|Air Force Strategic Command|
|Active||March 11, 1985|
|Branch||Pakistan Air Force|
|Type||Unified Combatant Command|
Combined part of the Army Strategic Forces Command|
Naval Strategic Forces Command
|Garrison/Headquarters||Air Combatant Headquarter (AHQ), Islamabad|
Indo-Pakistani War of 1999
2001 Indo-Pakistani standoff
|Air Officer Commanding||AVM Sohail Ahmed|
GEN Anwar Shamim|
Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman
The Pakistan Air Force Strategic Forces Command, known as AF Strategic Command, is one of the three unified command of the Pakistan Strategic Forces Command. It is one of the major command of Pakistan Air Force and is tasked with space operations (such as military satellites), Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV's), information operations (such as information warfare), missile defense, national command and control, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR), strategic strike and strategic deterrence (Pakistan's nuclear arsenal), and combating weapons of mass destruction. The command is headquartered in Islamabad and directly reports to Chief of Air Staff, President, and the Prime minister of Pakistan.
The unified military combat command structure is intended to give the civilian leadership a unified resource for greater understanding of specific threats to Pakistan's national and strategic assets and the means to respond to those threats as quickly as possible.
The Combat Commanders School (CCS), was established under Colonel Cecil Chaudhry to train the best fighter pilots in the air force for carrying out the strategic bombing operations. However, the need for a strategic command was felt in depth in 1980s.
In 1981, Israeli Air Force successfully sabotage the Iraqi nuclear program after commencing a successful surprise air strike on Iraqi nuclear installations at Osirak, under the codename Operation Opera. The Operation Opera played a psychological role in Pakistan as it was a success operation commenced by Israeli Air Force. The Air Intelligence picked reports about suspected activities near Indo-Pakistan border. Therefore, PAF was put on high alert and in 1983, the PAF made first contact with suspect IAF F-16s. The PAF jets intercepted the suspected F-16s and confirmed their Israeli identity. The PAF jets took aggressive measures and their tactics surprised the IAF F-16s. Panicked and surprise, the mission was cancelled and IAF F-16s were pulled off immediately.
After this incident, the Chief of Air Staff General Anwar Shamim decided to formed a unified command to protect the nuclear deterrence from outside forces. The 1980s was a decade of modernizing of Air Force and PAF inducted and introduced advanced jets in its weaponry. Since 1990s, the PAF jets are believed to have practiced "toss-bombing"— a method developed by United States Air Force to deliver nuclear weapons from fighter jets.
The command was highly active in 1998 when the country, under the leadership of Prime minister Navaz Sharif, decided to carry out the nuclear test operations at Chagai Hills. The command flew the nuclear devices from Rawalpindi to Chagai and also carried scientists to the nuclear test sites. The Air Force Strategic Command is one of the most sensitive Commands of Pakistan Air Force. Director General Air Force Strategic Command is also a member of Development Committee of Nuclear Command Authority and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.
The two units, Squadron No. 16 Black Panthers and the No. 26 Squadron Black Spiders, were the first units to be inducted in this command and reportedly stationed at Masroor Air Force Base in early 1998. By late 1999 they had reportedly been re-deployed to Peshawar Air Force Base.
On 1 April 2009 the government promoted air vice marshal Farhat Hussain Khan to the rank of air marshal. Air Marshal Farhat Hussain Khan had commanded a fighters' squadron, a fighters' wing and an operational base. In Dec 2010, Air Vice Marshal Sohail Ahmed, former Base Commander Pakistan Air Force Base, Masroor was made its Commander.
Influence to other Inter-Services
The command influenced Pakistan Army and Pakistan Navy to established their own Strategic commands to battle their genre of weapons. In 1999, Pakistan Army established Army Strategic Forces Command to have control over its land-based weapons. It was followed by Navy who established its Naval Strategic Forces Command in 2004 to battle the naval-based weapons of mass destruction.
- Security, Global. "Air Force Strategic Command". globalsecurity.orf. Global Security. http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/pakistan/afsc.htm.
- Anwar, PAF, General Shamim (2010). "§ Critical Years: Intelligence and Deception". Cutting Edge PAF: A Former Air Chief's Reminiscences of a Developing Air Force. Islamabad, Islamabad Capital Territory: Vanguard Books. pp. 351. ISBN 978-969-402-540-7. http://books.google.com/books/about/Cutting_edge_Pakistan_Air_Force.html?id=vXf7cQAACAAJ.
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