No. 8 Squadron
The No. 8 Tactical Attack Squadron is the only squadron in the PAF that provides maritime support missions to the Pakistan Navy, in addition to carrying out its normal operational commitments as a strike platform. The squadron aircraft are capable of carrying the Exocet Antiship Missile. Although, the squadron was at full operational status, the inventory of the squadron was completed after the induction of six Mirages in December 1993.
During the last decade, the squadron had the oppertunity to participate in a number of operational exercises during which its performance remained exceptional. The squadron was deployed at Sargodha in 1990, 1992, 1995, and 1997 in connection with SCUP and Saffron Bandit exercises. As a strike platform, the squadron was pitched against F-6, F-7 and F-16 aircraft and it engaged all its assigned targets successfully. The CCS duly acknowledged the immaculate palnning, professional execution, and high standards of flight safety particularly during the mass raids conduted by the squadron.
For DACT camps, the squadron was deployed to bases and satellites like Samungli, Minhas, Shahbaz and Multan. Besides, various squadrons were also invited to the home base for the same purpose. The squadron pilots were continually exposed to the entire inventory of the PAF during the period. The innovation and initiative remained the hallmark of the squadron's weapon employment, exhibiting extremely high standards of training. During exercises High Mark-93 and 95, the squadron lived up to its reputation of sustaining back bending operations from Chander and Shahbaz, and performed exceptionally well without compromising on flight safety.
The squadron maintains a close liaison with the Pakistan Navy. Exercises such as Sea Spark and Nasim-ul-Bahr are regularly conducted, covering the entire coastal region of Pakistan. A squadron contigent is required to activate the Pasni airfield and conduct operations from both the coastal airfields simultaneously. During on of the Nasim-ul-Bahr exercises, Wing Commander Shahid Latif, the Officer Commanding of the squadron, fired an exocet missile against a decommissioned Pakistan Navy ship, PNS Shahjehan, scoring a direct hit.
The squadron also participated in the ISAC-96. Among the sixteen operational squadrons participating in this event, this squadron earned the second position. During exercise Inspired Alert, the squadron had the unique operatunity of facing USN combat aircraft such as F-14 and F-18, and it put up an impressive performance in a series of these exercises during the period 1994 to 1997. The squadron also conducted successful mass raids against naval ships, with precision, and achieved exceptional results. It took part in the Missile Firing Camp-1998, and it emerged in first place amongst the tactical attack squadrons for the ACES trophy, in 1996. All along, the squadron continued to strive for the Base the Flight Safety Trophy in 1997. On 24 September 1992, Flight Lieutenant Ali and Flight ieutenant Mazhar intercepted a stray Indian Naval Battleship, INS Talwar, in Pakistan's territorial waters. These young men ushered it out of our territorial limits and such an occurance has not been repeated since.