A Lost Opportunity

Pilots Sqd Ldr Rao Qamar Sulemanl (leader)
Flt Lt Nawaz (no.2)
Controller Sdq Ldr Saif-ur-Rehman
Date 14 May 1986
Area Near Parachinar

A formation of two Mirages of 18 Tactical Attack Squadron took-off from Kamra at 1100 hours to mount a CAP southeast of Parachinar at 15,000 ft. The controller informed the formation about a number of slow flying targets coming towards the border. After an abortive attempt to pick up contact, the formation descended to 3,000 ft and flying at 550 knots, picked up tally with six Mi-24 Hind gunship helicopters at 3-4 NM range. The gunships were flying at 7-8,000 ft. The leader decided to engage the front helicopter and got an immediate radar lock-on. However, there was no missile lock-on. At 1.4 km range, the pilot went to rapid air-to-air gun mode. At around 900 meters from the target, he pressed the trigger but the guns did not fire. The leader broke off and No. 2 closed in to his target. He pressed the trigger at a range of of 8-9,000 meters but the guns did not fire. Thus, he also broke off. The formation landed back safely.

In the post-flight, the gun circuit breaker of the leader's aircraft was found to popped out because of an electrical short-circuiting in the gun pack. The No. 2's gun had not fired because, while selecting to Hot (armed), he had not removed the the gun trigger latch. This a golden oppertunity to kill two gunship helicopters was lost because of bad luck on the part of the leader and lack of experience on the part of No. 2.