PAF Air War College Institute

History

PAF Air War College Institute (AWCI) is the highest seat of learning in the Pakistan Air Force, which has played an important role in providing an exceptional forum for intellectual development and educational enrichment to its members. During its formative years, Pakistan Air Force envisaged the need for an institution to prepare its incumbent leadership for the assumption of higher command and staff appointments.

Inauguration - 1959

This premier institution was founded in 1959 as a Staff College at PAF Station, Drigh Road, Karachi (now known as PAF Base Faisal). The President, General (later Field Marshal) Muhammad Ayub Khan inaugurated PAF Staff College on 5th January 1959.

The PAF Staff College started with No 1 Staff Course comprising of 15 PAF officers on 6th January 1959. Two officers from Pak Army and one from Pak Navy also joined for the No 2 Staff Course.

On 11th October 1960, Junior Command & Staff School (JC&SS) was also established under PAF Staff College by merging School of Advanced Administration established at PAF Base Mauripur. JC&SS conducted a two and a half month elementary staff course for limited number of mid-career officers. JC&SS was later relocated to PAF Camp Badaber in July 1983 at Peshawar.

The college was accorded affiliation by University of Karachi on 15th July 1976 for award of BSc War Studies to the course graduates. The Staff College conducted 28 Staff Courses till its upgrade to Air War College and trained 376 PAF, 45 Army and 28 Naval officers.

President General Muhammad Ayub Khan at the Opening Ceremony with Air Marshal Atcherley, Commander-in-Chief of Royal Pakistan Air Force in 1959
A humble beginning in 1958 (an old Hospital Building)
Upgrade to Air War College - 1986

Due to the restructuring of the entire education scheme for the PAF officers and as a result of a progressive revision of the syllabi and college curriculum, the complexion of the course acquired a much higher intellectual base over the years. A need was, therefore, felt for deeper studies for focused application of airpower. After major structural changes in the course contents, the status of Staff College was formally raised to that of a War College in September 1986. No 1 Air War Course (AWC) commenced from July 1987. The strength of the students was enhanced to include officers from friendly countries in 1989 and entire organization was shifted to a newly constructed, customise building in 1991.

Air War College building through 70s & 80s

Similarly, the JC&SS at Badaber was redesignated as the Basic Staff School and modified to run a Basic Staff Course (BSC) for all officers at Flying Officer / Flight Lieutenant seniority (Primary Level). This was followed by Junior Command and Staff Course (JC&SC) at the seniority of senior Flight Lieutenant and junior Squadron Leader (Intermediate Level), culminating into Senior Command and Staff Course (SC&SC) at Senior Squadron Leader and Wing Commander seniority.

SC&SC was based on a one year correspondence element and a ten week resident element at Air War College in 1993. With its establishment, the Air War College was reconfigured into two wings, i.e. Staff Wing for SC&SC (Senior Level) and War Wing for AWC (Advance Level). Successful graduates of SC&SC were awarded with ‘psa’ symbol and ‘MSc War Studies’ degree, while those of AWC were awarded with ‘fawc’ symbol and ‘MSc Strategic Studies’ degree. Affiliation of the College for the award of degrees was transferred from Karachi University to Air University in 2005 and later to National Defence University in 2007.

President Ghulam Ishaq Khan inaugurating the new Air War College building with ACM Farooq Feroze Khan CAS – 08 Dec 91
Elevation to Air War College Institute - 2021

In 2021, pursuant to Air Staff vision, the professional military education program of PAF officers was further refined to meet requirements of a progressive learning scheme at par with technological changes and upcoming battlespace challenges. The Staff courses BSC, JC&SC and SC&SC were merged and revamped into Air Command and Staff Course (AC&SC) at Badaber and the War College status was upgraded to Degree Awarding Institute (DAI) with enhanced intake. Currently, all successful members of War Course are awarded MS Degree in ‘National Security and Strategic Studies’ after meeting the criterion set by HEC.

So far, a total of 36 Courses have completed the Air War Course with 03 Courses concluded under DAI. A total of 1434 officers have graduated from three services alongside 349 officers from 23 friendly countries i.e. Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordon, Kenya, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Syria, Turkey, UAE, Yemen and Zimbabwe. Similarly, a total of 85 Courses were concluded as SC&SC and 1 st AC&SC is currently in progress.

President Dr Arif Alvi unveils the plaque to inaugurate the Air War College Institute in Karachi – Mar 2021

Future Plans

The ever changing dynamics of warfare especially due to disruptive technologies warrant a perpetual review of curriculum at any military institution. AWCI has a mission to stay abreast with the evolution and improvement in warfare through relevant and up to date academic discourse along with cultivating air-mindedness, with an emphasis on the effective application of air power. The tool of intellect, reasoning and holistic situational awareness is considered essential for future leaders graduating from AWCI.