The Combat Commanders' School continues to fulfill its mission of traing fighter pilots and air defence controllers. During the past twenty three years, CCS has graduated 350 fighter pilots and 186 combat controllers including a controller from the UAE Air Force.
Besides fulfilling its peacetime role of conducting Combat Commanders' Courses, the unit also evaluates all PAF fighter squadrons and carries out research and development on aerial and ground attack tactics. The CCS Mirage and F-7 Squadrons also continue to train for their wartime roles.
In addition to the usual Combat Commanders' Courses (CCS), two Fighter Weapon Instructors' Courses (FWICs) were also conducted for junior leaders, bringing the total to three such courses. Later, FWICs were discontinued to accomodate the more urgent need for imparting training to senior supervisors, who could in turn train junior pilots in the squadrons. The school has so far conducted three FWICs and twenty seven CCCs.
In order to keep pace with the ever changing aerial threat and environment, CCS reviews its courses content continually. New study and flying phases envolving EW and BVR threat have been added and others augmented with the changing fighter tactics. The CCS continues to emphasize the development of courage, aggression and esprit de corps in an air battle, and a deep awareness of the threat posed to the country.
The CCS participated in all the operational exercises conducted by the PAF, that included Exercise Hit Hard-XIII and High Mark-89/Zarb-e-Momin. The CCS staff acted as umpires in High Mark-95. The School also supervised and conducted the Inter-Squadron Armament competition, Sher Afgan-1989 and 1996, at PAF Base Masroor.
To keep the PAF's fighting element at the peak of their efficiency, CCS was given the responsibility of conducting annual visits to all the fighter squadrons to enhance their combat awareness, and assess their combat efficiency. Later, in June 1990, Air Headquarters instituted the Squadron Combat Upgradation Programme (SCUP). Two fighter squadrons, along with a few pilots from F-16 and air defence weapons controllers, participated in each cycle which lasted for a month. Four such cycles were conducted till October 1990.
To further consolidate the professional architecture of the PAF, SCUP was replaced by Exercise Saffron Bandit in September 1992. This exercise provided a more compicated, near realistic, more demanding environment to the participants. The CCS has supervised all Saffron Bandit exercises while continually improving the flying and air defence syllabi.
Research and development in the realm of tactics and conducting weapons trials also forms an important part of the school's responsibilities. Its working influences almost every operational dimension of PAF activity. The school has remained actively involved in future projects aiming at new induction and upgradtion. In the same context, Squadron Leader Akhtar Bokhari visited China in May 1992 and became the first Pakistani pilot to fly an F-8 II aircraft. Squadron Leader Khalid P. Marwat was attached to the ROSE Project for upgrading Mirage III avionics. Wing Commander Raza recently concluded successful trials of LGB deliveries from Mirage III aircraft.
On 10 July 1988, Air Chief Marshal Hakimullah, the then Chief of the Air Staff, made the historic announcement of inducting F-16 aircraft into the school's curriculum. On 16 July 1988, an F-16 instructional unit was established at CCS. With the induction of the F-16 weapons system in the CCS, PAF's tactical doctrine experienced a qualitative improvement. The introduction of F-16s in the course not only helped refine tactical employment of the weapon system, but also brought greater awareness amongst the aircrew flying the more conventional aircraft.
The next advnace in hardware came in 1993, when F-7P aircraft replaced the aging F-6s. F-7P has a more pilot friendly reputation as compared to its predecessor - the strudy F-6 Farmer. The new aircraft also had better avionics, and in particular, the radar warning reciever and chaff and flare dispenser gave it an advantage over the Mirage-V in the sister squadron.
To keep CCS in the forefront of weapons system induction and development of system specific tactics, Air Headquarters once again re-equipped the CCS Mirage squadron with the latest ROSE-I modified Mirage-III EA, in 1998. The ROSE modified Mirages offord the latest avionics suite in the PAF so far. The induction of F-7s and the ROSE modified Mirage-III EA gave more impetus to the progressive evaluation of the PAF tactical doctrine.
In 1986, Air Chief Marshal Jamal A. Khan thought of raising a fighter gallery at Sargodha to impart a greater sense of history to the PAF officers and men. On his directive, work on a specifically designed building in the CCS comples started the same year. At the same time, carefully selected aircraft models were procured from England and America. However, it was only in 1994 that the officer commanding CCS Mirage was entrusted with the task of furnishing and decorating the gallery. A team comprising eight officers, airmen, and civilians, with the full availability of base resources, completed the project in a manner that was highly appreciated by all visitors. Fighter Gallery was inaugurated on 28 July 1994.
The gallery, which was first of its kind in the PAF, was developed around many well-blended themes, the chief among them being a chronological depiction of the evaluation of combat aviation. The PAF's evolution was presented in a tastefully decorated section with the help of large scale models of almost all aircraft in the PAF. The Fighter Gallery became popular with visitors and remained an essential part of visit programmes of all dignitaries visiting PAF Base Sargodha. All assets of the gallery were shifted to the PAF Base Faisal on 24 December 1996, which then became part of the newly developed PAF Museum.
On 19 October 1987, Air Chief Marshal Jamal A. Khan presented the Combat Commanders' Creed to the CCS. The text on the teak board that now hangs prominently in the CCS building reads:
A Combat Commander of the Pakistan Air Force:
The school has benefited a good deal from the evaluation of tactical thought in the air forces of advanced countries. To study the progress of other air forces and the changes in their operational training concepts, the school staff made visits to renowned training institutions of the US, British, German, French and Turkish Air Forces. On 11 October 1988, Group Captain Zahid Anis (now Air Marshal), Officer Commanding CCS, delivered a lecture on 'Air intercept Operations over Mountainous Terrain' at the Dutch Weapo Instructors' School in the Netherlands.
Many local and foreign teams and dignitaries visited the CCS during the last decade. General Larry D. Welch, Chief of Staff, USAF, came in November 1988, the Chief of Bangladesh Air Force and Admiral Iftikhar A. Sirohi, Chairman JCSC, visited in 1991. In 1993, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, Lieutenant-General Ahmed Bin Ibrahim Behery, Chief of Staff, Royal Saudi Air Force, and General Vincent Lanata, Chief of Staff, French Air Force, visited CCS. General Merril A. McPeak, Chief of Staff, USAF, General Zhang Wannian, Chief of General Staff, PLA China, and General Halis Burhan, Commander, Turkish Air Force, were other notable dignitaries that visited the school.
Important visitors in 1994 included the then President of Pakistan, Farooq Ahmed Leghari, Lieutenant General Guido Vanhecke, Chief of Staff, Belgian Air Force, and Air Vice Marshal Muhammed bin Mahfoodh, Commander, Royal Air Force of Oman. Major General Muhammed Ali Qadah, Chief of Staff, Royal Jordanian Air Force and General Arturo T. Enrile, Chief of Staff, Philippines Armed Forces visited CCS in 1995. Air Chief Marshal Pambudi, Chief of Staff, Indonesian Air Force, visited in 1996.
In 1997, for the first time, PAF opened the doors of CCS to officers from friendly countries. Captain Abdullah, an air defence controller from the UAE Air Force, was given a seat in No. 26 CCC. Captain M. Mattar, a pilot from the UAE Air Force also joined the same course as an observer. He was later inducted in No. 27 CCC on Mirage aircraft.