Air Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt takes over Command of Pakistan Air Force
Islamabad – Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt took over the command of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) from Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman, at a ceremony held at the Air Headquarters on Monday.
Outgoing air chief Rao Qamar Suleman handed over the ‘Command Sword’ to Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt.
Suleman pinned badges on the shoulders of Rafique, formally promoting him to the rank of the air chief. Both the outgoing and incoming air chiefs were presented separate guards of honour to formally mark the change of command.
The outgoing air chief, while delivering his farewell address, said he was handing over the command of one of the world’s best air forces to a worthy PAF officer.
He said there was no limit to professional excellence and expressed a need to march in tandem with the aviation technology to avoid lagging behind in professionalism.
Suleman said when he took over the command of PAF, he pledged to follow merit and had stressed upon integrity and honesty, professional excellence and teamwork.
“I am glad that these parameters were followed in true letter and spirit. As a result, we have been able to achieve our goal of maintaining the operational preparedness with safety, which also is the primary role and task of the PAF,” he added.
He said as Pakistan Air Force commander, modernisation and transformation of PAF into a 21st century force was his key priority.
He said the PAF could proudly claim to have inducted and operationalised all the latest weapon systems, adding, “Our fighter fleet has been upgraded with the fourth generation fighter aircraft and force multipliers.” The outgoing air chief said that PAF had established two squadrons of its very own indigenously produced JF-17 Thunder aircraft whose production started in the last three years.
This aircraft also saw unprecedented success in various exercises and international air shows the world over. He said other major inductions include Saab-2000 AEWC, ZDK-03 AWACS, IL-76 air-to-air refuellers and Spada-2000 Lomad systems.
Alongside induction of sophisticated equipment, its operationalisation and availability for operations was attained in a very professional manner within these three years.