January 2022 Editorial:
As we recuperate and start adjusting to the new ‘normal’ in post-COVID-19 times, we look forward to the future with renewed hope and vigor. The future certainly looks exciting, holding incalculable potential in aviation technologies. Observing emerging technologies in aviation and aerospace, ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Star Trek movies come to mind. As kids, we watched these sci-fi movies in awe. It was hard to believe that such peaks of technology would ever be possible. However, it all seems possible now, after a few decades. From hypersonic aircraft flying at enormous speeds to aerial platforms equipped with laser weapons, seems like we’re barely scratching the surface of what’s possible. This is what we have carried as the cover story, bringing out an in-depth analysis of airpower in 2050 and beyond. New emerging technologies in every field around us are making our lives easy, however, it is pertinent to note that they also come with inherent risks and dangers. With cyber warfare quickly becoming a beast to be tackled, PAF has established its own cyber wing to combat nefarious attacks in the realm of cyberspace. While discussing futuristic developments, it is also important to look at the past and bring out stories that are long forgotten. One such interesting tale which we penned down for our worthy readers, is of ‘Fantastic Fantan’, the rugged A-5 III aircraft which served the PAF for decades. In this edition, we have featured an in-depth account of the day when it all starts, the Passing Out Parade. It is a day when boys turn into men, taking a headfirst plunge into the skies that they will dominate for the rest of their lives. When talking about the past, one cannot forget the sacrifices of our gallant Shuhada, Ghazis, and veterans who went beyond the call of duty to safeguard the aerial frontiers of our beloved country. Like always, last year’s Martyrs’ Day was observed by PAF personnel with honor. In contemporary times, mutual cooperation and learning from each other’s experiences are crucial between friendly nations. When this aspect is examined through the lens of air forces, a very effective tool to achieve these goals is international air exercises. Recently, such an exercise was curated by Turkey, titled ‘Anatolian Eagle-2021’, which has been suitably covered by our foreign correspondent. Pakistan has taken a similar initiative in the form of the ACES Meet. The exercise was a huge success, with Turkey and several other air forces participating in the auspicious event. Another event that has been covered in detail is the aviation powerhouse Dubai Airshow 2021. The airshow has gradually grown into an event attended by thousands of high-profile aviation officials securing deals worth billions of dollars in a matter of days. Another interesting chapter of PAF history that needs apt recognition was the initiative taken in the 1950s by AVM Sir Richard Atcherley, the then C-in-C of RPAF. Titled ‘Shaheen Air Training Corps’ and ‘University Air Squadron’, the two schemes were launched by RPAF to attract youth to join the air force. The most alluring feature of these endeavors was the training that the cadets received on gliders and piston-engine training aircraft. A large number of PAF officers are the product of these shinning schemes, ACM Anwar Shamim Khan and Air Cdre MM Alam being a few of the examples. The exploits of national hero Wg Cdr Salim Baig have also been presented in this issue. Despite having two confirmed aerial kills against IAF to his name and being credited with flying sorties that had a definite hand in turning the tide of the war, the hero has shunned the fame that he rightly deserved. We end with flair. The F-16 is one of the most iconic fighters in the history of aviation. Different air forces around the world have painted their F-16s in striking liveries, which we have captured in all their glory for readers. The usual updates and aviation news from all around the world have been thoroughly covered, as well. As always, it was a pleasure to curate the magazine. We strive to bring you the best content that aviation has to offer. We hope that commitment shines through. Happy Readings!
July 2021 Editorial:
It appears that the menace of COVID-19 is finally losing its grasp and it is a beginning of a new dawn after a long, dark night. Things are finally looking up. Vaccines are being administered, hospitals are being relieved and the death toll has finally slowed down. However, the pandemic has not only changed the way we used to contemplate and tackle challenges but has also disturbed the dynamics of the contemporary world. Global economies have shattered, big businesses have collapsed and the nations are vying to make a fresh start. Fortunately, Pakistan was amongst those nations that handled the pandemic well, a fact which has also been acknowledged by international monitoring bodies. PAF took this spirit a step further, finding ways to keep the work going while taking all necessary precautions. One shining example is PAF’s indigenous JF-17 Thunder program. Recently, Nigeria acquired this state-of-the-art aircraft for its air force, a testimony to its ever-increasing demand among potential buyers. This feat was not achieved overnight. PAF’s leadership carefully orchestrated a decade-long promotional campaign for JF-17 Thunder across continents and this is what we have taken up in this edition as the lead story. Titled ‘Thunder around the World’, this special feature is as thrilling as the aerobatics display of ‘Thunder’ itself. Another aircraft and its crew from the past that deserves recognition is the Bristol Freighter. With years of infallible service, the workhorse and its resilient aircrew have done it all. From dropping supplies in war zones to ridding areas of locust swarms, the Freighter has made a name for itself. However, we know that any aircraft is only as good as the pilot. We have the perfect example of this in the form of legendary Air Cdre FS Hussain. Cheered on by Kings, Queens, premiers, and heads of state, FS Hussain’s daredevil solo aerobatics left millions in awe all over the world. Another individual that deserves recognition but has been lost in the pages of history is Sqn Ldr Muhammad Ashfaq. A fearless airman who put his life on the edge during both the major wars with the enemy. While talking about PAF men and their professionalism, we bring out to you an untold tale never heard before. Narrated by the veteran himself, the story of ferrying the defected Afghan AN-26 aircraft during the 1980s would surely enthrall our readers. Feats like these cannot be achieved by a few, they require synergy. And while talking about that, the recently held ‘ACES Meet’ exercise comes to our mind. We give our readers an in-depth account of the exercise that saw unprecedented collaboration between the participating allied air forces. Of course, any air force is only as good as the man at its helm. PAF has been fortunate in this regard, having a legacy of unsurpassed leadership. This heritage is currently upheld by Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Baber Sidhu, who recently led a dazzling flypast on 25 March, initiating the Pakistan Day Parade in all its glory. Another huge development in the field of emerging technologies that came under our radar, recently, was the repair of a battle-damaged ‘Saab Gripen’ by using additive concepts. The technology has opened up a plethora of options never available before and this is what we have aptly covered in our ‘technology watch’ section. Another evolving concept that is taking the world by storm is Artificial Intelligence (AI). We shall take a gander at how AI has changed the ball game, where it’s headed, and how we can take advantage of this advancement and acquire it, especially in the aerospace industry. Adopting emerging technologies has always remained the top priority of PAF, for a long. As always, this was also observed in 1984, when the Cold War was at its peak. We shall delve into the tale of how Pakistan almost acquired the famous F-20 ‘Tiger shark’ from the USA and how the decision changed after trials undertaken by AVM Abbas Mirza (Retd). As we recover from the onslaught of COVID-19, we need to keep our hopes high and look toward a better future. Pakistan is famous for its resilience and resourcefulness. So, keeping that in mind, we have a line-up for you that you will find diverse, interesting, and inspiring. If you are able to feel any of these emotions, we would have done our job effectively. Happy Readings!
April 2021 Editorial:
Perhaps the most important event of the last quarter was the change of command ceremony held at Air Headquarters on 19 March. The event marked the culmination of the glorious command of outgoing CAS, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan. Three years of his command saw various high-stake scenarios and challenges that were handled judiciously with the wise counsel of the outgoing Air Chief. The nation is thankful for his relentless services. The occasion also marked the beginning of a promising era under the leadership of Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Baber Sidhu. The incoming Air Chief is a harbinger of renewed rigor for PAF and would surely carry on the legacy left by his worthy predecessors. We have comprehensively covered the proceedings of the historical event in our main feature. Moving ahead, we take up coverage of Pakistan Day celebrations. Air Chief was just in time to supervise the impressive air display put on by his men on this historical day. PAF’s flypast was the highlight of the day’s proceedings and also a source of reassurance of the nation’s trust in its air force. Our team has aptly covered the proceedings of the day in the inside pages. Two special features which we carry in this edition required detailed research, collection of data/ photo archives, and in-depth interviews of the serving and retired PAF personnel. After several sleepless nights and painstaking efforts, we are proud to put together these pieces which will surely interest our worthy readers. First is a tribute to the personnel of No 12 Sqn who have proudly carried forward the legacy of the founder of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah to this day. Flying the PAF air chiefs, head of the states, and premiers of Pakistan to locations where they are needed the most is no easy job. It requires 24/7 commitment and utmost responsibility, which these gallant men are fulfilled for years now. Next is a legendary tale of the aircraft from RPAF days that replaced the already impressive Hawker Tempest and immediately became the new favorite, the feisty Sea Fury. The aircraft and its crew made history on many fronts. From performing watch and ward duties in the troubled west to carrying out anti-locust operations in drought-ridden south, the services of this nifty fighter and its crew shall be long remembered. Another aircraft that has earned itself the title of PAF workhorse is the Miracle Mirage. From the 1971 Indo- Pak war to the latest conquest of Ops Swift Retort, Mirages have been on the frontlines of all the major conflicts the nation has seen over the period. This year, PAF orchestrated a formal ceremony to acknowledge the services of its various units which have operated this aircraft for decades. The services of its veteran crew were also recognized as keeping in line with the finest traditions of PAF. Following the usual contrast, we travel from the past to the future, diving into the hi-tech world of UAVs. Tracing the evolution of these pilotless birds, we shall dissect the strategic importance these never-before-seen assets hold in modern battlefields. Have you ever taken UFO stories seriously? The US of the 1950s definitely did. In this issue, we carry the mysterious tale of how flying saucers became reality and how an entire nation was obsessed over them for almost a decade. Another interesting piece of aviation technology that we’ll discuss is the Ramjet. Beginning with its basic work, we shall go on to analyze how the technology can prove itself to be a prudent alternative to the other types of jet engines. Delving into regional problems, we shall elaborate on the history and the future of water politics between Pakistan and India, examining the Indus Water Treaty and the various violations made by our belligerent neighbor in this regard. Ending on a higher note, the last article is a coverage of the massive desert rally held every year in exotic Cholistan. Attended this year by over a hundred modified, advanced, rugged off-roaders, it is an affair fuelled by gas and adrenalin. Towards the end, we would like to remind our worthy readers and the public at large about the alarming onslaught of the third wave of the covid-19 pandemic in Pakistan. We urge everyone to take precautions in line with the guidelines provided by the concerned authorities; stay indoors, avoid public gatherings and wear a mask. This is the least we can do as responsible citizens in our fight against this menace. Coming back to this edition, as you have probably guessed by now, it’s going to be a little more than an interesting read this time. So, stay indoors, grab a warm cup of tea, and dive right in. Happy Readings!
January 2021 Editorial:
This issue marks a special occasion. It is the fifth edition of ‘Second to None’, marking the first anniversary of the magazine. In just one year, what started as a dream has spiraled into an anticipated literary achievement with a reader base that numbers into thousands. With the subscribers growing every single day and the mass appeal more than the team could possibly hope for, Second to None has made its mark. We thank our readers for showing overwhelming appreciation in such a brief period. It is a proud moment for the team, indeed. These have been tough times; it hasn’t been easy. With the onslaught of novel coronavirus pandemic, every single member of the team has had to pull their weight. Long hours and remote working arrangements presented obstacles at every turn. However, I am pleased to note that the team at Second to None has stayed true to its commitment. I also extend my gratitude to our worthy contributors who help us produce the quality content that our readers have come to expect. I would also like to thank our worthy Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan for his perpetual support and scrutiny to ensure that the publication lives up to its name. In an exclusive feature, the current edition chronicles his journey to excellence and shows how he has risen up to continue the legacy of his exemplary predecessors. We move on to discuss the enigmatic ‘Tempest’, Pakistan’s first fighter aircraft. An entire generation of budding pilots, engineers, and technicians learned the craft of aviation with this historic fighter. Another episode taken from the annals of history is ‘RAF Station Drigh Road’ now renamed PAF Base Faisal. The base has seen more than a century of action and is still standing tall to this day. Another very interesting page of history has been penned down by Wg Cdr Randhawa (Retd), wherein T-33 dual seat trainers were used as low-level bombers in the 1971 war. We move on to discuss the journey of the Eurofighter’, an aircraft that is serving more than nine nations across the world. Almost two decades ago, the Eurofighter started as a formidable aircraft and will continue to evolve well into the future. When pondering on the future of aviation, the impressive advancement of stealth technology cannot be ignored. We shall dissect the role of stealth in present-day air warfare and how the technology is becoming exponentially more intricate and effective with each passing day. On a page from the history of WWII, we bring to you the tale of the uncanny, ‘Night Witches’. The world is still intrigued by the unbelievable heroics of this all-female night bomber regiment of the USSR which turned tables against Nazi Germany during the war. It is apparent to all that technological advancement holds its dangers too. India’s militarization of its ambitious space program is the perfect example, which is a threat to the peace and stability of the entire region. This is not idle speculation. India’s brutal treatment of Kashmiris and endless human rights violations in the region are no secret, which we shall also shed light on. We also pay homage to two legendary personalities who spent their lives in service to the country, each in their own way. First is Air Marshal Dilawar Hussain, a recently departed hero whose relentless bravery against the enemy in both wars will be remembered for decades to come. Second is Hugh Catchpole, a British national who spent his life in Pakistan, as an educationist. From the military to the judiciary and from bureaucracy to entrepreneurship, his pupils are serving the country in a befitting manner, worthy of his name. Towards the end, a colorful article showcases the real beauty of Pakistan and discusses the tourism potentials of this land of the pure. It has been a tough year for all of us. Let’s hope that the coming year and the years to follow bring to our prosperity and health. All we need is to stay strong!! In the end, I wish all my readers a very Happy New Year and Happy First Anniversary of ‘Second to None’. Go on and enjoy reading the Anniversary Edition.
October 2020 Editorial: There’s no denying it, these are testing times. Humankind has not seen such a global menace COVID-19 in a long time. As every single person struggles to cope with the perpetual uncertainty, we must rally as a nation. That was what we had in our sights whilst curating this edition, to look back to our resilient past and promising future. The lead story provides an overview of the evaluation of Pakistan’s airpower capabilities and the available wherewithal at the disposal of three services to deal with contemporary challenges. Another feature chronicles the F-6s and what earned them the status ‘The PAF workhorse’. Since aircraft and equipment can only be as capable as their handlers, we shall narrate the tale of the highly competent Air Cdre Władysław Turowicz, a former polish air force officer, who proved himself to be a true Pakistani. The services rendered by No 10 squadron are also chronicled, with men who have perfected the art of air-to-air refueling. Fortunately, inspirational stories are not just to be found in the nation’s past. Even in these tumultuous times, we have stories of the human spirit overcoming all odds to achieve what it set out to. One such story is that of Rashidabad, the brainchild of Air Cdre Shabbir Ahmed Khan. It is an elevating tale of how an ‘iron will’ can make something useful out of the most shattering of tragedies. Although Rashidabad’s epic spans decades, we also have the tale of senior technician Muhammad Sajjad, which lasted for no more than 18 hours. A man who braved against all odds while holding on to dear life, adrift in the high seas. Add to this, one teacher’s dream to reimagine preschool learning at the PAFWA Educational System (PES) Primary School. Read about a school, where children move around, choose their own activities and the love of learning is instilled in their young minds. However, inspiration can be rendered futile without a realistic assessment of the current circumstances. With a single virus disrupting the world order as we see it, individuals, as well as entire nations, hurry to cope with the immense threat to humanity. We explore how, as the world order is disrupted, old powers stagger and new contenders rise to affirm themselves. An extremely worrisome by-product of these changing dynamics is the accelerated arms race started by our hostile neighbor, India. On the other hand, technology takes a huge leap forward in the form of 5G networks, which the author elaborates with a fictitious anecdote of how life could be in the 5G lane. Always endeavoring to bring innovation to our publication, we have introduced a new segment of important aviation news from around the world. I hope our worthy readers would like this new addition to the format. All in all, to declare that the issue you hold in your hand is interesting, would be an understatement. Happy Reading!
July 2020 Editorial:
There’s no denying it, these are testing times. Humankind has not seen such a global menace as COVID-19 in a long time. As every single person struggles to cope with the perpetual uncertainty, we must rally as a nation. That was what we had in our sights whilst curating this edition, to look back to our resilient past and promising future. The lead story provides an overview of the evaluation of Pakistan’s airpower capabilities and the available wherewithal at the disposal of three services to deal with contemporary challenges. Another feature chronicles the F-6s and what earned them the status ‘The PAF workhorse’. Since aircraft and equipment can only be as capable as their handlers, we shall narrate the tale of the highly competent Air Cdre Władysław Turowicz, a former polish T air force officer, who proved himself to be a true Pakistani. The services rendered by No 10 squadron are also chronicled, with men who have perfected the art of air-to-air refueling. Fortunately, inspirational stories are not just to be found in the nation’s past. Even in these tumultuous times, we have stories of the human spirit overcoming all odds to achieve what they set out to. One of such stories is that of Rashidabad, the brainchild of Air Cdre Shabbir Ahmed Khan. It is an elevating tale of how an ‘iron will’ can make something useful out of the most shattering of tragedies. Although Rashidabad’s epic spans decades, we also have the tale of senior technician Muhammad Sajjad, which lasted for no more than 18 hours. A man who braved against all odds while holding on to dear life, adrift in the high seas. Add to this, one teacher’s dream to reimagine preschool learning at the PAFWA Educational System (PES) Primary School. Read about a school, where children move around, choose their own activities and the love of learning is instilled in their young minds. However, inspiration can be rendered futile without a realistic assessment of the current circumstances. With a single virus disrupting the world order as we see it, individuals, as well as entire nations, hurry to cope with the immense threat to humanity. We explore how, as the world order is disrupted, old powers stagger, and new contenders rise to affirm themselves. An extremely worrisome by-product of these changing dynamics is the accelerated arms race started by our hostile neighbor, India. On the other hand, technology takes a huge leap forward in the form of 5G networks, which the author elaborates with a fictitious anecdote of how life could be in 5G lane. Always endeavoring to bring innovation to our publication, we have introduced a new segment of important aviation news from around the world. I hope our worthy readers would like this new addition to the format. All in all, to declare that the issue you hold in your hand is interesting, would be an understatement. Happy Reading!
April 2020 Editorial:
With the first issue of Second to None, a small yet unwavering team set out to achieve an enormous task. Several late nights and endless efforts later, we finally produced an edition of the magazine that we were content with. As we waited with bated breath, it was read by enthusiasts from all spheres of life. Then, the praise started rolling in. It was beyond what we had hoped for and all our hard work got recognition. We thank you, our readers from all across the world, for the appreciation, for your kind words, and the overwhelming response for making the inaugural magazine, a huge success. Now, we present to you the second edition. We have touched upon a variety of topics and the magazine has been curated with even more meticulous care. With the first anniversary of Operation Swift Retort (OSR), we celebrate the resilience of the nation and analyze the events which made headlines during the last year. It further delves into the history and dynamics of auspicious Inter Squadron Armament Competitions (ISAC) and its skillful Sher Afghans. We also pay tribute to Wg Cdr Nauman Akram (Shaheed), the man who left many hearts forlorn but much more filled with pride. Speaking of men who make PAF proud, we shall step into the boots of SSW Commandos, dauntless men who are trained to overcome all and any. It goes without saying that remarkable men are molded by great leaders, and PAF has had the fortune of having the finest: one of whom is Air Marshal Malik Nur Khan. The strategic and commercial gains of JF-17B Dual Seater, which has been recently acquired, are also pondered upon. Moving on from Aviation and PAF, we chronicle the incomparable legacy of Squash in-country and the efforts being made by PAF to reclaim the lost glory. Another sport in which the nation is rapidly becoming a significant player on a global scale is skiing, with skiers and enthusiasts coming in droves from all over the world. We also shed light on the deeply perturbing political and social scenario in our neighbor, India, where a single party has gripped the nation in xenophobic hate and fear. Finally, we talk about COVID 19, delving deep into what makes the virus so deadly and what measures are being taken by PAF alongside Govt of Pakistan/ other sister services to prevent its spread. We hope and pray that by the time the magazine is published, humanity has recovered from the menace of this deadly pandemic. The cover picture has been selected to emphasize the success of the JF-17 Thunder project. OSR was the perfect arena for PAF’s indigenous, single-engine, super-maneuverable JF-17 Thunder to be battle-tested and it more than proved its mettle. So, strap-up, because you are in for a thrilling ride!
January 2020 Editorial: It is with great delight and pride that we bring to you the first-ever magazine dedicated to Pakistan Air Force. The title for this publication has been borrowed from the kind words of the founder of this great nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. It was during his first visit to the then Royal Pakistan Air Force College, in 1948, where Jinnah said that a country without a strong air force is at the mercy of any aggressor. “Pakistan must build up her air force as quickly as possible. It must be an efficient air force Second to None,” he called upon the nation. This edition has been all about bringing to your events and happenings that put the PAF at the forefront. Second to None explores a range of interesting events and developments starting with a reminiscent look back at the 50 golden years the Mirage has been in service, an aircraft that makes up the bulk of jet fighters in the PAF inventory. Besides the latest in space technology, we also pay tribute to the world-class aerobatics demonstration team of PAF, the Sherdils. Once more, the PAF crew and its C-130 Hercules was the center of attraction at RIAT, the world’s biggest military air show. We also bring to you heartfelt stories from winter sports held in Naltar valley, and a stunning cover image of a climbing PAF Mirage, symbolizing determination and courage in the face of adversity and doing an amazing job, all of which epitomize the Pakistan Air Force. Impactful current affairs from the nation and from around the world are also covered pragmatically. The magazine would also encapsulate the heroic deeds of fliers, who once ruled the skies, besides acknowledging the valiant courage of the ground crew, who guarded the nation they loved and held allegiance to. Through a series of articles and features, the magazine will also pay homage to top guns of the past who wore silver wings. These warriors victory-rolled glided and tail-chased at heaven’s doors, with God as their protector. The past several months have been busy, gathering the views and opinions of contributors. For all their kind support and cooperation to make this publication a success, the makers of this magazine are grateful. To match the standards of world-class international magazines dedicated to the air forces of the world, the editorial team invited submissions from renowned foreign aviation writers and photographers, for our readers to admire. The news stories and features are written by authors who hold expertise in their respective fields and are in line with our literary mission. The high definition images have been provided by the personnel of the Pakistan Air Force, Directorate of Media Affairs, and foreign contributors with a keen interest in aviation photography. We are thankful to all of them. Our mission has been to curate the contents of the magazine in a way that makes it jump off the shelf. In line with inspiring aviation magazines, our team has used a visually appealing design to create material that stands out and is aesthetically memorable. The captions and taglines are simple as well as clever that explain illustrations in an attractive manner. Contents are neither the official views nor endorsed by the PAF. Information in this magazine is current at the time of publication. We would also like to thank Air Marshal Aasim Zaheer, the Patron-in-Chief, for his continuous support and valuable guidance in bringing out the first edition of this magazine. We hope you enjoy and learn from the inspiring stories in this magazine as much as we loved compiling them for our valued readers. Enjoy reading and do give us your feedback.