The Frist Near-Engagement

Pilots Grp Capt Shahid Kamal (leader)
Sqd Ldr Rahat Mujeeb (no.2)
Sqd Ldr Khalid Chaudhry (no.3)
Controller Sdq Ldr Saif-ur-Rehman
Date 12 April 1986
Area Near Parachinar

The formation took-off early in the morning and proceeded towards Parachinar as briefed. The controller was vigilant and reported enemy aircraft close to the border. The formation checked fuel and switches on a call from the leader and cooled the AIM-9Ls. At about 20 NM short of Parachinar, the formation noticed two blips close to each other heading into Pakistan territory. The leader locked the enemy fighter and anounced that he was engaged. The formation raced on at combat speeds on a wersternly heading. The enemy fighters were sampled and before long, the leader fired his first missile on the enemy aircraft. The formation turned about with the leader still in the front; the mutual cover more effective, but no missile impact was seen.

The controller againturned the formation around and reported that enemy fighters were still in our territoy, apparently unhurt and unaware of the PAF's pilots' intentions. The leader again locked the Afghan aircraft while No. 2 and 3 maintained formation and mutual support 3-4 miles behind. On closing in, the leader again found the target withen missile range and fired another missile and missed the target again. After this, the leader handed over the lead to Khalid Chaudhry and fell back in battle formation with No. 2. After a couple of turns, the new leader spotted two Su-25s flying in simple wingman formation. He got a quick lock-on and after meeting all the parameters, fired the missile, which headed towards the enemy and thereafter turned right into the sun. The formation then turned towards easternly heading.

Group Captain Shahid's film revealed that he had valid locks on both the occasions. However, he fired both the missiles at the outer DLZ missile ranges against receding targets that were powered by engines without reheat (the Su-25s don not have afterburners). Since these aircraft were flying at cruising speed, they radiated very little IR energy at the outer limits of AIM-9L DLZ. Khalid's failure to hit the target could not be analyzed because his aircraft was equipped with a history recorder instead of an airborne video tape recorder (AVTR).