Who was the PAF chief during 9/11-----how long before and after he lasted---Thank you. MK
Who was the PAF chief during 9/11-----how long before and after he lasted---Thank you. MK
Interview: Chief of the Air Staff, ACM (Retd) Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed
Faced with mounting economic demands and the call for increasing involvement in continuing operations on Pakistan's border with Afghanistan, the Pakistan Air Force (PAK) is faced with both challenges and opportunities.
Built primarily as a territorial force with the main objective of countering the military threat from India, the PAF is adjusting to the demand of supporting the country's ground forces operating in the border region.
For the PAF's chief of air staff (CAS), Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed, the objective of making his force "lean, efficient and hard hitting" is central in two interconnected ways.
ACM Ahmed has to demonstrate the PAF's ability as a potent long-term force for Pakistan and its surrounding region as well as its ability to take charge of the skies over the border region and undertake operations that will encourage the US to leave the task to Pakistani forces.
This challenge has become increasingly intense as the US increases the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to attack sites in Pakistan's territory suspected of hosting militants from Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
Pakistan has repeatedly protested against such attacks, but without success in persuading the US to abandon this strategy.
In an interview with Jane's at the PAF's air headquarters in Islamabad, ACM Ahmed outlined the immediate-, medium- and long-term plans to make his force more central to Pakistan's defence.
"The warfare itself has changed shape from a conventional, land-based strategy to a new air-based strategy," he said.
Revealing details of discussions with China for the purchase of 36 J-10 fighter aircraft - which will be known as the FC-20 in Pakistani service - from China, ACM Ahmed said PAF officials had examined the aircraft in detail and the PAF was seeking improvements in its radar and avionics system.
He also revealed that the cost of the 36 J-10 aircraft, along with the supporting systems, would fall in the region of USD1.5 billion.
ACM Ahmed said given the economic crunch faced by Pakistan, the PAF was making efforts to establish credit financing from China for the purchase of the J-10 so that Pakistan could repay the loan over time, without adversely affecting its financial position as the country seeks international assistance to support its economy.
Other developments in a broadening defence hardware relationship with China include the finalisation of a contract by the PAF in September for the purchase of four airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft. Without discussing the exact specifications of the aircraft or the radars accompanying them, ACM Ahmed said the Chinese would supply a newly built propeller-driven aircraft with a rotor dome.
While the Chinese technology is older than the radar systems employed by some of the world's newer AEW&C aircraft, ACM Ahmed said the cost of the four aircraft and the radars would be about a third of the USD1.2 billion AEW&C aircraft bought by India, placing Pakistan "at an advantage".
However, the current vital issue for the PAF remains that of completing the planned acquisition of JF-17 fighter aircraft from China, which are co-produced by the two countries.
In the past, ACM Ahmed has said that up to 250 JF-17 aircraft would be acquired by the PAF, with the acquisition planned to be completed in 2013. Western defence experts estimate the JF-17 project to cost about USD5 billion.
While both China and Pakistan have offered the JF-17 for export, ACM Ahmed said he is interested in taking the JF-17 from trials and tests to actual induction in the PAF, "making the aircraft a potent weapon system".
So far, the PAF has inducted eight of the JF-17s.
"We are hoping somewhere in 2009 we should be able to induct them into the PAF with some limited operational capability and expand: from short-range missiles to BVR [beyond visual range]; from normal clean iron bombs, conventional bombs, to smarter bombs; to carrying external pods of various types," said ACM Ahmed.
While the relationship with China has become central to the PAF's interests, ACM Ahmed is keen to carry forward the arrangement with the US for the supply of new F-16 aircraft along with midlife upgrades for older aircraft, including those already in Pakistan's inventory.
In recent months, some critics have called for a review of the F-16 programme on the grounds that other capabilities, such as advanced attack helicopters used by the army's aviation corps, would be far more central to operations in the border region.
"The major part of this war in Afghanistan is being done by air power, elements of air power. Nobody should really be questioning the role of air power in this unconventional war," said ACM Ahmed, adding that a detailed account of the vital role played by the PAF in the anti-terror operations provided to those critics now convinces him that "we are over the hump on this particular issue".
---------- Post added at 05:36 AM ---------- Previous post was at 05:35 AM ----------
Interview: Chief of the Air Staff, ACM Rao Qamar Suleman
A year after the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) was called to join the country's military effort in combating Taliban militants along the border with Afghanistan, the planned arrival in August of the first air-to-air refuelling aircraft on lease from Ukraine for training purposes carries a special significance.
By 2010, the PAF plans to complete the induction of up to four Ilyushin Il-78 aircraft fitted with a mid-air refuelling capability, extending the capacity of its fighter aircraft to patrol areas over the border region.
Western defence officials see the induction of a mid-air refuelling capability as a significant boost to the PAF at a time when the force aims to reconcile itself with duties related to anti-terror operations while maintaining what its senior commanders describe as a "minimum deterrence" against the much larger Indian Air Force (IAF).
According to the chief of the air staff of the PAF, Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman, the refuelling capability is an "extremely significant" development. "This is an absolutely new capability we are getting, which we are inducting. We never had this capability in the Pakistan Air Force," ACM Qamar told Jane's.
The PAF's operations in Pakistan's northern areas, ranging from the northern Swat valley and its surrounding region, have been carried out mainly by some of the 45 US-supplied F-16 multirole fighter aircraft in Pakistan's inventory.
"These armed aircraft can stay for up to four, five, six hours in the area," ACM Qamar said.
"During this time, if there is any militant attack anywhere in the FATA [Federally Administered Tribal Areas], these aircraft can go there immediately, within minutes, and they can bomb the militants. It will create the right kind of deterrence against the militants."
ACM Qamar said the PAF's operations in the north have brought significant pressure to bear on Taliban militants, who were on the advance until the recent military campaign in Swat began reversing the tide. "They [Taliban militants] never see us on the ground. The only time they find out that an aircraft has struck is when the bomb explodes on them. It creates a great psychological impact."
The PAF's experience in the past year is beginning to influence its future plans, both in terms of operational procedures as well as the choice of aircraft and ammunition.
"This was a new kind of warfare for us. The PAF was focused on enemy air forces. We remained focused on enemy land forces and enemy air forces and, therefore, we were preparing ourselves to fight against organised modern air forces and against modern armies," ACM Qamar said. "We never thought we would be required to fight against militants or be involved in counter-insurgency operations. When we started this [counter-insurgency], we had to learn while on the job. We had to re-orient our thinking, we had to refine our ... existing SOPs [standard operating procedures] and we had to develop new SOPs for this kind of warfare. However, we did that very quickly."
This experience has led the PAF to identify new areas for development, such as acquiring more precision-guided bombs, enhanced night precision attack capabilities and the capability to monitor communications and track the movement of militants.
The PAF's other, already established, requirements include the development of the JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft, co-produced with China.
The PAF plans to eventually induct up to 250 JF-17 fighters, making the aircraft the backbone of its inventory. The first 'fully made in Pakistan' JF-17 is expected to be produced by the end of this year at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) in Kamra, north of Islamabad. However, there is still a requirement for a more advanced fighter aircraft, as the PAF prepares to counter the future edge that may be acquired by the IAF once it completes the planned purchase of 126 multirole combat aircraft (MRCAs).
"We knew about this requirement of the Indian Air Force for 126 latest-generation fighter aircraft. Yes, it is an alarming development because when they get 126 such capable aircraft, then we also need to have something matching to counter that threat," ACM Qamar said.
For the PAF, not only will the induction of 14 used F-16 aircraft and 18 new F-16C/D aircraft figure prominently in narrowing the gap, but continuing negotiations with China to purchase up to 36 FC-20 fighter aircraft - designated the J-10 in China - will also play an important role.
ACM Qamar said the PAF has finalised the technical proposal for the FC-20 and informed the Chinese of its requirements.
"[The technical proposal] is more or less finalised now. There are some changes that are required, which [the Chinese] are making," he said.
The next stage of the contract will involve financial negotiations between China and Pakistan. ACM Qamar believes that, following the signing of a contract, it will take two to two-and-a-half years before the first FC-20 aircraft is received.
Other elements of the PAF's force expansion include the purchase of four Erieye airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft from Sweden.
The PAF expects to receive the first of these aircraft by end of this year and the other three next year.
ACM Qamar said the PAF has also signed a contract for the purchase of four Chinese airborne early warning and control aircraft. The first of these is due to arrive in 2011 and the remaining three will be delivered in 2012.
Here is a surprise----Abu Zubeidah---after his capture and interrogation and reverse interrogation---released the names of four people his compatriots-----he though that the americans had transferred him to the saudi secret service and he wanted to save his ar-se----he named three saudi princes and the 'acting air chief' of PAF as his cohorts---who knew about the 9/11 happenings in advance---and the princes funded it----.
Once prince died of dehydration when he 'supposedly' got lost in the desert---two other princes died as well under mysterious circumstances----and guess what----if Mushaaf Ali was the air chief at 9/11 he met his end as well----.
This was on nat geographis last week----they didnot mention the death of Mushaf Mir---but mentioned about the death of the 3 princes under strange circumstances-----.
Last edited by ANTIBODY; 09-24-2011 at 01:59 AM.
1- For capability to do that Saudi Princes stand a better chance if they would have been involved (if supposed) because they were sitting at the top of authoritative pyramid where the accountibility was minimal. The Air Chief on the other hand is though the top administrative position, but in Pakistan remains subdued to Army Chief and JCoS. Had there been any activity in this regard from Air Chief, Army and Intel would have certainly got a sniff on that and there may have been a quite "back door" action to remove the person from his post. IMHO, in terms of capability, Air Chief apparently lagged, had it been Army Chief, then there would have been the same sense in the argument as for Royal family in terms of accountibility structure.
2- Willingness, lets assume for the time being that there was a willingness, but unless willingness is backed by capability to do so, it doesn't spark an action. An air chief may have the willingness, but his capability is crippled by actual or potential super-authoritative positons. If the death of ACM M.A.M is taken in the senario of deaths of three princes, the stroy looks interesting, yet the when the circumstances and potential for this relationship is analysed, the result may vary.
I am writing what I heard-----Abu Zubeidah was made to believe that he was in the custody of saudi intelligence----when he realized that---supposedly he stated to the saudi interrogator to call these four of his benefactors---they will get him out----. It is not a matter of truth or a matter of lie----it is a matter of physical evidence---all these four that he named died under mysterious circumstances-----.
Thanks to all PDf members for this awsome thread i salute the hard work of PDF members which they go through for this forum to serve us all
I for the very first time in my life wanted to disagree with this Mr. Air Marshal Asghar Khan, we want to protect not only from India but also from friend like U.S and enemy like Israel which is more dangerous that any of them two I have mentioned. I am still up to that we should try to make as much research in every field as possible to become a real super power.\
Interview: Chief of the Air Staff, ACM (Retd) Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed
By Faisal Riaz
My question to explore and learn about Pakistan Air Force keeps me moving from one place to another. On 8th of January 2012, I had the pleasure to meet Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed at his place in Lahore. He is a retired four-star general and a career Air Officer in the Pakistan Air Force who commanded, as the chief of air staff of the Pakistan Air Force, from 2006 to 2009.The sitting was informal, a question and answer arrangement over a cup of tea which turned out to be a great dialogue and persuaded me to make it available in written form for all the avid readers of flying and enthusiasts of PAF.
This is 2nd interview of my compilation “In Dialogue with Aviators of Pakistan Air Force’. Before I reveal the discussion we had, I believe it’s a good idea to know about caliber of Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed. He did his high school from PAF Public School Sargodha where he belonged to 15th entry (767 – Fury House). Then, he joined PAF Academy, Risalpur in 1969 and was commissioned in Pakistan Air Force as a fighter pilot in 15 April 1972 in the 53rd GD(P) Course. He holds Best Pilot Trophy – which is remarkable achievement and a symbol of pride for any fighter pilot. The air marshal is a graduate of Turkish Air War College and National Defence College, Islamabad from where he did his masters in Strategic Studies. He has flown the American F-86 Sabre and F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft and other aircraft of Chinese and French origin in the PAF inventory.
Q 1: How do you look at the last 10 years of your service where you had to manage critical positions?
A: During the last 10 years of my service, I occupied very vital and key positions like Deputy Chief of Air Staff for Administration (DCAS- Admin), then Deputy Chief of Air Staff for Operations followed by Vice Chief of Air Staff and finally the Chief of Air Staff. While these posts kept me extensively very busy from morning till mid-night. They also provided me the much needed experience and an opportunity to contribute towards the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) in a whole hearted manner.
Q 2: How was your first day as an Air Chief of PAF?
A: Since I had already prepared my blueprint for the three years of PAF command, in my opening address (which lasted over 90 minutes) I spelt out detailed outline of the plan to re-engineer the PAF for the challenges of 21st century.
Q 3: What were your strengths as a professional?
A: Alhamdulillah, being well experienced in the fields of operations, administration, logistics, budget accounts, office and general automation related to IT and HR management, I felt highly qualified to the assignment of Chief of Air Staff (CAS), PAF. Added to this was my total devotion and determination to bring results on ground. I felt lucky to get an opportunity for realizing my dreams for the PAF.
Q 4: How air warfare of today is different from the conventional air combat method?
A: Due to perpetual process of evolution, the air warfare today stands to be vastly different from the previous 2 to 3 decades. Network-centric capability and long range weapons (as indeed the hi-tech weapon systems) have made air warfare very complex and demanding. The envelop in the air has spread to scores of square kilometers and sharp response from the pilots are now a much needed virtue.
Q 5: What was your motto as an Air Chief? What have been your major achievements?
A: It was ‘lean-efficient and hard hitting’ PAF fully responsive to the needs of the new millennium. What it meant was ‘doing more with less’ and being ‘second to none’, as the Quaid-e-Azam desired from the PAF.
My majority achievements were procurement of much needed new hardware (Hi-Tech Aeroplanes) like: the F-16 C/D, Advanced Real-time Digital Reconnaissance Capability, smart and highly effective weapons including long range missiles, AWACS, Aerial Re-fuelers, co-production of JF-17 Thunder in Kamara with China, Networking the advanced and modernized Air Defense System, new and potent Surface to Air missiles, UAVs, New Generation Network for Integrating Airborne and ground based sensors, induction and modernization of existing transport aircraft fleet. Other achievements were building of new housing units for PAF personnel, re-building record number of PAF runways and operating surfaces, building newer and efficient medical facilities, improving the children education system, enhancing welfare activities, improving and revising innovative war plans, improving the overall efficiency of the PAF working by man-hours utilization etc. Logistics support and its inventory management was brought at par with the latest IT trends. Accounting and budgeting was brought truly online and fully transparent and automated. Overall working environment was made nearly paper-free.
Q 6: There is naturally huge power distance in Forces. It has indeed its pluses and negatives. Did you do anything particular to reduce power distance between ranks in your tenure?
A: PAF has traditionally provided itself in being a very open service. We communicate freely between the highest and the lowest ranks. I followed the policy to its utmost. It really helped me change the mind-set of PAF personnel and that meant greater achievability of my objectives.
Q 7:You had a vision which was to transform legacy systems of PAF into most advanced computerized systems. To what an extent you feel accomplished when you look back?
A: In the words of a colleague, I was ‘able to re-engineer the PAF’. I think this says it all.
Q 8: How did the idea come into your mind of automating Air Force where people are considered averse to change? Was it challenging to transform systems and human recourses there?
A: Being an Aquarian, I’m designed to be ahead of my age. As such I learnt a great deal from my experience of dealing with the Americans, the Chinese and the Europeans. This gave me a firm foundation of my vision for the PAF in 21st century. I am proud of the fact that I was able to achieve a very high degree of success in my endeavors to bring about a change and land the PAF in 21st century.
Q 9: What was the most essential thing to change before increasing pace of transformation in PAF?
A: To change the mind-set of PAF personnel so they could move on the desired path voluntarily and willingly.
Q 10: Without having any Information Technology background, do you think it was your right decision to start changing things at a massive level with great pace?
A: I had a counsel from a large spectrum of IT specialists; both in public and private sector. The vision was mine, solutions were theirs. I think I was able to achieve a lot.
Q 11: What should be the ‘must have’ traits of any officer who wishes to lead the Air Force efficiently?
A: Vision, dedication and loyalty to the service and the country and the determination to face all odds/ risks and head towards one’s objective with single minded devotion.
Q 12: Why was the need felt to modernize Pakistan Air Force in 2006 and not before?
A: PAF’s real induction of hardware and concepts was back in early 1980s with the induction of F-16s. It had been over two and half decades and we badly needed change; all over.
Q 13: 25 years is quite a lengthy time. Any system or technology can go obsolete during such a long time. Why didn’t your predecessors feel the need before?
A: All of my predecessors realized the urgent requirements for change. However, due to various political and internationally imposed restrictions and constraints, they could not really bring about a big change. Allah was kind to bless me with an opportunity (post 9/11) and I had the will and the courage to exploit this opportunity.
Q 14: How do you see value system in today’s Pakistan? Are the values intact as a nation?
A: Our value system (as a nation) has undergone a huge change – not for the better. We have not invested enough in education and human resource development. Hence, we are paying the price through our noses.
Q 15: The western media has misrepresented and misinterpreted Islam as a religion after 9/11. What do you want to say about that?
A: In fact, we have ourselves to blame for the West misinterpreting Islam. Were we to truly practice Islam as a code of life, the West would not be able to levy such criticism. We need some soul searching.
Q 16: What is your definition of Islamic State?
A: Where we truly and practically follow the golden teachings of Islam and not just give it a lip-service.
Q 17: Why did you change the ranks knowing the fact that it had long history before and had become part of tradition of the air force?
A: Wearing of rank badges is to make distinction between one another. Our older ranks were not doing that job well. Our new rank badges are distinct and clear – obviating the possibility of mix-up.
Q 18: After Mumbai attacks, there was standoff between Pakistani and Indian forces. How did you preempt the war in 2008?
A: Post Mumbai attack of 2008, the Indian civil and military leadership was all prepared to carry out ‘surgical strike’. I order the PAF on high air defense alert around the clock. This led to preventing a war between the two nations. I think this was timely and bold decision.
Q 19: Now you are retired. How do you spend time? Do you use social media sites like Facebook to kill time?
A: Frankly, I don’t find time to spend on social media sites. Along with my youngest son, I’m engaged in Chicken Farming thereby contributing to the society and keeping ourselves productively busy.
Q 20: What is your take on the current leadership of PAF in the shape of Rao Qamar Suleman as an Air Chief?
A: Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman had a huge task of assimilating and operationalizing all of the newer equipment that we had contracted during my tenure of office. I think he is doing a good job and continuing to move PAF forward as a 21st century hard hitting and efficient service.
Q 21: Do you miss flying?
A: No (chuckles). I have done enough flying. I even flew fighter jets as an Air Chief.
Q 22: What is your message to the nation and the PAF?
A: Selfless devotion should be the way forward for my nation and the PAF.
PAF Falcons - PAF s' Specials - Interview: Chief of the Air Staff, ACM (Retd) Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed
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