Helion's Eagles of Destiny vol. 2

Author/Artists: Usman Shabbir & Yawar Mazhar


Helion  Publishing


$29.95 MSRP from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 100 pages, softcover, approx 100 images
ISBN 978-1-804510-17-9

After WWII, many areas of the world sought release from colonialism. One of the largest countries was India, which, while it already had a modicum of autonomy, wanted to be able to determine their own course. Simmering within the nation was conflict between Hindus, who were the majority, and Muslims who were the largest minority. It was felt that both religions needed their own nation so the same act that gave India sovereignty, also created the nation of Pakistan.

This book covers the period of time between 1956 and 1971. These were years that saw a lot of change in the PAF. One was the switch of major arms suppliers from the UK to the US. With US arms through the MDAP came US instruction in operations of not only equipment, but also in the way the PAF did their job. It would not be too far fetched to say that the involvement of the US turned the air force into a truly professional arm. This inculcated every aspect of the way the PAF did business from training to operations to even how they performed maintenance. This move towards being more professional in how they went about things stood them in good stead over the intervening years.

Two major wars with India occurred during the span of time covered here. Thanks to the infusion of US equipment, the Pakistan Air Force was able to meet the Indians on a more or less equal footing. Though outnumbered, Pakistani pilots were generally better trained in the operations to come and so did quite well in the various battles.

By the time of the 1971 war, Pakistan had been suffering from a US embargo which prevented things like new equipment or spare parts from entering the country through official sources. However, Pakistan had started looking to other sources for equipment (such as France and China). The country had also progressed to where they could provide many of the needed spares locally. It also didn't hurt that Iran had helped with a large batch of ex-German Sabres and during the war, Jordan provided the loan of F-104s.

In line with other books from Helion, the research is well done, there are a lot of good photos as well as nicely done maps and full color profiles. The authors do a fine job of telling the story and their are a lot of pilot's tales to make it an especially interesting read. If you have any interest in this part of the world and the PAF in particular, this and the preceding volume are highly recommended. 

May 2023

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