Military


PNS Mehran

On 22 May 2011, militants attacked PNS Mehran in Karachi. Though no one initially claimed responsibility, reports suggested that the attack was carried out by the Pakistani Taliban. Reports said that 14 people, including 4 militants and a Pakistani naval officer, others 9 wounded. The fighting at the base, which lasted a reported 18 hours, also resulted in the destruction of at least one P-3C maritime patrol aircraft. Initial reports suggested that as many as 15 to 20 militants attacked the facility, but later reports suggested that only 6 militants had particiapted in the attack.

In August 2011 the Pakistan Navy kept its main warhips away from Karachi, and moved them to another port in Ormara, Balochistan, as security threats continued. The navy sent its warships away from its main base in Karachi as a “precautionary measure” after a 16-hour siege of its main naval airbase, PNS Mehran. The commando-style gun and rocket-propelled grenade attacks resulted in the destruction of two P3C Orion airplanes – which were key naval assets.

The first Naval Air Station, PNS Mehran, was commissioned on 26 September 1975 to support Fleet Operations. This base is situated in Karachi, 10 KM from Quaid-e-Azam International Airport. Seaking helicopter was the first machine to fly from this Base. Atlantic and Alouette soon joined the Naval Air Arm. Taking a start in 1975, Naval Aviation has grown to its present inventory of 27 multi role aircraft. The latest addition in the Air Arm is Lynx helicopter and P-3C Orion Maritime Patrol aircraft. In early years of its establishment in 1975, Naval Air Arm depended upon Pakistan Air Force and Pakistan Army to meet the training requirement of air and ground crew.

Commissioning Orders for PNS MERHAN was received in the office of the Commander Pakistan Fleet on the 13 th September 1975. Three ‘D' Class houses from PNS KARSAZ were taken over on 18 th and thereafter the MES put in their efforts to prepare the place and surroundings for housing and commissioning of PNS MEHRAN. The work was completed on 25 th , a day before PNS MEHRAN was formally commission i.e 26 th September 1975. PNS MERHAN was commissioned by the Vice Chief of Naval Staff Rear Admiral L N Mungavan. On the first day strength of PNS MEHRAN was 08 officers, 04 sailors and no aircraft. Although Seaking helicopters had been handed over to Pakistan Navy, they were still in England. The first Commanding Officer was then Captain S F Rab PN (P No 456). MEHRAN Base, since its inceptions, is efficiently supporting day and night operational activities of all the squadrons. Despite facing acute shortage in every sphere, Base has accomplished every single task assigned.

In April 1988, Naval Aviation Training School (NATS) was established to impart training to air and ground crew of Pakistan Naval Air Arm. The school is also geared to train surface fleet officers and men to meet the various requirements of ship borne flight operations.

Naval Air Arm is headed by Commander Naval Aviation (COMNAV). Under COMNAV there are four Head of Departments (HODs) namely Commander Air (Cdr Air), Commander Air Engineering Department (Cdr AED), Commanding Officer MEHRAN (CO MEH) and Officer Commanding Naval Aviation Training School (OC NATS). There are six squadrons under Cdr Air namely P3C Squadron (28 Sqn), Atlantic Squadron (29 Sqn), Fokker Squadron (27 Sqn), Seaking Squadron (111 Sqn) and Alouette Squadron (333 Sqn). All the operational/flying activities of the base are controlled by Cdr Air through the Officer Commanding of each Squadron. Cdr Air is further assisted by ops staff working directly under him.

Cdr AED is responsible for the maintenance and technical efficiency of all the aircraft. Under him, there are various Group Officers (GOs) who assists him in this duty. Some of the prominent GOs are GO Control, GO Avionics, GO Aircraft Engineering, GO Ground Engineering and GO S/R Depott etc. CO MEHRAN is responsible for providing all the logistic and administrative support to the aviation units under COMNAV. Under him is the typical infrastructure of a naval unit which includes EXO, Supply Officer, Gunnery Officer, Communication Officer etc.

OC NATS is responsible for all sort of aviation related training of Naval Air Arm. He is assisted by Training Cdr, Chief Flying Instructor (CFI) Rotary Wing, CFI Fixed wing and Chief Navigator Instructor (CNI). CFIs and CNI are further assisted by the Instructor Pilots and Instructor Navigators under them. Staff Officer (Operations) and Staff Maintenance Officer are responsible for advising and assisting COMNAV on the matters related to Operations and Maintenance respectively. Base Flight Safety Officer is responsible for ensuring that safe flying practices are being followed by the squadrons. Quality Assurance Officer ensures that required quality standards are being maintained by the maintainers and technical departments. PN Air Arm is one of the three main arms of PN fleet.

AIR ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT (AED)

The Air Engineering Department was established in the Mid 70’S at PNS MEHRAN with the assistance of Pakistan Army and the Pakistan Air Force The AED initially began with limited first line maintenance of aircraft backed by rudimentary workshop facilities Progressively, the scope of the Air Engineering Department expanded with the corresponding increase in aircraft inventory and their growing technical obligations. Today the AED, with a highly skilled workforce of 1500 service personnel and 300 civilian technicians, is capable of undertaking overhaul and rebuild of P3C, Atlantic, Fokker, Sea king and Alouette aircraft without foreign assistance.

The AED is also geared to provide technical expertise and support to sister services and other arms of the Navy. The organization strives with conviction to achieve the highest quality standards and stays abreast with emancipated methodologies. In pursuance of these vital objectives, the AED has also attained ISO-9001-2000 Certification. The burgeoning challenges of maintaining highly sophisticated aircraft and equipment under the stringent standards are being perpetually tackled through focused objectivity. The present trend of growing potential of the AED indicates that this organization would soon become a forerunner in aviation industry of Pakistan.

The functions of the AED encompass diverse maintenance activities that range in sophistication and depth. The repair and maintenance work varies from basic inspections to complete stripping and rebuilding of aircraft. The organization is headed by the Commander Air Engineering Department. The Cdr AED is assisted by seven Group Officers to perform the functions efficiently.

  1. CONTROL GROUP - The Control Group, being the hub of AED, has the responsibility to support Squadron Flight lines for operational flying and Air Engineering Workshops (Groups) in carrying out their designated roles covering management of operational support to squadrons.
  2. AVIONICS - Avionics Group provides the following services: Second and Third level maintenance and repairs of avionics equipment installed on all types of aircraft in naval Aviation; Assistance in unscheduled maintenance to Flight Lines to resolve complex aircraft defects; Undertake feasibility study and embody major avionics modifications on PN aircraft; Calibration of all avionics and mechanical instruments, test sets and gauges; Development of essential test sets to improve diagnostics, reduce downtime and repair costs of avionics equipment. Avionics Workshops have progressively transformed over the years to a modem facility where state of the art avionics is being maintained in the most professional manner.
  3. AIRCRAFT ENGINEERING GROUP - The group was initially established to undertake limited Second level works on Seaking aircraft. This group, in the past few years, has expanded its capability exponentially, thus transforming into a versatile aerospace complex where following activities are undertaken: Second and Third Level maintenance and repairs on aerospace equipment of all PN aircraft types; Deep level maintenance on Gnome Aero-Engines installed on Sea Kings; Structure Repairs on all PN aircraft; Scheduled maintenance on hydraulic, pneumatic and fuel system components on PN aircraft; and Testing of POLs and Non Destructive Testing.
  4. SURVEY AND REBUILD GROUP - The group conducts major overhaul, surveyed scheduled maintenance of all fixed and rotary winged aircraft in PN inventory. Aircraft are completely stripped, inspected, repaired and painted during the Survey & Rebuild process. The Group also provides assistance to flight lines by undertaking major unscheduled repairs on aircraft in-situ. The efforts of the group in achieving self-reliance through indigenization have resulted in saving huge amounts of foreign exchange.
  5. GROUND ENGINEERING GROUP - The group plays pivotal role by providing the vital Ground Handling Equipment to support aviation units at MEHRAN and coastal stations. The group has the expertise, tools and infrastructure available to undertake all general engineering jobs that are required by various departments of Naval Aviation. In addition the group handles and maintains all life saving equipment used on PN aircraft.
  6. AIR ENGINEERING TRAINING GROUP - The Training Department plans and supervises all aviation technical training, both for officers and men. Ground if schooling of aircrew for all types of aircraft is also undertaken by training department.
  7. QUALITY ASSURANCE GROUP - The Air Engineering Department ISO 9001-2000 certified since 1998. Quality Assurance Group is overall responsible to implement the said standards.



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