KARACHI - Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman said on Saturday the PAF Search and Rescue squadron had been re-equipped with AW-139 (Augusta Westland) helicopters.

The PAF ceremony was held at PAF Base in Jacobabad. The air chief said that with the induction of the state-of-the-art helicopter on its inventory, the squadron has been renamed as No 88 Combat Support Squadron and Advanced Helicopter Training School.

Three ship formation, comprising 01 MI 171 and 02 AW 139 Augusta helicopters, presented the fly-past over the venue.

The air chief said, “The PAF, after an in-depth analysis of the Search and Rescue platforms available worldwide, selected AW-139 as the most effective solution for our requirements.”

He said: “The state-of-the-art machine that we have inducted is a manifestation of stern commitment of the PAF to modernisation and capability enhancement.”

“I firmly believe that this will become a stepping stone in achieving more complex capabilities as regard to the helicopter fleet. The AW-139 promises a feature of enhancing the PAF capability due to its versatile roles,” he added.

He said the vision of taking helicopter fleet of the PAF into 21st century could not have been achieved any other way.

The induction of AW-139 helicopters would considerably enhance the operational capabilities of this squadron which was flying vintage MI 171 helicopters earlier. Being a pioneer squadron of AW-139 helicopters in PAF, it would also serve as a conversion unit for the young pilots to train them on this system. High ranking military officials along with civil dignitaries also attended the ceremony.