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اک فضائیہ - Pak Fiza'ya - Pakistan Air Force
Credit: Roundels of the world
Last update 05-08-2013
Pakistan is the only unofficial Northrop F-5A operator. It received three aircrafts shortly after the end Indo-Pakistan war.
Pakistan AF Canadair F-86 Mk.6 and Shenyang F-6s (Mig-19) had had contacts
with Iranian Northrop F-5A in two joint aerial combat exercises by
1970, when the US government offered in June six replacement Lockheed F-104A, similar
to the ones in Pakistani strength, or, as an alternative, 12 Lockheed
F-104G or Northrop F-5A if Pakistan retired the 6 F-104A on strength, this on a cash basis.
Pakistan countered requesting in October 1970 a "full Squadron" of
F-5s, giving up its 6 Lockheed F-104A and the request for 7 replacement
Martin B-57s. Following this request the US Goverment gave its
approval to supply 19 Northrop F-5As.
These plans were dashed by the arms embargo set by the USA due to internal unrest and the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971.
UNOFFICIAL LIBYAN PROCUREMENT/TURKISH OFFER
to an US Embassy in Teheran report three F-5As with Pakistani markings
and piloted by Pakistani pilots transited Teheran-Mehrabad airport on
The origin of therse aircrafts is quite puzzling. one of tis pilot
indicaded the the aircrafts had come from USA; according to an Northrop
representative their serials corresponded to Libyan Freedom Fighters at
the time in storage in California.
An US enquiry made in Turkey resulted in the information that this
country had authoriesed the overfly of its territory by three Libyan AF
Northrop F-5As (allegedely flown by Pakistani piots) en-route to
Pakistan with refuelling stops at Antalya AB and Diyarbakir AB. Copy of
all these telegrams can be seen here.
The statement made by the Pakistani pilot is 99% wrong as the embargoed
aircrafts were handed over to South Vietnam in 1972 at McClellan AFB in
California and it would be too complicated to send them to Pakistan via
Europe and bring them quicly back to California.
Interesting is the Turkish information, which is most probably exact.
What is missing is if additional aircrafts passed en-route to Pakistan.
It seems anyhow that the aircrafts returned to their country of origin
on 20-02-72, after trials at Sardogha or Masroor AB.
The Pakistan Air Force museum gives the name of the three Pakistani pilots flying the aircrafts, see here.
The attached design shows camouflaged aircrafts. Libyan ones were not,
Iranian were the only ones in the area at the time, but this might be a
mistake made by the painter.
was prepared to supply 6 Freedom Fighters to Pakistan during the
Pakistan-India war in December 1971 according to US official sources,
but this didn't take place.
AFGHANISTAN WAR - US OFFER
second chance to obtain F-5s came with the Soviet invasion of
Afghanistan in 1979. Pakistan requested the delivery of General
Dynamics F-16s to counter the massive Soviet AF threat. The USA
offered only lower performance fighter, either Northrop F-20s, Northrop
F-5E/F-5Fs or Fairchild A-10s, offer that was rejected by
Pakistan, that finally obtained the desired General Dynamics F-16s.