RAFIQUI / SABRE
Rafiqui House was set up as Sabre House in 1956. It was named as Rafiqui House in 1966 after the gallant air warrior of PAF, Squadron Leader Sarfaraz Ahmed Rafiqui Shaheed who embraced Shahadat in 1965 war against India and was awarded Hilal-e-Jurat and Sitara-e-Jurrat. It was rechristened as Sabre House in 1991.
The House was named Rafiqui again on 26 March, 2015. It was a befitting change of name because if history has any meaning then the Rafiquians have a legitimate pride in associating themselves to a brave PAF Hero rather than to an obsolete machine.
Squadron Leader Sarfaraz Ahmed Rafiqui Shaheed
Name: Sarfaraz Ahmed Rafiqui
Pak No. : Pak 1429
Father's Name: Bashir Ahmed Rafiqui
Date of Birth: 18 July, 1935
Place of Birth: Rajshahi, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh)
GD (P) Course: 13 GD(P)
Date of Commission: 11 March, 1953
Date of Shahadat: 6 September, 1965, Halwara, India
Gallantry Awards: Hilal-e-Jurat, Sitara-e-Jurat
Citation of Gallantry Award:
"On 6 September 1965, Squadron Leader Sarfaraz Ahmed Rafiqui led a formation of 3 F-86 aircraft on a strike against Halwara airfield. The formation was intercepted by about 10 Hunter aircraft out of which Squadron Leader Rafiqui accounted for one in the first few seconds. But then his guns jammed due to a defect and stopped firing. However, Rafiqui refused to leave the battle area which he would have been perfectly justified to do; instead he ordered his No. 2 to take over as leader and continue the engagement while he tried to give the formation as much protection as was possible with an unarmed aircraft. This called on the part of Squadron Leader Rafiqui. The end for him was never in doubt but he chose to disregard it and, in the process, his aircraft was shot down and he was killed but not before enabling his formation to shoot down 3 more Hunter aircraft. Rafiqui's conduct was clearly beyond the call of duty and conformed to the highest traditions of leadership and bravery in battle against overwhelming odds. For this and his earlier exploits, he is awarded Hilal-i-Jurat and Sitara-i-Jurat".
Country: United States of America
Company: North American
Type: Single seat fighter / Intercepter
Power Plant: J47-GE-27 turbo jet engine Maximum thrust, 5970 Lbs
Guns:6x0.5 inch in MG's
Rockets: 56x2.75 inch or 16x0.5 inch
Bombs: 2x1000 Lbs
Navigation Aids &: UHF, ADF, Gyro Gunsight with radar ranging Control System
Max Speed: 670 mph
Climb at Sea level: 12,150 fpm
Max Ceiling: 53,000 ft
Strike Radius: 535 miles
Thrust to Wt Ratio: 47:1
SABRE Role In PAF
In 1956, the PAF received 102 F-86 “Sabre” aircraft from USA and after 1965 war PAF purchased another 90 F-86 E type through Iran. These aircraft were inducted in No.5, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 & 26 Squadrons of PAF. This aircraft was considered to be the backbone of PAF from mid fifties to late sixties. It played on outstanding role in 1965 war against India. Squadron Leader MM Alam used the same aircraft for shooting down five Indian aircraft at Lahore.
Indo-Pakistan War of 1965
The F-86 was operated by nine PAF squadrons at various times: Nos. 5, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 26 Squadrons. During the 22-day Indo-Pakistan War of 1965 the F-86 became the mainstay of the PAF, though the Sabre was no longer a world-class fighter (due to availability of Supersonic Jets), many sources state the F-86 gave the PAF a technological advantage.
Air to air combat
In the air-to-air combat of the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965, the PAF Sabres claimed to have shot down fifteen IAF aircraft, comprising nine Hunters, four Vampires and two Gnats. The F-86s of the PAF had the advantage of being armed with AIM-9B/GAR-8 Sidewinder missiles whereas none of its Indian adversaries had this capability. Despite this, the IAF claimed to have shot down four PAF Sabres in air-to-air combat. This claim is disputed by the PAF who admit to having lost seven F-86 Sabres but only three of them during air-to-air battles. The top Pakistani ace of the conflict was Sqn Ldr Muhammad Mahmood Alam, who ended the conflict claiming nine confirmed and two probable kills / damaged aircraft.
The aircraft remained a potent weapon for use against ground targets. On morning of 6 September, six F-86s of No 19 Sqn struck advancing columns of the Indian army using 5 in (127 mm) rockets along with their six 0.5 in (12.7 mm) M3 Browning machine guns. On the same day, eight F86s of the same squadron executed a text book attack against IAF Pathankot. No 14 PAF Squadron earned the nickname "Tailchoppers" in PAF for successful attack against bomber base of Kalaikunda.
PAF claims of destroying around 36 aircraft on the ground at various Indian airfields. However, India only acknowledges 22 aircraft lost on the ground to strikes partly attributed to the PAF's F-86s and its bomber Martin B-57 Canberra.
Indo-Pakistan War of 1971
At the beginning of the war, PAF had eight squadrons of F-86 Sabres. Along with the newer fighter types such as the Mirage III and the Shenyang F-6, the Sabre were tasked with the majority of operations during the war. In East Pakistan only one PAF F-86 squadron (14 Squadron) was deployed to face the numerical superiority of the IAF. PAF F-86s performed well, with Pakistani claims of downing 31 Indian aircraft in air-to-air combat. These included 17 Hawker Hunters, eight Sukhoi Su-7 "Fitters", one MiG 21 and three Gnats while losing seven F-86s. The most interesting of these a battle between 2 x sabres pitched against 4 x Mig-21s. One Mig was shot, without any loss of sabre. The same was achieved due to better low speed performance of Sabre in comparison to Delta Winged Mig-21.
India however claims to have shot down 11 PAF Sabres for the loss of 11 combat aircraft to the PAF F-86s. The IAF numerical superiority overwhelmed the sole East Pakistan Sabres squadron (and other military aircraft) which were either shot down, or grounded by Pakistani fratricide as they could not hold out, enabling complete air superiority for the Indian Air Force.
After this war, Pakistan slowly phased out its F-86 Sabres and replaced them with Chinese F-6 fighters. The last of the Sabres were withdrawn from service in PAF in 1980. They are now displayed in PAF Museum, Air Bases and various cities of Pakistan.