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Bangladeshi Fighter Ace Saiful Azam!!

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Old 4th June 2003, 10:47
Amar-Sonar-Bangla Amar-Sonar-Bangla is offline
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Arrow Aces High - Bangali Hero of the air

Bangladeshi Fighter Ace of India_Pak and Arab-Israeli Wars



Group Captain. Saiful Azam, from Bangladesh, holds awards for gallantry in aerial combat from Pakistan, Jordan, and Iraq!

Bangladeshi’s should be proud of his outstanding and courageous exploits.



Saiful Azam


Azam was born in 1941 in Pabna, (the then) India, and, as a young boy, lived in Calcutta. In 1947, his family moved east to the area that became part of predominately Muslim East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). In 1955, he went to West Pakistan and attended high school until 1958, when he entered the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Cadet College. Graduating in 1960, he was commissioned as a pilot officer in the PAF.


He trained in the Cessna T-37 and then travelled to Luke AFB, Arizona, for an advanced fighter course in the North American F-86 Sabre. He returned to East Pakistan and flew the Sabre jet until 1963.


Aerial Combat Exploits


1965 War


During the September 1965 war with India, Azam was flying Sabres in No. 17 Squadron from PAF Base Sargodha. After successfully executing a ground attack strike, his formation was ‘bounced’ by Indian Air Force fighter’s. In the ensuring fight, Azam shot down one of the two attackers, a Folland Gnat, and earned his first victory. His victim, Flight Officer. V. Mayadev, thankfully ejected safely to become a POW.


For this exploit Saiful Azam was awarded the Sitara-I-Jurat, united Pakistan’s Distinguished Flying Cross.



1967 Arab-Israeli War


In late 1966, he became an advisor to the Royal Jordanian Air Force and flew as a ‘volunteer’ in a Hawker Hunter with No. 1 Royal Jordanian Squadron (RJAF). During the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, he again distinguished himself in the air.


. On 5 June 1967, his flight of four Hawker Hunter fighter’s engaged Israeli Dassault Super Mysteres jet’s attacking RJAF Mafraq, the major Jordanian air base. Azam shot one down and sent another smoking towards Israel.



Two days later, on 7 June 1967, the Israelis struck H-3, an air base in western Iraq. Azam, this time flying an Iraqi Hunter, scored two further victories. During the Israeli attack, he first downed a Dassault Mirage III and, moments later, downed a Sud-0uest Vautour bomber.


His formation had first intercepted an Israeli formation of Four Vautours and Two Mirage IIIs. One of the Mirage IIIs was flown by Israeli Capt. Gideon Dror. Dror shot down Azam's Wingman, but himself fell to Azam's Guns. Dror ejected safely to be taken as a POW. Moments later, Azam intercepted the formation of four Vautour Bombers and bought down one of them flown by Israeli Capt. Golan, who ejected.

Source: ACIG Air Combat Publications and Airforce archives.



Saiful Azam’s Exploits in Perspective


Considering the widely acknowledged skill and success of Israeli pilots, Azam’s three confirmed victories merit great praise. His tally has a range of kills including the enviable credit of a Mach 2 Mirage III Fighter. Truely a gifted and superior pilot. Arguably the most successful fighter pilot from the Subcontinent.

In fact, considering the abysmal display of the ineffectually trained and led Arab pilot’s in the Arab-Israeli conflict’s, it is possible that Bangali Azam was the highest scoring Muslim pilot flying on the Arab side in the 1967 Six Day War!!



Link to picture of Azam: http://www.au.af.mil/au/goe/eaglebios/00bios/azam00.htm


Military Decorations



For his outstanding actions, he received Jordan’s Husame Isteqlal and Iraq’s Medal of Bravery, the Noth-es-Shuja. He returned to East Pakistan in 1969 and became a flight commander in a squadron flying the Shenyang F-6. Next, Azam became a flight commander at the PAF Fighter Leader’s School.



Post Independence


Being a Bangali, Saiful Azam did not fly in 1971. When East Pakistan gained independence as Bangladesh, he became Director of Flight Safety, and, later, Director of Operations for the newly formed Bangladesh Biman Bahini (Air Force). In 1977, he became Wing Commander and Base Commander of the BAF base at Dhaka.


After retiring as a group captain, in the 1980s, Azam twice served as Chairman, Civil Aviation Authority. He was also Managing Director of the Film Development Corporation. A member of Bangladesh’s Parliament from 1991 to 1996, he is now Managing Director, Natasha Trading Agency, Limited, trading in aircraft and other equipment. He also directs a travel agency and with his wife, Nishat, has three children.



Note: In fact successful fighter pilot’s of the old Pakistani Air Force tended to be of Bangali origin eg. Wing Commander. MM. Alam and Sarfaraz Rafiqui, from Kushtia and Rajshahi respectively.



Wow, what do you guys think?

I don’t think he is known widely in Bangladesh. Although he was certainly one of the most gifted in his field.




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Old 4th June 2003, 11:03
samya samya is offline
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Re: Aces High - Bangali Hero of the air

woh ASB very interesting.........
good to hear about the guy....and great news for us on our roots side of things........
pat on the bac for fighter Saiful Azam.....
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Old 4th June 2003, 19:55
rini_h rini_h is offline
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Re: Re: Aces High - Bangali Hero of the air


That was interesting. he flew his planes all over the world . my daddy says biman bangladesh piolt are good. so the military pilot must be in the best.


samya hi, you b bengali giril?? Thought u were pakistani you speak there language too good. So were are you from ?
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Old 5th June 2003, 08:08
Amar-Sonar-Bangla Amar-Sonar-Bangla is offline
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Rini, you're initial assessment was correct. Samya is in fact part Pakistani and part Noakali if I'm not mistaken.


Yeah, Bangali's do tend to make good combat piolt's. I mean 3 Israeli kills is a great achievement. Especially as the Arab air forces were decimated early in the conflict by a brilliantly planned and executed premptive strike by the Israeli air force.



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Old 5th June 2003, 18:56
rini_h rini_h is offline
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hey I confused . Are you really a pakistani or bengali samya? let me know.


what was a bengali guy doing in arab country anyway lo


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Old 6th June 2003, 09:42
samya samya is offline
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Salaam Rini......
ha ha Noakhali.......
Don't listen 2 ASB .....his jus got an youngself wiv a child head.......tryin to do raybari..carry on ASB....
nah sis I'm Bangali Muslim.........
but know me as a mumin first.......
har basha samaj sakta hoon, lekin dil ki basha mein toot jaraha hoon.......
so where r u from....how old r u.....
keep smiling sis.........
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Old 8th July 2003, 22:16
Bengali_Top_Gun_Combatpur Bengali_Top_Gun_Combatpur is offline
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FYI------reclaiming our own

NOTE1
History of aviation in Bangladesh
Capt. A Muzaffar
The pioneer aviator from Bangladesh was Indra Lal Roy from a zeminder family of Barisal during British Raj in India. He is known to be the first Indian to become a pilot. Having obtained the Baliol Scholarship, while studying in the Oxford University in England he joined the Royal Flying Corps in the flying branch. He obtained King's Commission in October 1917. Indra Lal Roy was posted in France with the 56 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps during World War- I between Germany and France. England joined in favour of France. While out on a combat sortie in the month of December 1917 Indra Lal was shot down by the Germans in "No Man's Land" between German and British lines in France. He was picked up by British troops and sent to British Military Hospital in France in unconscious condition. There he was taken as dead and sent to the mortuary. Miraculously he recovered consciousness while lying with the dead soldiers. After several months, on declaring fit for flying, he was posted again to No. 40 Squadron for combat operations in France. From 6th to 18th July 1918, in those 13 days he shot down no less than 9 German fighter aircraft before he was shot down and was killed. For his achievement he was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (D.F.C ). He was the first Bangladeshi Indian to receive this highest flying medal.

Long after the First World War, resolution was taken in a committee, proposed by Motilal Nehru and M.A. Jinnah for formation of an Indian Air Force. In the Legislative Assembly of India an Act was passed to form an Indian Air Force in 1932. During the Second World War Bangladeshi pilot Wing Commander Majumdar did command the No. 1 Squadron of Indian Air Force in the Burma front in 1942. He received the D.F.C. for his gallantry in the Aerial Combat in Burma. In the first Indian Air Force six officers were selected in April 1933, one of them was Subroto Mukherjee from Pabna, Bangladesh later on he became the Commander-in-Chief of I.A.F as Air Marshal.
After the end of Second World War 21 air companies were formed with the war surplus transport aircraft C-47 or DC 3 (Dakota of Douglas Company, USA). Out of them 13 companies were issued with operating licence. One of them was Orient Airways formed by M.M. Ispahani. On partition of India Orient Airways was transferred to Karachi-Pakistan. Later on the company was taken over by the Government of Pakistan and named Pakistan International Airlines.
The East Pakistan Flying Club was formed in October, 1948, by some enthusiastic Bangladeshi officers of the then East Pakistan Govt., namely M.A, Jabbar Dy. Chief Engineer C & B, M.H. Khan, DIG, police. and Kafiluddin Ahmed, Superintendent Engineer, PWD. After registration as private limited company M.A. Jabbaar went to the Patna Flying Club and requested Mia Rashid Ahmed who was Chief Instructor of Patna Flying Club, to come to Dhaka and form the Flying Club in Dhaka. Rashid Ahmed had his flying instructor's and aircraft engineer's licence from A.S.T. Hamble in U.K. He became O.B.E (Officer of the Order of the British Empire ) for training maximum number of Air Force pilots during Second World War. He was a British citizen, also had his Pakistani citizenship. Almost all the P.I.A. and P.A.F. pilots from the then East Pakistan had their basic flying training from the East Pakistan Flying Club.
Biman Bangladesh Airlines was formed on 4th January, 1972 just 20 days after independence. Biman inherited about 2500 experienced airline personnel in the different branches from PIA. There were about 30 pilots out of whom 10 were Boeing 707 commanders with International route cleared. There were a good number of Aircraft Engineers, ground handling officers and staff, marketing officers and assistants as well as experienced cabin crew with the position of chief pursers operating in the international routes of PIA. But at that time Biman had no aircraft, no ancillary facilities nor any engineering installations. Biman received one old DC-3 from Indian Air Force, which crashed not long after during a training flight. In March, 1972 two F-27-200 ( 40-seat Turbo Prop ) aircraft were received from Indian Airlines under credit from Indian Govt. In Oct/Nov, 1972 two F27-600 were received under grant from the Govt. of Netherlands. In April/May 1973, two F27-200 were received as gift from the Govt. of Australia. In November,1973 Biman cash-purchased two F27-600 from Fokker Company Holland. In December, 1973 the first Boeing 707-320C was cash-purchased from Temple Wood Aviation, U.K, an aircraft broker company.
Now Biman has six DC10-30 aircraft ( two on lease), four Airbus A310-300 ( two on lease ), three F-28 twin jet and 2 BAe ATP ( not in operation ). Biman is now flying to 26 international destinations across three continents. n
The information about Indian Air Force are from the Book "Civil Aviation in India" by Capt. Mustfa Anwar, eldest son of Poet Golam Mutafa. Capt Anwar was a very senior Idian Airlines Captain. He was senior Viscount Captain in the the Idian Airline. Earlier he was Chief Instructor Pilot of Barakpur Flying Club near Calcutta during Second World War.
Source: The Independent
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