Abbas Khattak

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Air Chief Marshal
Abbas Khattak
SBt, NI(M)
عباس خٹک
14th Chief of Air Staff
In office
November 8, 1994 – November 7, 1997
President Farooq Leghari
Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto
Preceded by Farooq Feroze Khan
Succeeded by Parvaiz Mehdi Qureshi
Personal details
Born (1941-07-16) July 16, 1941 (age 76)
Risalpur, North-West Frontier Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) British Indian Empire
Awards Sitara-e-Basalat
Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Military)
Military service
Allegiance  Pakistan
Service/branch  Pakistan Air Force
 United States Air Force
Years of service 1963 – 1997
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg Air Chief Marshal (General)
Unit No. 14 Squadron Tail choppers[citation needed]
Commands Chief of Air Staff
AOC PAF Base Masroor
AOC PAF Base Faisal
Southern Air Command
OC No. 33 Fighter Wing
OC Combat Commanders' School (CCS)
Deputy Chief of Air Staff (Training)
Deputy Chief of Air Staff (Operations)
Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Plans)
Dir. PAF Flight Safety School
Battles/wars Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Soviet War in Afghanistan

Abbas Khattak, NI(M), SBt, (born 16 July 1941), is a retired four-star air officer in the Pakistan Air Force who served as the 14th Chief of Air Staff of the Pakistan Air Force from 8 November 1994 to 7 November 1997. Air Chief Marshal Khattak, a fighter pilot and an aviator of Pakistan's F-16 Fighting Falcons, was a senior member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee of Pakistan[1][2]

Air force career[edit]

Born in Peshawar, one of four children, he graduated from Cadet College Hasan Abdal and joined PAF Academy on July 2, 1961. He graduated as a Pilot Officer in the Pakistan Air Force on 20 January 1963 in the 35th GD(P) Course. Thereafter, he went to the United States to join the United States Air Force where he got commission from Nellis Air Force Base, North Las Vegas, Nevada. During his career, Khattak took part in two wars. Khattak came back to Pakistan, joining the Pakistan Air Force to participate in Indo-Pakistan War of 1965.

In the 1965 war, he was one of the eight fighter pilots who took part in the famous attack on Pathankot airfield led by Squadron Leader Sajjad Haider from the No. 19 Squadron (Sherdils). In 1971, he was based in Sargodha Air Force Base where he, as Squadron Leader commanded a small batch of fighter jets. He earned a gallantry award, Sitara-e-Basalat during the 1971 war. After the war in 1972 he was promoted to Wing Commander[3]

A fighter pilot of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, Khattak was stationed in PAF Base Minhas, and was made Air Officer Commanding of F-16A Fighting Falcon Batch. Khattak became increasingly involved in the Soviet War in Afghanistan as the war began to progress to Pakistan. On November 20, 1988, Abbas Khattak of Squadron No 14 Tail Choppers, while flying the F-16, shot down a Soviet Air Force Antonov An-26 while on a reconnaissance mission inside Pakistan.[citation needed]

Military training[edit]

Khattak is a graduate of Pilot Training Course, United States; Flying Instructors' School Course, Risalpur; Air Command and Staff College, USA; Armed Forces War Course at National Defence College, Rawalpindi; and Royal College of Defence Studies, UK.

Command and staff appointments[edit]

His command appointments include; Officer Commanding No. 15 Squadron; Officer Commanding, No. 33 Wing; Officer Commanding, Combat Commanders' School; Base Commander, PAF Base Faisal and Masroor; and Air Officer Commanding, Southern Air Command.

His staff appointments include; Director of Flight Safety, Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Plans), Deputy Chief of Air Staff (Training) and Deputy Chief of Air Staff (Operations).

Chief of Air Staff[edit]

Abbas Khattak was appointed as Chief of Air Staff on 8 November 1994. At promotion, he superseded at least two senior officers; Air Marshal Shafique Haider, then Vice Chief of Air Staff and Air Marshal Dilawar Hussain, then Chairman Pakistan Aeronautical Complex. During his tenure as the Air Chief, Khattak tried to acquire the French Dassault Mirage 2000-5 as an alternative to the F-16, after U.S military embargoes. Unfortunately for him and the then government of Benazir Bhutto, the President of Pakistan dissolved the national assembly on charges of corruption - a major arms deal was averted. During his tenure, Pakistan worked with China to develop the K-8 Karakorum.[4] After his retirement he was succeeded by Air Marshal Parvaiz Mehdi Qureshi.

He is married and has two sons.


  1. ^ The Story of the Pakistan Air Force 1988-1998: A Battle Against Odds (Oxford University Press, 2000)
  2. ^ Cheema, Pervaiz Iqbal (2002). The Armed Forces of Pakistan:Air Chiefs. New York University Press. pp. 199/200. ISBN 0-8147-1633-4. 
  3. ^ Niaz, Anjum (22 November 2008). "ISLAMABAD DATELINE: Top Gun Vs Double Agents". Dawn Newspaper. Islamabad: Dawn Media Group. Retrieved 18 September 2016. 
  4. ^ Asia Pacific Defense Forum Spring 1998 Archived August 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Farooq Feroze Khan
Chief of Air Staff
1994 – 1997
Succeeded by
Parvaiz Mehdi Qureshi