PAF No. 88 Squadron Equipped With AgustaWestland AW139 Helicopters

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Abbas Ali
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PAF No. 88 Squadron Equipped With AgustaWestland AW139 Helicopters

Post by Abbas Ali »

According to news sources, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) No. 88 Search and Rescue (SAR) Squadron has been equipped with AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters in a ceremony arranged at PAF Base Shahbaz - Jacobabad today. Chief of Air Staff of the PAF Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman was the chief guest at the ceremony.

The squadron is renamed as No. 88 Combat Support Squadron and Advanced Helicopter Training School with the induction of these new helicopters.

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AgustaWestland AW139 pair led by an Mi-171 helicopter in the flypast.

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Salman Haider
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Re: PAF No. 88 Squadron Equipped With AgustaWestland AW139 Helicopters

Post by Salman Haider »

AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters

Photo link: http://falcons.pk/photo/AgustaWestland-AW139/657

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nd
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Re: PAF No. 88 Squadron Equipped With AgustaWestland AW139 Helicopters

Post by nd »

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TAILWIND
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Re: PAF No. 88 Squadron Equipped With AgustaWestland AW139 Helicopters

Post by TAILWIND »

HAving two SAR helicopters at every flying base is standard. Now that they are phasing out Allouette helicopters, and inducted AW139 (which in my opinion is not a suitable replacement for the role), whats the big deal for such a pomp and show?

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Re: PAF No. 88 Squadron Equipped With AgustaWestland AW139 Helicopters

Post by TAILWIND »

Previously Allouette III helicopters were employed as SAR helicopters in PAF. Their ideal replacement could have been a helicopter in same light utility class e.g AS350 Ecuirriel, Bell etc. Instead PAF selected a AW139 medium twin helicopter 5 times the cost.
Seems strange

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Re: PAF No. 88 Squadron Equipped With AgustaWestland AW139 Helicopters

Post by Abbas Ali »

^ Very good analysis.

AW139 does look too big for tasks like recovery of one or two ejected pilots of air force aircraft.

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Re: PAF No. 88 Squadron Equipped With AgustaWestland AW139 Helicopters

Post by Guru »

AW139 does look too big for tasks like recovery of one or two ejected pilots of air force aircraft.
Not really if you hear the story of a pilot who ejected in hilly/jungle terrain close to sun set. His leg got fractured during the landing. He heard aircraft nearby presumably looking for him but they were unable to locate him. He fired two very cartridges to draw attention but when he was not noticed, he decided to save the rest for later use. In pain and bleeding, he spread his parachute to a make himself visible but the aircraft were on the other side of the hill and couldn't find him. Soon night fell and the sound of the aircraft receded. They returned to base as the air force did not have night SAR (search and rescue) capability. He felt dizzy from blood loss and as he heard the sound of wild animals close by, he tried his best to drag himself up and crawl towards yet higher ground. With a broken and bleeding leg, he was of course unable to stand up or walk, let alone run. Eating a few biscuits from the survival kit, he was expecting to be either consumed by the animals or die from blood loss. On a cold winter night, under open sky, curled up in his parachute, remembering his family and praying to Allah, somewhere during the night, he fell unconscious. At day break, as the sun came up, he regained consciousness and felt relieved to be still alive. For some good reason known only to Allah, he had been spared by the wolves. He waited and not before long, he heard the sound of aircraft and a helicopter. He laid out his parachute once again. Soon, as the aircraft approached overhead, he fired his flares again and was located. The helicopter picked him up and brought him to the hospital. He survived but was declared medically unfit.

This is not a concocted story, rather a true account narrated to me personally by a fellow air force officer. He left the PAF, joined PIA and now after retirement from PIA, flies for Shaheen.

If the PAF had night SAR capability then, such a torturous and painful ordeal of this pilot would have been avoided. Now please read your statement again:
AW139 does look too big for tasks like recovery of one or two ejected pilots of air force aircraft.

I hope the AW139 doesn't look too big for tasks like recovery of one or two ejected pilots of the air force to you anymore.

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Re: PAF No. 88 Squadron Equipped With AgustaWestland AW139 Helicopters

Post by TAILWIND »

Night SAR capability is not unique to AW139. A suitably equipped AS350 e.g NVG compatible cockpit and/or FLIR can do the job.

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Re: PAF No. 88 Squadron Equipped With AgustaWestland AW139 Helicopters

Post by Guru »

TAILWIND wrote: Thu Mar 08, 2018 3:34 pm Night SAR capability is not unique to AW139. A suitably equipped AS350 e.g NVG compatible cockpit and/or FLIR can do the job.
Agreed. My assertion was to highlight the importance of rescuing ejected pilots in time which he was trying to relegate to a useless chore.

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Re: PAF No. 88 Squadron Equipped With AgustaWestland AW139 Helicopters

Post by TAILWIND »

:thumbs_up: