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We have visited many museums throughout the world, but the park-like layout and immaculately kept collection of the Pakistan Air Force Museum is rare. Although it proves challenging to get clear shots of the aircraft, we decided to illustrate the full inventory as a tribute to the efforts in preserving Pakistan's military aviation heritage. Divided in the main sections of the museum, all are in alphabetical order of aircraft type.

Gate guard

Standing guard on poles is CL-13B falsely marked as "1622". It used to be painted up as F-86F "55-5005", its true identity is still unknown.

Outside exibits

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The museum has two A-5III. The first one, 3W-106, sits in a remote area. It may be stored awaiting display elsewhere in the area. The main collection features A-5III 3W-121 in fine shape. Still marked with the 16 squadron Black Panthers badge of its last operating unit at Peshawar that is now equipped with the JF-17.

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Continuing with the letter A, we get two Antonov transports that have an Afghan pedigree. First up is An-12 serial 380. It used to be at Chaklala, Islamabad, now named Nur Khan AB, between 1992 and 2002 but was transferred to the museum. Another defector is An-26 278. It is in the museum since 2003 and could also be serial 276 as this was noted on the the airframe in the past too.

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B-26B Invaders are usually found in the USA, this former French aircraft, 44-34568, is on display. Next up is the B-57B 53-3957, the type was used until 1992 at Masroor.

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Continuing with this anonymous Beech B95, that should be 57-111. It was used as liaison aircraft from 1966 to the late nineties. Naval patrol aircraft are based on the other side of the museum's fence at Pakistan Naval Station Mehran. They used to operate Breguet 1150 Atlantics, like this 94, but  that type was withdrawn and the Navy now uses P-3C aircraft. Throughout the years PAF used a wide variety of Cessna types. This AP-AOU is a Ce180G.

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Ties with Turkey have always been good. The museum at Etimesgut in Ankara has a PAF F-6 on display while this CF-104 62-862/8-862 is gracefully displayed at the PAF museum.

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Sabres played a pivotal role in defending Pakistan. The first air-to-air kill was achieved in F-86F 55-5005. Most numerous are the former German Air Force CL-13B Sabres 6s. Of these, three are displayed outside. Camouflaged 1626 sits in a dispersal illustrating a typical scene at an air base. CL-13B 1792 is painted in a dark green colour scheme and the more standard colours are silver, as is shown by 1797 in 5sq markings. That unit now flies the latest F-16C/D block 52.

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We do love the F-104, especially a rare B-model two seat aircraft. Pakistan obtained twelve singles and only two duals, both survive. F-104B 57-1312 is falsely painted as "57-1309" that is at PAF Air Headquarters in Islamabad.

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Around 300 F-6s were used throughout the years. They formed the backbone of PAF, maintaining them saw the birth of what now is the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex at Kamra. Luckily, many of these aircraft are deservedly preserved; see also Pakistan Aircraft Monuments. First up is 1003, an early model but upgraded to meet PAF's needs. The yellow and red colours may have been applied if the aircraft was used for target towing. More standard are the colours on 4120 in 17sq markings. One of the last units the operate the type in 2002 when it was replaced with F-7PGs.

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More special colours were applied when their wihtdrawal was imminent. At least three were clad with a white and green livery like 7624. Even more elaborate is the three-way red-white-green scheme to mark the Sino-Pak success story that the F-6 turned out to be.

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Awesome and rare twin seat FT-6 10103 is displayed in its own dispersal and merits a full size picture we think.

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Recently, the museum acquired their first F-7P 89-544, formerly operated by 18(OCU)sq. In total no less than 135 F-7P/FT-7P were delivered. With the operational in-service quantity of the type rapidly diminishing, being replaced with the more capable JF-17, you can expect to see more of them on display throughout the country.

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The FT-5 was operated for many years as jet trainer. It proved an excellent and stable platform and feeder for F-6 and Mirage pilots, being used for over 35 years from 1975 to 2012. Two are in the museum, 55-1536 is in the main display area whereas 55-1615 sits at the back lawn on poles.

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Peculiar and rare is the HH-43B Husky, thought to be 62-4556. The Pakistan Air Force operated six of these helicopters until 1985. Two more airframes are kept in reserve by the museum. The 90-5314 is a MFI-17 Mushshak. The type was assembled and later manufactured in Pakistan. In fact the latest variant with a more powerful engine and optional glass cockpit, the MFI-395 Super Mushshak, is seeing export success still being in production. All current Air Force aircraft are upgraded to Super Mushshak standard.

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Two MiGs are seen here. Firstly, the very rare UTI-MiG, 71-5618 MiG-15UTI only five of which were used by PAF. The other is a MiG-21bis 937 of the Afghan Air Force, another that fled from that troubled country.

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Mirage 5PA 70-424 is displayed and rightfully so as the Mirage story is incredible. Over the years, PAF obtained nearly 300 airframes. Not all of them were for operational use. But with that stock pile, the current fleet of upgraded Mirages can easily be kept airworthy.

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On with some less exuberant types like the O-1E Bird Dog 57-6012 and unmarked Pazmani PL-2.

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The Rockwell Commander RC680E 892-S was used for unknown tasks in the eighties and nineties by the air force. In fact, the Army still uses the type. PAF academy has always had some gliders on strength. Among these was the Scheibe SF-25C Falke 44140; an unknown number of which were operated.

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Silver coated T-33A 53-5259 was used until the late seventies and is now resting at the museum. Painted in non-standard grey colours and mounted on poles is another T-bird, 56-1601. This one survived with 2sq at Masroor into the nineties. Some of its brethren still linger in dispersals on its former home base, but this one was brilliantly restored.

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Two more trainers of world fame. First up is T-37B 64-13448. Many thought the days of the Tweet were numbered when the K-8 entered the force. But the T-37 could be acquired in large numbers from the USA and Turkey enabling the rugged and reliable aircraft still to be active today. Who knows, it may even outlive the Karakorum... Another training legend is the Harvard of course. The museum has this T-6G T4200 that used to be preserved at Peshawar.

Inside display

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The huge outside display is of course a big attraction. However, inside are more gems. Also, the complete history, heroes of PAF, accomplishments, PAF commanders and units are given approriate attention there.

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Two training and light observation aircraft are suspended from the ceiling. Firstly, Auster J5F W4108 and secondly DH82A Tiger Moth D501 coded 21. Both in the, then standard, yellow colour scheme.

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This Indian Ajeet was forced to land in Pakistan. PAF ace M.M. Alam is depicted standing next to his weapon of choice, CL-13B 1756.

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Two other gems are a single seat F-104A, 56-798 sitting under the watchful eye of M.M. Alam. Also, tucked away on the far side is price exhibit Viking 1B J-750.

As you can see, this museum is well worth a visit. Just go there and experience it first hand! Maybe you can then also find out what this little plane is about:

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