Sattar Alvi

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Abdul Sattar Alvi
Nickname(s) Master of Migs
Born 1949 (age 67–68)
Allegiance  Pakistan
Service/branch  Pakistan Air Force
Years of service 1970–1999
Rank US-O7 insignia.svg Air Commodore (Brigadier-General)
Unit No. 11 Squadron Arrows, Alpha' Detachment
Commands held PAF Sargodha Airbase
Pakistan Aeronautical Complex
Battles/wars Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Yom Kippur War of 1973
Operation Brasstacks
Awards PAK Sitara-i-Juraat ribbon.svg Sitara-e-Jurat (Military) (1971)
PAK Sitara-i-Juraat ribbon.svg Sitara-e-Jurat (Military) (1973)
Wissam-ul-Shujaat (1973)
Wisaam Faris (1973)

Air Commodore Abdul Sattar Alvi (Born 1949), is a Pakistan Air Force's retired fighter pilot and a former chairman of the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex.[1] A veteran of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 and the Yom Kippur War of 1973, Alvi is a recipient of the Pakistani military decoration, the Sitara-e-Jurat ("The star of courage") and a bar to it for his actions during the Yom Kippur War.[1]

Air Force career[edit]

Indo-Pakistani War of 1971[edit]

Alvi was commissioned in Pakistan Air Force in 1965 as a pilot officer (Given that he was born in 1949, he would have been only 16), and had participated in the 1965 Indo-Pak war and Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 where he had flown the F-6 aircraft. After the war, he was sent to PAF Combat Commander's School where he was trained and graduated as one of the top pilots.

Yom Kippur War[edit]

Pakistani prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto sought to maintain close relationships with the Arab world. When the Yom Kippur war broke out, Alvi was one of the Pakistan Air Force fighter pilots who volunteered to go to the Middle East to support Egypt and Syria. By the time they arrived, however, Egypt and Israel had already concluded a ceasefire and only Syria remained in an active state of war against Israel.[2] Alvi, who was serving as a Flight Lieutenant in 1973, joined the Syrian Air Force along with future-Air Chief Marshal of the Pakistan Air Force, Nur Khan. The PAF fighter pilots flew in a formation using the call-sign "Shahbaz" under Air Marshal Nur Khan.[3]

The Aerial fight over Golan[edit]

On 26 April 1974, PAF fighter pilot Flight Lieutenant Sattar Alvi on deputation to No. 67A Squadron, Syrian Air Force (SAF) was flying a SAF MiG-21F-13 (Serial No. 1863) out of Dumayr Air Base, Syria in an eight-ship formation with a fellow PAF pilot and the Flight Leader, Squadron Leader Arif Manzoor.[4]

Alvi came to worldwide international notice when he shot down the IAF's Mirage IIICJ flown by Captain M. Lutz. On 26 April 1974, while on an aerial patrol, the PAF fighter pilot team including, Flight Lieutenant Captain Sattar Alvi, Squadron Leader Major Saleem Metla and the formation's leader Squadron Leader Major Arif Manzoor had an encounter over the Golan Heights between a Mig-21 of the Syrian Air Force and two Israeli Mirages.[5]

While leading a Mig-21 patrol along the border, Squadron Leader Arif Manzoor was apprised of the presence of two Israeli Phantom aircraft and was cautioned that these could be decoys while two other fast tracks approaching from the opposite direction might be the real threat. The latter turned out to be Mirages and a moment later Alvi, in Arif's formation saw the No 2 Mirage breaking towards him.[6] All this time, heavy radio jamming by Israeli ground stations was making things difficult but the Pakistani pilots were used to such tactics. Sattar forced the Israeli pair into close combat, firing his K-13 missile at the first opportunity. The Israeli wingman's Mirage exploded into a ball of fire, while the leader quickly disengaged.[citation needed]


After the engagements, Flight Lieutenant Captain Sattar Alvi and Shahbaz formation leader Squadron Leader Major Arif Manzoor were awarded two of Syria's highest decorations for gallantry, the Wisaam Faris and Wisaam Shuja'at in 1973 by the President of Syria Hafez al-Assad in a public ceremony. The government of Pakistan also awarded each PAF pilot the Sitara-e-Jur'at. The prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto personally met each of them and awarded the gallantry awards in public ceremonies.

Post war[edit]

After the war, Sattar Alvi was promoted to Wing Commander and went on to command PAF's elite Combat Commanders' School and the premier PAF Base Rafiqui. In 1994, he was promoted to Air Commodore (Brigadier) and commanded the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) until 1998. He retired as an Air Commodore in 1998 and received an honourable discharge from the air force.


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