Air Force Strategic Command
The Air Force Strategic Command has the aircraft capable of delivering nuclear weapons. Initially the credibility of Pakistan's nuclear deterrent depends not on its limited-range missiles, but on the survivability of its strike aircraft. In peacetime the bulk of Pakistan's combat aircraft are concentraed in seven air bases. However, there are roughly 30 airfields at which Pakistani nuclear-equiped aircraft could be based, vastly complicating Indian counterforce attack planning.
The two units operating the Chinese-built A-5 [No. 16 Sqn and No. 26 Sqn], an aircraft believed to be a leading candidate for the aerial delivery of nuclear weapons, were reportedly stationed at PAF Masroor in early 1998. By late 1999 they had reportedly been re-deployed to PAF Peshawar. The Pakistani Air Force currently operates some 180 Mirage aircraft of various configurations, equiping four operational squadrons [No. 5, No. 7, No. 8, No. 22 (OCU)] and a Combat Command School training squadron. Pakistan obtained 43 used Mirage IIIOs and 7 Mirage IIIODs from Australia in 1990, and purchased another 40 reconditioned Mirage IIIEs from France in 1996.
On 01 April 2009 the government promoted air vice marshal Farhat Hussain Khan to the rank of air marshal. Air Marshal Farhat Hussain Khan had commanded a fighters' squadron, a fighters' wing and an operational base. He is a graduate of the Combat Commanders' School and has undertaken the air war course and national defence course. He has served as an assistant director general of the Air Strategic Command, chief project director of the JF-17 aircraft at Air Headquarters, and as air attaché in India and has also served. He had recently been appointed as chairman Pakistan Aeronautical Complex at Kamra. He is a recipient of the Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Military), Sitara-e-Imtiaz (Military) and Sitara-e-Basalat.
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