Indranil Banerjie. Air Marshal C. 1983.dailytimes. No "kills" were awarded until all claims could be verified.pk/default. "OpEd : 1965 war : Comedy of errors ". http://www. For instance. One was hit and streaming smoke. Almost immediately after the War was over. "Yeager : An Autobiography"  Pushpindar Singh "Su-7 : A Whale of a fighter". http://www. "Later.defencejournal.Gole.
1 .IAF and PAF Deployments in the Western Theatre.MAP 1. Dec1971
2 .MAP 1.IAF and PAF Deployments in the Eastern
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