Wrecked at Masroor

Text by Usman Shabbir, Pictures by Ali Mazhar

 In June 2005, Google launched a new service. Called “Google Earth”, this service allowed internet users to have a close-up aerial view of various cities and terrain. In the start, only limited amount of cities world-wide could be seen in high-resolution, including Karachi. This new service created quite a stir in various online Defence Forums and PAF enthusiasts wasted no time in zooming in on Masroor Air Base. One could see parked Mirages, F-7s and large amount of HAS (Hardened Aircraft Shelter), but most interesting was the discovery of what seemed like parts and wrecks of T-33, B-57 and Sabres, scattered in the old and now unused part of the Air Base. This discovery created good amount of excitement in PAF Enthusiasts & Warbirds community on PakDef Forums and it was decided that, if given a chance, one should get a closer look at these wrecks and photograph and document them.

PakDef member Ali Mazhar recently got an opportunity to photograph these old warriors, who thanks to Mother Nature, truly are fading away. Over the years PAF has preserved and placed more than 140 warbirds in various towns and cities of Pakistan. We hope that by publishing these pictures, private Warbird enthusiasts and collectors will come forward, either to restore these airframes to original shape or utilize parts from these for other warbird restoration related projects.

T-33 Trainer Aircraft

During the period 1955-56 PAF received 15 T-33As and 6 RT-33As under the US military assistance programme, and equipped No. 2 Fighter Conversion Unit and a tactical reconnaissance flight, the later becoming No 20 Squadron in 1959. The No. 20 Photo Reconnaissance Squadron was number-plated in 1972 and all its RT-33s and other photographic equipment was then transferred back to No. 2 Squadron to form a recce flight. During the wars of 1965 and 1971 with India, PAF also pressed T-33s and RT-33s in to service in the ground attack and photo recce roles against forward Indian targets.

The T-33 was retired from PAF service in 1993. After retirement, six T-33s were preserved at various places by PAF and, it seems, remaining eight T-33s were dumped at Masroor Air Base. One T-33 was lost in 1971 when its pilot Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas laid down his life in an attempt to stop his East Pakistani instructor from hijacking the aircraft to India.
Out of 6 RT-33As, three are known to be preserved at various places in Pakistan. The fate of remaining three RT-33 variants is not known.

Eight T-33 wrecks in total can be counted at Masroor Air Base. Despite weathering thirteen plus years in the open, tail numbers and squadron insignias are still visible on some wrecks. 

[Pictures Copyright: Ali Mazhar]

 B-57 Bombers

B-57 Bomber was inducted in PAF service in November 1959.  Twenty-four B-57Bs and two B-57Cs were supplied to PAF and these formed No. 7 and No. 8  Bomber Squadrons which were part of No. 31 Bomber Wing, based at Masroor (back then known as Mauripur). The US also supplied two RB-57Fs and two RB-57Bs and these were inducted in No. 24 Elint Squadron.

The PAF B-57 force also took active part in 1965 and 1971 Wars. The B-57 was retired from PAF service in 1988 and four of them are known to be preserved at various places in Pakistan. Wrecks of six B-57s can be counted at Masroor. 

 

 
Six B-57 wrecks in total can be counted at Masroor Air Base. One of these (with white nose) seems to be a B-57C model.

[Pictures Copyright: Ali Mazhar]

 

 Mirage Fighters 

Other than wrecks of retired aircraft types, some Mirage wrecks can also be seen at Masroor. There are 3 Mirage wrecks in total at Masroor and also a wooden mock-up in maroon color.  

Sabres and Farmers

Two Sabres and a single F-6 wreck can also be seen at Masroor. The F-86E Sabres support insignias of No. 18 Squadron on tails.