Pakistan Air Force (PAF) came into existence on 15th of August 1947, a day after Pakistan gained its indepence from British India. Originally 56 aircraft were transferred from Indian Air Force. This transfer comprised of Austers, Dakotas, Harvards, Tempests and Tiger Moths. These aircraft were used to form three squadrons and an AOP flight and a communications flight. Pakistan inherited most of its structure from Royal Air Force. Most of its original officers were RAF men on temperory attachments. The first few years PAF also precured most of its equipment from Britain, which also included its first jet fighters, the Supermarine Attackers arriving on August 1951. Soon afterwards Pakistan turned towards USA for Air Force hardware, in return Pakistan joined USA against the spread of Soviet Communism. And for this Pakistan expected to obtain a spectrum of aircraft from the USA. Expecting that US would shower Pakistan with the similar amount of aid as Germany at the time, Pakistan put forward a proposal for 44-squadron Air Force. Consisting of 10 day fighter, five night fighter, five light-bomber, one photo recce, 12 fighter-bomber/figher recce, three transport and two maritime recce squadrons. In return US was not as willing to supply such a huge quantity. US in return visualized a smaller force consisting of six fighters, one night fighter and one light bomber squadron. To make up these squadrons, US suplied 120 F-86F Sabres, 28 to 30 B-57s and about 12 F-104 Starfighters, for training T-33s and for transport C-130s, HH-43s and HU-16s. Attritions were taken care of until 1963 under the same deal. At that time Pakistan-US relations took a downturn when Pakistan formed two army divisions with US equipment supplied for reserve stock.
In 1965 Pakistan was attacked by India. Though this wasn't a decisive war on the ground but in the air PAF proved its mettle by definitive victory over Indian Air Force. During the last days of the war Pakistani aircraft flew over Indian cities and airbases without any response from the opposing side. Pakistan was put under an arms embargo by the USA during the war. After the war Pakistan turned towards China and France to rebuild its war damaged air force. China supplied Shenyang F-6s (MiG-19s), which were both donated and purchased. From France Pakistan Purchased 24 Mirage IIIs. Also Pakistan aquired 90 F-86 Sabres through Iran after the war.
Pakistan and India once again went to war in 1971, after India directly itervened in Pakistani civil war siding with Bengali seperatists. Though Pakistan suffered losses on the eastern front, but it kept India out of Western Pakistan. Even though India highly glorifies this victory, it usually fails to tell the full story behind the victory. There were only 90,000 Pakistan soldiers in Bengal when India invaded. Indian forces were backed by almost 70 million civilians of Bengal. This proves how difficult it could have been for Pakistan to hold Bengal with odds of 1 to 778 against it. In any case Pakistan is much better off without Bengal anyway, and has now developed diplomatic and economic ties with Bengladesh (formerly East Pakistan or Bengal).
After the war Pakistan again turned towards China to ressuply its air force. PAF ordered two batches of 60 F-6s to replace its F-86s, which were delivered between 1972 and 1977. Along with F-6s - FT-5s were dilivered for advanced pilot training. FT-5s were two seat versions of MiG-17s copied by China. Pakistan wasn't provided with FT-6s (two seat F-6) until 1980. To accomadate overhauls China build an overhaul and rebuilt factory at Kamra west of Islamabad. Also after the war Pakistan recieved 28 or more Mirage 5s which were ordered before the war, plus the 10 Mirage III RPs ordered after the war. A dozen and a half other Mirages were procured from Lebenon and France to build up numbers.
No sooner the PAF had gotten over the 1971 war, the situation in Afghanistan on Pakistan's west started getting worst. Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan at the end of 1979. Pakistan didn't want to be the next stepping stone for the USSR towards its strol to the Indian Ocean. So Pakistan decided to support the local guerillas called Mujahideens (Holy warriors). Mujahideens were supported logistically and technically in the field. For this support of Mujahideen Pakistan was targetted several times by Afghani and Soviet aircraft which delibrately crossed the international border to attack positions with in Pakistan. When the United States saw Pakistan at the forefronts of engaging the "Evil Empire" Ronald Reagan decided to aid Pakistan in this struggle. The most visible form of this aid were the first batch of F-16s. Which also turned out to be the last. Pakistan also bought Chinese F-7s and A-5s during the same period most likely with US aid. Pakistan used it's air force excecively during the Afghan conflict, to patrol its border against Afghanistan and in the east against India, which took full advantage of the situation on the western border of Pakistan. Note: this is when India invaded Siachin Glacier. During this period Pakistan engaged several Soviet aircraft. PAF also admits to shooting down eight intruders. Though the numbers could be much higher, since several other bases were on full alert and aircraft from these bases flew non stop combat air patrols (CAPs), for years. Also hundreds of times aircraft from Peshawar airbase and Samungli airbase at Quetta were scrambled to intercept intruding airplanes. PAF has never revieled any of the records regarding these units. The most likely reason why PAF only chose to make F-16s record public was the aid it was recieving from the USA and it wanted to show that Pakistan needed those F-16s to protect its airspace. Pakistan got through this difficult time with keeping vigilant eyes on its frontiers.
After the Afghan conflict Pakistan once again concentrated on modernizing its air force. PAF ordered 71 new F-16s and 100 plus F-7s to replace aging F-6s. Also Pakistan bought 40 or so Mirage III Os from Australia to increase its Mirage force which is the second largest now after France itself. Along with these procurements Pakistan also entered into two developmental programs with China. One of them the K-8 advanced jet trainer/ light attack aircraft has shown magnificent results. The other project originally known as Super-7 ran into several setbacks most noticeably the US sanctions against China after the Tianamen Square massacre. Recently both China and Pakistan have signed Memorandum of Understading regarding the Super-7 (now known as FC-1) project. To develop the project with increased interest and energy. The first flight is due to take place in the year 2001. Along with these developments Pakistan has also purchased 40 or so Mirages to cover the advanced fighter gap.
Pakistan Air Force was given a title "saviors of the nation" during the 1965 War. PAF personal have since met all the difficulties to uphold that title. PAF is nothing without its men, and PAF does more than most of the much bigger Air Forces to train the richest pilots on the planet. PAF has a policy of maintaining a minimum of two pilots per aircraft. But PAF trains more pilots than that. Almost as many as the much bigger Indian Air Force, which is atleast two and half times bigger in aircraft numerical strength. PAF sends its pilots abroad mainly to Middle East as advisors, and incase of conflict in the Middle East PAF pilots performed along with their Arab allies. On several occasions PAF pilots emerged victorious in the air battles between them and Israel. The pilots of PAF are still making history in the Middle East. Just recently, United Arab Emirates cancelled it's order of 80 Block 60 F-16s just because US would not let UAE train Pakistani pilots on that aircraft. This tells how much influence and prestige the PAF holds among the Arab Air Forces. There is no doubt that Pakistani pilots fly Saudi Tornadoes and F-15s and UAE's Mirage 2000s.