On 3 December, India formally declared war against Pakistan following massive preemptive strikes by the PAF against Indian Air Force installations in Srinagar, Ambala, Sirsa, Halwara and Jodhpur.However, the IAF did not suffer significantly because the leadership had anticipated such a move and precautions were taken.

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According to Air Commodore (retired) Sajjad Haider who flew with No.

19 squadron, the F-104 Starfighter did not deserve its reputation as "the pride of the PAF" because it "was unsuited to the tactical environment of the region.

All received allotted at the time of independence of Pakistan from British India.

It started with 7 operational airbases scattered all over the provinces.

The PAF claimed it shot down 104 IAF planes and lost 19 of its own, while the IAF claimed it shot down 73 PAF planes and lost 59. These were later returned to China in exchange for more Shenyang F-6. 5 Squadron started converting to the Dassault Mirage IIIEP.

As the F-6 was a short range air defence fighter, the Mirage III was the PAF's main offensive weapon. The Mirage was also restricted by lack of equipment such as bomb pylons and missile launchers, which meant the Mirage III fleet was limited in terms of weapon configurations.

In 1934, this element of the Royal Indian Air Force (RIAF) was extended to the north for operations in North-West Frontier Province.

The RIAF had also contributed to the defeat of Japanese invasion during World War II...

Initially it had planned to acquire US-built F-94Cs, F-86s, or F-84s and produce its order in Pakistan.