Pakistan Air Force Presents Its View On OBL Operation

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The Abottabad commission, which was entrusted to carry out judicial enquiry in to the events of 2nd May last year, has found enough proof for the alleged negligence by Pakistan Air Force (PAF) during the events. Justice Javed Iqbal, the current justice of Supreme Court and the former Chief Justice of the Balochistan High Court, said yesterday that the PAF failed to prevent the intrusion of the Pakistani airspace by American helicopters.
While holding a dialogue with the Chief of Air Staff Rao Qamar Suleman, Justice Iqbal noted that the American aircrafts violated the territorial sovereignty of Pakistan and that the PAF neither detected the flights nor took any action against them.
However the Air Chief Marshal justified the performance of PAF during the incident, which resulted in the death of Al Qaeda operative Osama bin Laden, along with a few of his relatives and accomplices. According to him, the American aircrafts were using the advanced Nap-of-the-earth (NOE) technology, which uses a very low altitude flight pattern. According to him, the aircrafts using the NOE flight course cannot be normally detected using the ground based airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) systems which the PAF is using.
Helicopters cruising at NOE heights are almost impossible to detect, as they can fly even lower than the surrounding canopy level, at 15 to 25 meters height from the ground. Since the nearby treetops and electric lines are higher than the flight path, it is extremely difficult to detect the aircraft. According to the PAF chief, the air defence facilities also need a certain amount of time after the detection of the aircraft through radars to launch the counter-offensive and in this case the helicopters cleared the Pakistani airspace even before any retaliatory action could be initiated. The Air Chief Marshal also claimed that the intelligence agencies failed to give the PAF any information on the impending airstrikes.
In addition to reviewing the 2nd May events, the commission also made enquiries in to the NATO airstrikes on two Pakistani check posts near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. Chief Marshal Suleman detailed the commission on the measures taken after the NATO air strikes and said that the air defence capabilities have been boosted in the face of recent events.

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