Rao Qamar Suleman

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Air Chief Marshal
Rao Qamar Suleman
راؤ قمر سلیمان
19th Chief of Air Staff
In office
March 19, 2009 – March 19, 2012
President Asif Ali Zardari
Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani
Preceded by Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed
Succeeded by Tahir Rafique Butt
Personal details
Born 1954 (age 62–63)[1]
Awards Tamgha-e-Imtiaz (Military)
Sitara-e-Imtiaz (Military)
Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Military)
Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Military)
Legion of Honor (By French Republic)
The Legion of Merit (Degree of Commander) (By United States Of America)
Medal of Merit Santos Dumont(By Federative Republic of Brazil)
The Legion of Merit of Turkish Armed Forces (By Republic of Turkey)
King Abdul Aziz Medal Class I (By Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)
Military service
Allegiance  Pakistan
Service/branch  Pakistan Air Force
Years of service 1 June 1975 – 18 March 2012
Rank Air Chief Marshal
Commands PAF Base Peshawar
PAF Air War College
Southern Air Command
DG Air Force Strategic Command
DCAS (Operations)
Chief of Air Staff
Battles/wars War in North-West Pakistan

Rao Qamar Suleman, NI(M), SBt (Urdu: راؤ قمر سلیمان) is the 18th Chief of Air Staff of the Pakistan Air Force. The four-star rank Air Force officer commanded the PAF from 2009 to 2012. Earlier he was "Deputy Chief of Air Staff of Operations". Suleman was succeeded by Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt as Chief of Air Staff on 7 March 2012.

Air Force career[edit]

Rao Qamar Suleman was initially trained at PAF Public School, Sargodha where he belonged to the 17th entry (851 – Sabre House).[2] Thereafter, he joined the Pakistan Air Force Academy, Risalpur, in 1972 and was commissioned in the Pakistan Air Force as a fighter pilot on 1 June 1975, in the 59th GD(P) Course.[citation needed].

Suleman is a graduate of the PAF Air War College. He holds a Master's degree in Defense and Strategic Studies from National Defence College, Islamabad.[3] He has more than 3400 command hours to his credit. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor (QFI) and has been an instructor at the Combat Commanders’ School. He has served in the Turkish as well as UAE Air forces.

Command and staff appointments[edit]

Suleman is an accomplished fighter pilot with rich experience in fighter aircraft. He has commanded an Elite Fighter Squadron, Wing and Base that includes No. 15 Squadron, No. 31 Wing, PAF Base Peshawar and Southern Air Command.

Suleman was promoted to "Air Vice Marshal" on 9 October 2003[4] and to "Air Marshal" on 15 November 2007.[3]

In staff jobs, he served as directing staff (DS) at PAF Air War College and later became Commandant of Air War College. He served as deputy director at Operations Branch;[5] assistant chief of staff (plans), assistant chief or air staff (evaluation)[4] and deputy inspector general of Pakistan Air Force[5] at air headquarters. In senior staff appointments, Air Marshal has the distinction of having served as Director-general Air Force Strategic Command and Deputy chief of air staff (operations) at the air headquarters, Islamabad.[citation needed]

DCAS (O)[edit]

As Deputy Chief of Air Staff Operations "DCAS (O)", Suleman was responsible for all operations of the PAF. He is the architect of anti-surgical strike strategy which barred India from carrying out strikes against Pakistan in aftermath of the Mumbai attacks. In that capacity, he planned response to Indian Air Force threat of surgical strikes against Pakistan in the wake of terrorists strike at Mumbai. He deployed force to face Indian threat in November 2008, which thwarted the Indian Air Force plans of surgical strikes.

Chief of Air Staff[edit]

As Chief of Air Staff, ACM Suleman is credited with developing PAF counter terrorist policy which was a new role. To improve the operational readiness and train in this new role, he also conducted largest number of operational exercises for PAF such as High Mark 2010, Azm-e-Nau, Saffron Bandit, etc., during his command. He also planned operational training exercises with other modern air forces like USAF (Red & Green Flags), Turkish Air Force (Anatolian Eagle and Indus Viper), UAE Air force (ATLC), PLA Air force (Shaheen I), Royal Saudi Air Force (Al Saqoor), Jordanian Air Force (Falcon Meet), etc.

During his tenure, PAF flew maximum with least accidents due to his emphasis on flight safety. In 2010, there was not a single accident despite extensive operational exercises, overseas deployments and maximum flying, making 2010 an accident-free year for the first time in history of PAF.

Several new types of aircraft and capabilities were added to the PAF fleet and operationalized during his tenure. He started JF 17 aircraft production at Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra and raised two JF 17 aircraft Squadrons. He introduced JF 17 to the world by sending it various air shows such as Farnborough Air Show (UK), Zhuhai Air Show (China) and Dubai Air Show (UAE).[6] It was also displayed in "Air Show Turkiye," the Centennial Celebration to celebrate 100 years of Turkish Air Force . He also demonstrated the operational capabilities of the new aircraft by its participation in Fire Power Display in front of Air Attaches, Foreign Air force observers and Aviators from all over the world.

Role in War on Terror[edit]

Suleman is the architect of counter terrorist policy. Under his command, PAF successfully achieved its objectives of destroying the Taliban infrastructure, and killing the terrorists in the aerial operations. He enabled PAF to engage the terrorists successfully through new operational trainings and exercises. He led successful aerial operations in Swat and FATA against Terrorists.

He is also credited for developing close relations between PAF and the Pakistani Army. This resulted in close coordination between the services that resulted in successful joint operations against terrorists and enabled the military forces to engage and destroy the terrorists in remote areas that were inaccessible. The Air Force squadrons are currently engaged in the military operations along with Pakistan Army.

Medals and Awards[edit]

In recognition of his meritorious and exceptionally dedicated services, he has been received the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz (Military), Sitara-e-Basalat, Sitara-e-Imtiaz, Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Military) and Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Military) awards .

Suleman is also the recipient of 'King Abdul Aziz Medal Class I' by Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and 'The Legion of Merit of Turkish Armed Forces' by Republic of Turkey. He has also received 'The Legion of Merit (Degree of Commander)' by United States Of America, 'Medal of Merit Santos-Dumont' by Federative Republic of Brazil and 'Legion of Honor' by French Republic.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "PAF s' Chief of the Air Staffs" PAF Falcons website
  2. ^ "PAF Public School Sargodha profile" Sargodhians website
  3. ^ a b "AVM Qamar Suleman made Air Marshal" Daily Times, 16 November 2007
  4. ^ a b "4 promoted as AVMs" Dawn, 10 October 2003
  5. ^ a b Shakil Shaikh. "Qamar Suleman appointed new air chief" The News, 9 March 2009
  6. ^ [1],"incirlik", 20 June 2011

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed
Chief of Air Staff
2009 – 2012
Succeeded by
Tahir Rafique Butt