Air Commodore W. J. M. Turowicz

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Air Commodore Władysław Józef Marian Turowicz (23 April 1908 – 8 November 1980) was a prominent and noted Polish-Pakistani military scientist and an aeronautical engineer.

He is considered as one of the chief architects of the Pakistan Air Force and Pakistan’s space program. Turowicz, an eminent rocket scientist and an aeronautical engineer, was the leading and central figure in Pakistan’s drive to develop high-tech rocket and missile technology of its own.

Turowicz was the administrator of Pakistan’s Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) from 1967 to 1970, and towards the end of his career, he was appointed to the post of Air Marshal of the Pakistan Air Force.

He was one of thirty high ranking Polish pilots who served in Pakistan Air Force during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, and is considered one of the pioneers of Pakistan’s space program, playing a central role in Pakistan’s aviation and aerospace industry. After completion of his initial contract, Turowicz opted to stay on in Pakistan and continued to serve in PAF and later, SUPARCO.

In 1952, Turowicz, was promoted in the rank of Wing Commander. In 1959, Turowicz was promoted in the rank of Group Captain. In 1960, he became an Air Commodore and an Assistant Chief of Air Staff, in charge of PAF’s Maintenance Branch.

In 1966, the Government of Pakistan transferred him to SUPARCO, Pakistan’s national space agency, where he worked there as a chief scientist and an aeronautical engineer. As head of SUPARCO, he revitalised and initiated the space program as quickly as possible He, along with noted Pakistani theoretical physicist, Dr. Abdus Salam, who later won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1979, met with President Khan where he successfully convinced him of the importance of a space program for a developing country like Pakistan after Russia’s launch of Sputnik.

Air. Cdre. Turowicz died in a car accident on 8 January 1980 along with his driver. The Government of Pakistan issued a condolence letter to his family, stating that Turowicz was not only an outstanding Air Force officer, but also a scientist, and had served in the country’s space program. In 2005, PAF Museum, Karachi, placed a memorial plaque in the honour of Air. Cdre. Władysław Turowicz where both Polish and Pakistani civilian and military personnel attended.\ Turowicz made significant contributions to Pakistan’s missile/rocket program as a chief aeronautical engineer. In Pakistan, he remains highly respected as a scientist and noted aeronautical engineer.

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