Pakistani Armed Forces ORBAT, Part 5: Air Defence

Pakistan air defence ceremony

Pakistan’s Air Defence (AD) system is a tri-service and mutually integrated setup with the main focus on defence against India. PAF laid the foundation of an integrated AD network in 1976 or 1977 under “Project Crystal”. Multiple fixed and mobile radar systems were acquired to set the foundation.

Presently, Air Defence Command (ADC) is responsible for air defence of strategic nature.Its Command HQ is located in Chaklala, Rawalpindi and it controls four geographical Sector HQs. Each such sector HQ controls one Sector Operations Centre (SOC) which gets its inputs from a mix of sensors and radars (airborne and ground based). Operational Control Centres (OCC) which work alongside SOC control the actual AD actions like use of SAMs, interceptors and other available assets . Army’s AD command is located at Chaklala and is under direct control of GHQ. Each of the army’s AD brigade has multiple regiments with AAA guns, MANPADs and SAMs.

There are 3 sub-commands, Northern, Southern and Central based in Peshawar, Sargodha and Masroor respectively. There are four Sector Operations Centres: 

  • North – Peshawar
  • South – Karachi
  • Centre – Sargodha
  • West – Quetta

Following types of Air Defence formations are in service:

  • Air Defence Regiments: 

Following type of AD Regiments exist:

  1. Surface To Air Missile (SAM) Regiments.
  2. Mixed Regiments (AAA and SAM)
  3. Surveillance, Control and Reporting (SCR) Regiments.

There seem to be 70+ AD regiments. These are listed later in this chapter.

Each regiment usually has following characteristics:

  1. 3 batteries with 4-6 SAM launchers or 6 AAA guns. Newer HQ-9 and HQ-16/LY-80 (9 batteries) may have a different structure.
  2. 300-400 troops commanded by a Major and sometimes a Captain..
  3. Radar section in some regiments
  • Air Defence Brigades: Attached to Armoured divisions. 12-14 Brigades
  • Air Defence Divisions: Attached to Corps. 2 Div

IMAGE: Pakistan Army Air Defence Flag

Image: Pakistan Army Air Defence Insignia

Air Defence Weapon Systems of Pakistan

Pakistani air defence system is based upon a mixture of ground based static and mobile system as well as air-borne assets like AWACS and interceptors operated by Air Force. This section covers the ground based defences consisting of SAMs, AA Guns and radars.



HQ-16/LY-80 form the Low to Medium Air Defence (LOMAD) part of Pakistani AD systems. They had ordered 3 batteries and 8 IBIS-150 radars in 2013 and 6 more batteries again in 2014.  Each firing battery has 4 vertical launch vehicles with 6 launch tubes making a total of 24 missiles in each battery. Command & Control, search radar and tracking radar are carried separately. Support vehicles include vehicles for power supply, testing, loading and maintenance. 

It uses a mast mounted S-band 3-D passive phased array radar with a range of roughly 150 km as search radar. L-band passive electronically scanned array radars with a range of 80-85 km are used for guidance and tracking. It can detect up to 6 targets and track 4 at the same time.

According to some news reports in mid 2021, there weren some problems with the system and teams of Chinese engineers were sent for troubleshooting.


IMAGES: Pakistani HQ-9/P SAM system during its raising Army Air Defence Centre, Karachi. Oct 2021

HQ-9/P is the latest and longest ranged SAM system in service with Pakistan and forms core of their High to Medium Altitude Air Defence System (HIMAD) and contributes to Comprehensive Layered Integrated Air Defence (CLIAD) of Pakistan  It’s claimed to have a range of 100 km against aircraft and cruise missiles with a high “single shot kill probability”. 

HQ-9s ( a copy of Russian S-300) in Chinese service have a claimed range of 120 km for HQ-9 and 250 km fr HQ-9B with flight ceiling of 50 km. It’s not clear what customisations have been offered to Pakistan or the number of batteries on order.


IMAGE: HQ7-B/FM-90 Mobile Launcher.
IMAGE: HQ7-B/FM-90 Mobile Launcher.

HQ-7 is a Chinese copy of French Crotale SAM. This system’s range against aircraft is 0.7 km to 7 km and against cruise missiles is 0.7 km to 11 km with maximum flight ceiling of 12 km. It can detect a target with radar cross section of 0.1 m sq at 20 km and track at 18 km.  It uses mechanically steered S-band 3D Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar which can detect 48 targets and track 24. Each battery has 3 wheeled launchers with each carrying 4 missiles. 


IMAGE: Spada SAM Launcher
IMAGE: Spada SAM Launcher

Spada SAMs bought from Italy are under control of PAF AD formations. It can detect targets up to 60 km away and engage them at 25 km. 750 missiles for 10 batteries with 2 sections each were bought for USD 650 million in 2010. These are deployed in Chaklala, Jacobabad, Kahuta, Kamra, Karachi, Sargodha and Khushab. 


Pakistan uses a large variety of shortranged man portable air defence systems which include laser guided Swedish RBS-70 and infrared homing Anza (copy of Chinese QW-1), Chinese F-6 and American Stinger. Most of the army’s AD units are equipped with these missiles along with AA guns for point defence roles. Some of the M113 APCs carry atleast 1 MANPADs too

Anti Aircraft Guns

Pakistan is known to operate towed and self-propelled anti-aircraft guns of 12.7, 20, 35, 37 and 57 mm calibres. A few of them are radar guided.

HQ-16AE/LY-8040189 x 4IBIS-150 L-Band PESA 150km
HQ-927, 5050
HQ-7B/FM-90 SP0.7 -150.015-615 x 3S-Band AESA.25 km
SPADA-2000250.4-1010x 2 sections (6 missiles/ launcher). 750 missilesRAC-3D. 60km
Anza0.5-60.03-42400-3500 missilesIR
FIM-92 Stinger83.5350 missilesIR
FN-6 MANPAD5.53.8295 missilesIR
RBS-70 MANPAD. SP53140Laser
TABLE: SAMs in service

IMAGE: TPS-77 Radar. Some of them are in fixed domes.
IMAGE: TPS-77 Radar. Some of them are in fixed domes.

IMAGE: IBIS-150 Radar. Part of HQ-16/LY-80 SAM system
IMAGE: IBIS-150 Radar. Part of HQ-16/LY-80 SAM system

IMAGE: YLC-18 Radar
IMAGE: YLC-18 Radar

TPS-7710-4701215-1400 Mhz3D Surveillance
TPS-43G4502.9-3.1 Ghz3D Surveillance
YLC-18A500EF band3D Guidance & Surveillance
YLC-6150S band2D Surveillance
IBIS-150 (with LY-80)150S band3D Surveillance
Skyguard20FCR 35 mm AA
Giraffe 40404-6 Ghz3D Surveillance with RBS-70
Table: Some of radars in service

Air Borne Assets

NOTE: This section is intentionally kept small as details about PAF assets will be in a separate chapter. 

PAF operates 5 Saab E-2000 based Erieye  Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C)  and 4 Y-8 based KJ-200 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) . Former are with Northern Air Command’s 3rd Squadron “Angels” in Minhas while latter are with Souther Air Command’s 4th Squadron “Karakoram Eagles” in Masroor.



In addition, PAF operates F-16, JF-17, F-7 and J-10 fighter aircraft for air defence roles.

Air Defence Orbat

This is a partial orbat of known Pakistani Air Defence units. 

PA Air Defence CenterMalir Cantt, Karachi
PAF Air Defence Command,Chaklala, Rawalpindi
School Of Army Air DefenceMalir Cantt, Karachi
3rd Air Defence DivisionSargodha
4th Air Defence DivisionMalir Cantt
3rd Air Defence BrigadeSargodha3rd AD Division
4th Air Defence BrigadeLahore3rd AD Division
109th Air Defence BrigadeMultan4th AD Division
105th (I) Air Defence Brigade
1 LOMAD RegimentMalir^4th AD DivHQ-16
2 LOMAD Regiment^Bhawalpur^HQ-16
3 LOMAD RegimentLahore^HQ-16
4 HIMAD Regiment4th AD DivHQ-9
6 Lt ADMalsi Garrison
13 Lt AD.Peshawar Cantt
20 Medium ADRBS-70 SAM on APC, Giraffe
36 Lt AD
41 Med AD
43 Lt AD
44 SP AD
51 Medium AD^Peshawar
52 Medium AD
58 Medium AD
67 Lt SP ADMultan Cantt
75 Lt AD^Peshawar^
88 Lt AD
89th SAM RegimentFM90
90 Lt AD
94 Lt ADMailsi Garrison, PunjabSAM
95 Lt ADWarsk Garrison, Peshawar
96 LOMADAD Command^HQ-16
97 RCG AD (I)^I Corps Sky guard radar, Oerlikons
98 Lt AD
100 Lt AD Gun SAMLahore Cantt
100 Lt AD Gun
102 Lt ADMangla/Gharial Camp, MurreeSAM
103 Lt AD
104 Lt AD Gun
106 AD Brigade6th Armd Div
109 Lt^ RegimentMalir cantt, Karachi4th AD Div
123 SCR ADOjhri Camp, Rawalpindi
124 SCR ADMultan
125 SCR AD
126 Lt AD (G/M) RegimentMalir
127 Medium ADMalir cantt, Karachi4th AD Div37 mm gun, radar mast on truck
133 RCG ADNowshera Cantt
134 RCG AD
135 Missile AD
136 RCG AD
140 Lt AD
141 Lt AD or SAM
142 Missile ADGiraffe, RBS 70
143 Missile ADGiraffe, RBS 70^
144 SP Light AD6th Armd DivRBS-70 SAM on APC, Giraffe
145 Lt AD
146 Lt SP AD
147 Lt SP? AD
148 SP Lt AD
151 SP/Lt ADBahawalpur
152 Lt AD
153 Lt SP ADBahawalpur.RBS-70 SAM on APC, Giraffe
154 SP ADBahawalpur.6th Armd Div
155 Light SP ADMalir Cantt Karachi
157 Lt AD
156 Lt AD
158 Lt AD
159 Lt ADJhelum CanttSAM
160 RCG? ADMultan Cant
161 Lt RCG? ADI Corps
162 SCRMalir
187 Missile Regiment ArtilleryShahpr-II
21st AD Battalion (Marine)Manora/OrmaraMistral SAM
TABLE: Pakistani Air Defence Units


Previous PostIndex PostNext Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *