No. 26 Squadron (Pakistan Air Force)

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No. 26 Squadron
Black Spiders
Active 30 August 1957 — Present
Country  Pakistan
Allegiance  Pakistan
Branch  Pakistan Air Force
Type Fighter squadron
Role Multi-role
Airbase PAF Base Peshawar
Aircraft JF-17 Thunder Block 1
Engagements 1971 Indo-Pak War
Decorations 2× Sitara-i-Juraat
Aircraft flown
Attack Nanchang A-5C (1984—2010)
Fighter Shenyang F-6 (1980—1984)
JF-17 Thunder Block 1 (2010—Present)

No. 26 Squadron, named the Black Spiders, is a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) fighter squadron.

History[edit]

A model of the Shenyang F-6, armed with air-to-air missiles, on display at the PAF Museum Karachi.
A Black Spiders JF-17 performs at the Zhuhai Air Show 2010.

The squadron was established at PAF Base Masroor on 30 August 1967, equipped with the F-86 Sabre, commanded by Wing Commander Rehmat Khan and assigned the role of operational training of pilots on the F-86. It was later moved to PAF Base Peshawar. Over the next 10 years over 300 PAF pilots and 150 foreign pilots were trained and graduated.[citation needed]

During the 1971 Indo-Pak War the unit flew over 300 air defence, counter air and close air support missions under the command of Wing Commander S. A. Changazi. Counter air sorties were often targeted at the Indian Air Force bases in Srinagar and Awantipura. Close air support sorties were flown over Chamb and Shakargarh. The unit shot down 7 Indian aircraft and damaged 2 more. A Folland Gnat and Hawker Hunter were downed by Flight Lieutenant Salim Baig Mirza. After flying 15 sorties, Squadron Leader M. Aslam Chaudhary was shot down on 10 December 1971 during a close air support mission over Chamb when his section of two F-86 were bounced by six Indian Hawker Hunters. Flight Lieutenant Fazal Elahi was shot down by ground fire on 8 December 1971 during a close air support sortie. Mirza and Elahi were awarded the Sitara-i-Juraat posthumously.[citation needed]

The obsolete F-86 was replaced in December 1980 by the Shenyang F-6 and the squadron role changed to Air Superiority. The F-6 was replaced in 1984 with the Nanchang A-5C and the unit became a Tactical Attack squadron. In 1985 the squadron was awarded with the Flight Safety, Command Armament and the Professionals Trophies. In April 1989 the squadron provided pilots to ferry A-5C fighters requiring overhaul to China. In 1991 the first four of the squadron's aircraft were fitted with new Martin-Baker ejection seats.[citation needed]

No. 26 Squadron
Black Spiders
Role Operational Aircraft Notes
1967—1980 F-86 Sabre
Air Superiority 1980—1984 Shenyang F-6
Tactical Attack 1984—2010 Nanchang A-5C
Multi-role 2010—Present JF-17 Thunder (Block 1) The PAF's first JF-17 squadron, formed from the JF-17 Test and Evaluation Flight.

Exercises[edit]

  • Flat Out 89
  • Wide Awake 89
  • 1989 air-to-air firing camp (PAF Base Masroor)
  • ISAC 89 - inter-squadron armament competition, the squadron achieved first place and Wing Commander Wali Mughni was declared Sher Afghan.
  • ACES 89 - air combat evaluations.
  • High Mark 89
  • High Mark 93 - deployed at PAF Base Murid
  • 1998 DACT camp (PAF Base Minhas) - held from 14 to 30 December 1998, No. 26 was deployed with ten A-5C and all squadron pilots flew sorties during the deployment. Other squadrons deployed were No. 8 and No. 16 Squadrons.
  • 1998 Armament cyclic training (PAF Base Mushaf, Sargodha) - ten pilots and eight A-5C deployed, 246 armament sorties flown in 19 day period from 5 October to 24 October 1998.
  • Awards:
    • Sarfraz Rafiqui Flight safety Trophy (1992)
    • Chief of Air Staff Professionals Trophy (1994)
    • Sarfraz Rafiqui Trophy (1994)
    • Sarfraz Rafiqui Trophy (1996)
    • Air Combat Evaluations - ACES Trophy (1996)

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]