The PAF's aircraft were largely of American origin, whereas the IAF flew an assortment of Soviet and European aeroplanes. It has been widely reported that the PAF's American aircraft were superior to those of the InAF, but according to some experts this is untrue because the InAF'sMiG-21, Hawker Hunter and Folland Gnat fighters actually had higher performance than their PAF counter-part, the F-86 Sabre. Although the InAF's de Havilland Vampire fighter-bombers were outdated in comparison to the F-86 Sabre, the Hawker Hunter fighters were superior in both power and speed to the F-86 according to Air Cdre (retired) Sajjad Haider, who lead the PAF's No.19 Squadron in combat during the war.
According to the Indians, the F-86 was vulnerable to the diminutive Folland Gnat, nicknamed "Sabre Slayer." The PAF's F-104 Starfighterof the PAF was the fastest fighter operating in the subcontinent at that time and was often referred to as "the pride of the PAF". However, according to Air Cdre (retired) Sajjad Haider who flew with the PAF's No.19 Squadron, the F-104 did not deserve this reputation. Being "a high level interceptor designed to neutralise Soviet strategic bombers in altitudes above 40,000 feet," rather than engage in dogfights with agile fighters at low altitudes, it was "unsuited to the tactical environment of the region." It can be argued that, although the IAF is believed to have feared the Starfighter, in combat it was not as effective as the IAF's far more agile, albeit much slower, Folland Gnat fighter.
The two countries have made contradictory claims of combat losses during the war and few neutral sources have verified the claims of either country. The PAF claimed it shot down 104 IAF planes and lost 19 of its own, while the IAF claimed it shot down 73 PAF planes and lost 35.According to one independent source, the PAF flew 86 F-86 Sabres, 10 F-104 Starfighters and 20 B-57 Canberras in a parade soon after the war was over. Thus disproving the IAF's claim of downing 73 PAF fighters, which at the time constituted nearly the entire Pakistani front-line fighter force.
Indian sources have pointed out that, despite PAF claims of losing only a squadron of combat craft, Pakistan sought to acquire additional aircraft from Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Turkey and China within 10 days of the beginning war. But this could be explained by the 5:1 disparity in numbers faced by the PAF.