Jinnah’s Aircrew: No 12 VIP Squadron – Notable Series – Daily Notable
By Dr Attaulwadood
From begining it is been ambition of Human kind to influence the sky and to fulfil its ambition air was influenced through various types of planes and it surfaced the idea for the need to defend ones air and to attack the enemy through air, as sea and land were already used to defend and attack the enemy and it was the begining of air force now a days it is essential for every sovereign nation to have a competent air force.
Today for my readers I would like to briefly introduce “No 12 VIP SQUADRON” which is defending the home land since the very begining from carrying the Father of Nation in the legendary Dakota on the Independence eve of 1947 to the modern day state of theart aircraft,
“No 12 VIP Comm Sqn” prides itself in holding the Nation’s Flag high taking pride in its invaluable contribution in flying all Heads of State, Heads of Government and Chiefs of the Air Staff across the globe with unparalleled devotion and refined professionalism.
The squadron holds distintive honour of airlifting Quaid e Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah along with Fatima Jinnah to Karachi, a week before Pakistan emerged as a separate Nation.
The tail of the Viking aircraft that carried the Quaid was proudly painted with the letter ‘J’ which stands for Jinnah. Since then, No 12 VIP Squadron has assigned prefix letter ‘J’ to all aircraft as a hallmark. Subsequently, the unit also has the distinct honour of Viking flypast at the funeral of father of the Nation.
No 12 RIAF Squadron was the RAF VIP transport unit prior to 1947. On creation of Pakistan, a VIP Flight was detached from the Squadron as its share in the air assets and was positioned at Maripur, Karachi. No 12 VIP Flight was provided with a Dove aircraft and a few Viking and Dakota aircraft on its inventory.
In March 1950, No 12 VIP Flight was converted into a Composite Squadron consisting of four flights of Viking, Dakota, Fury and Halifax Aircrafts. The subsequent addition of Bristol Freighter specially equipped for Para-trooping enhanced the operational capability.
In Feb 1957, a US-origin SA-16 Albatross aircraft was inducted in the Squadron for Maritime Search and Rescue capability. It was equipped with special Search radars and had an exceptionally long endurance. In Nov 1958, the SA-16s participated in various exercises with Pakistan,
US, New Zealand and Royal Navies namely ‘Jet North’, ‘Midlink-I’ and ‘Midlink-II’ held at Karachi and flew its longest ever non-stop flight of 15:45 hrs. In December, 1958 the Maritime flight carried out a night search for the F-86 pilot at night time. In October, 1959, Maritime search Flight was carried out a for a missing boat of Pakistan Customs and recovered successfully.
On 9 th July 1960, the squadron was re-located from Mauripur to Chaklala due to shifting of Pakistani capital to Islamabad. The main role entrusted to the squadron was to provide airlift to VVIPs / VIPs and visiting dignitaries.
A Fokker F-27 aircraft was inducted in 1965 for the use of C-in-C and VIP passengers. The F-27
remained as main work horse of the squadron for coming decades. In 1997, another Fokker F-27 was gifted by Pak Army to PAF which encountered tragic fatal accident on 20 February, 2003 in bad weather with CAS Air Chief Marshal Mushaf Ali Mir on-board. The remaining F-27 was phased out in 2008 and handed over to Pak Navy.
A French origin Falcon DA-20 was inducted in the squadron in 1972 for VIP commitments. The aircraft was the mainstay of the squadron for three decades. The famous shuttle diplomacy of 1995 between Northern Alliance and Taliban was made possible because of extensive missions undertaken to Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif by DA-20 and F- 27 aircraft. On 11 May, 2009, DA-20 was phased out and deployed at No 24 EW Squadron.
Falcon DA-20 had a mid-air collision with F-6 Aircraft while recovering from Peshawar in June,
1983. The aircraft horizontal tail was damaged but the pilots managed to land the aircraft successfully.despite diminished control efficacy. The aircraft after extensive repair and maintenance work was subsequently recovered and resumed flying. On 20 October 1986, two long range Boeing-707 aircraft (one cargo and one VVIP version) were inducted in the Squadron providing PAF with the prized strategic airlift capability. The VIP B-707 carried Pakistan / PAF colour around the world while flying Presidents and Prime Ministers of Pakistan for two decades.
Cargo version B-707 aircraft undertook numerous relief and humanitarian missions besides airlifting invaluable service freight and equipment from around the globe.
The B-707 also airlifted the relief equipment in support of earth quake relief operations in Nov 2005. The B-707 were decommissioned and phased out in 2006.
The VVIP / VIP commitments of the squadron peaked after the induction of Boeing-737 in 1994. The sole Aircraft also had honor of flying numerous Heads of state and dignitaries for its five years brief stay in the squadron. In 2000, the B-737 was handed over to PIA in support of its passenger operations.
A Citation XL aircraft was inducted in the squadron on 30 August, 2004 for Chief of the Air Staff. Since its induction, the aircraft has proven its versatility by successful accomplishment of VIP missions to all airfields in Pakistan including demanding operations to high altitude / short airfields like Skardu, Gilgit, Chitral and Kohat.
A US-origin Long Range Business jet Gulfstream- IV SP was inducted on 26 December 2005 as
state aircraft for VVIP operations. The aircraft has successfully undertaken VVIP / VIP flights covering more than 3500 NM. Since its induction, the G-IV has proved to be the backbone of VVIP operations and has maintained a high standard of reliability and successful operations.
A Gulsfream-450 aircraft, an upgraded version of G-IV was inducted in the Sqn on 11 November, 2007 for VVIP flying Commitments.
The aircraft is equipped with Advanced avionics system and utilizes the most Modern ergonomics with capability of flying long Range flights across Atlantic.
In 2007, the Amir of Qatar presented an Airbus-310 to Government of Pakistan forVVIP flying commitment that was inducted in the Squadron on 05 October, 2009. After a brief stay of 4 years in the squadron, in 16 May 2013 the VIP A-310 was handed over to PIA.
The Squadron has a long and illustrious history of multiple roles and finally establishing as a Squadron specialized for VVIP/ VIP flying operations.
Squadron has the honour of flying all the heads of state / government of Pakistan and a large number of foreign dignitaries in addition to the service chiefs.
The squadron takes pride in the entrusted duty and always looks forward to living up to the national and PAF expectation.-PUNA