Philippine Air Force
|Philippine Air Force
Hukbóng Himpapawid ng Pilipinas
Insignia of the Philippine Air Force
|Active||July 1, 1947 – Present|
|Size||17,000 active personnel|
|Part of||Armed Forces of the Philippines|
|Headquarters||Villamor Air Base|
|Motto||The "First Force"|
|March||Philippine Air Force Hymn|
|Engagements||World War II
|Commanding General||Lauro Catalino Dela Cruz|
|Low Visibility Roundel|
The Philippine Air Force (PAF) (Tagalog: Hukbóng Himpapawid ng Pilipinas) is the aerial warfare service branch of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and one of the three uniformed services of the Philippines. Initially a part of the Philippine Army (PA), the PAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on July 1, 1947 under Executive Order No. 94. The PAF has the size of 17,000 active personnel which operates its bases and all the aircraft in its inventory.
The forerunners of the Philippine Air Force were the Philippine Militia, otherwise known as Philippine National Guard (PNG). Senate President Manuel L. Quezon enacted a bill on March 17, 1917 for the creation of the Philippine Militia, the bill was known as Militia Act 2715. It was enacted in anticipation that there would be an outbreak of hostilities between United States and Germany.
By the end of the First World War, the US Army and Navy began selling aircraft and equipment to the Philippine Militia Commission. The Commission then hired the services of the Curtiss School of Aviation to provide flight training to 33 students at a local base in Parañaque.
The early aviation unit was however, still lacking knowledge and equipment to be considered as an air force and was then limited only to air transport duties. On January 2, 1935,Philippine Military Aviation was activated when the 10th Congress passed Commonwealth Act 1494 that provided for the organization of the Philippine Constabulary Air Corps (PCAC). PCAC was renamed as the Philippine Army Air Corps (PAAC) on 1936. It started with only three planes on its inventory. On 1941, PAAC has a total of 54 aircraft ranging from pursuit (fighters) light bombers, reconnaissance aircraft, light transport and trainers. They later engaged the Japanese on their invasion of the Philippines in 1941-42, and was reformed in 1945 after the country's liberation.
The PAF became a separate military service on July 1, 1947, when President Manuel Roxas issued Executive Order No. 94. This order created the Philippine Naval Patrol and the Air Force as equal branches of the Philippine Army and the Philippine Constabulary under the now Armed Forces of the Philippines becoming Southeast Asia's third air force as a result.
The main aircraft type in the earlier era of the PAF was the P-51 Mustang, flown from 1947 to 1959. Ground attack missions were flown against various insurgent groups, with aircraft hit by ground fire but none shot down. In the 1950s the Mustang was used by the Blue Diamonds aerobatic display team. These would be replaced by the jet-powered North American F-86 Sabres in the late 1950s, assisted by Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star and Beechcraft T-34 Mentor trainers.
The PAF saw its first international action in the Congo under the UN peacekeeping mission in 1960.
The following are the list of Commanding Generals of the PAF:
- Lt. Gen. Pelagio A. Cruz (9 June 1947 - 27 October 1947 (acting); 3 November 1953 - 31 July 1956)
- Brig. Gen. Eustacio D. Orobia
- Brig. Gen. Benito Nicano R. Ebuen
- Maj. Gen. Pedro Q. Molina
- Brig. Gen. Jonas A. Victoria
- Brig. Gen. Agusto L. Jurado
- Maj. Gen. Victor Dizon
- Brig. Gen. Jose B. Ramos
- Brig. Gen. Emmanuel S. Casabar
- Brig. Gen. Juan B. Guevarra
- Brig. Gen. Jesus Z. Singson
- Brig. Gen. Jose L. Rancudo
- Maj. Gen. Samuel O. Sarmiento
- Brig. Gen. Petronio M. Lapena
- Maj. Gen. Vicente M. Piccio, Jr.
- Maj. Gen. Ramon J. Farolan, Jr.
- Lt. Gen. Antonio E. Sotelo
- Maj. Gen. Jose De Leon, Jr.
- Maj.Gen. Geraldo C. Protacio
- Lt. Gen. Loven C. Abadia
- Maj. Gen. Leopoldo Acot
- Lt. Gen. Nicasio Rodriguez, Jr.
- Lt. Gen. William K. Hotchkiss III
- Lt. Gen. Willie Cacdac Florendo
- Lt. Gen. Benjamin P. Defensor, Jr.
- Lt. Gen. Nestor R. Santillan
- Lt. Gen. Jose L. Reyes
- Lt. Gen. Horacio Tolentino
- Lt. Gen. Pedrito Sinco Cadungog
- Lt. Gen. Oscar H. Rabena
- Lt. Gen. Lauro Catalino dela Cruz
Over 15 years after the 1995 passage of the Armed Forces Philippines (AFP) Moderation Program (Republic Act 7898), the Philippine Air Force remains in dire need of modernization. The current incarnation of the AFP modernization program is the Capability Upgrade Program (CUP) which defers PAF-related modernization efforts to the second and third phases of a three-phase program. Much to the consternation of PAF observers and personnel, the first phase, dubbed "Back to Basics" focuses on improving the AFP's ability to conduct Internal Security Operations (ISO). What little funding the PAF receives in this phase revolve around the PAF's role in supporting ground operations.
More advanced aircraft are expected in Phases 2 and 3 of the CUP, which is when genuine modernization is expected to start. PAF-related components of these phases are grouped into what it calls "Horizon programs", with Horizon 2 expected to begin in the 2010 to 2012 time frame.
There were several occasions that the PAF tried to modernize its fighter aircraft force, which was left to decline for several decades.
In 1991 the newly democratic Russian government offered the PAF several of its aircraft including the Mikoyan MiG-29 and Sukhoi Su-27 during a demonstration held at Villamor Air Base. In 1992 the PAF received offers for both the IAI Kfir and the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
After the enactment of the 1995 AFP Modernization Act, the PAF made renewed calls to purchase several fighter aircraft, with the initial plan of having 36 multirole fighters in a span of 15 years. Offers included the American Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Falcon and McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F-18C/D Hornet, French Dassault Mirage 2000-5, and the Russian Mikoyan MiG-29. Also offered as alternatives were the embargoed Pakistani F-16A/Bs and ex-French Air Force Mirage F1, and ex-South African Air Force Denel Cheetahs which were rejected as the government was then inclined on obtaining new-build platforms. However, these modernization programs were put on hold after the Philippines' economy was impacted by the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.
Renewed interest would later come on used platforms. In June 2010, the Department of National Defense (DND) was also looking at Canada for used CF-18s or France for its used Mirage F1s, although no decision or purchase came up.
On December 2011, the DND and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) was tasked to formally request at least a squadron of 12 ex-USAF F-16C/D fighter jets, most probably Block 25 or 30 which would be refurbished to either Block 50 or 52 standards. This would be discussed during the US-Philippines "2+2" Meeting on 30 April 2012. The Philippine government will be paying for reconditioning, maintenance and pilot training which will run for two years.
However by 2012 the maintenance costs for the used fighters were found to be too high so attention turned to new jet trainers that could be converted into jet fighters. The requirements were listed as "supersonic ability, multifunction displays and On Board Oxygen Generation System." A DND spokesman has said that aircraft from France, the United Kingdom, Italy, and South Korea were being considered.
Surface Attack Aircraft/Lead-in Fighter Trainer
In May 2010, Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Oscar Rabena announced that the PAF was ordered to submit generic types of advanced jet trainers that will replace the S-211. According to Gen. Rabena, they are choosing models from Europe and Asia, and following evaluation, the Department of National Defense will open bidding for the purchase of such aircraft.
On March 2012, the AMX fighter was one of the items inspected by a DND delegation Italy possible procurement of used AMX aircraft, although no official information has been released if purchases will be made on the said aircraft.
A requirement for at least six (6) new Lead-in Fighter Trainers (LIFT) that will also fill in the Surface Attack Aircraft (SAA) role was announced by the PAF and DND on 2011. But this was revised to twelve (12) units during announcements by the DND and PAF in 2012. The offers made to the PAF and DND were the following:
- TA-50 Golden Eagle - Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) (South Korea);
- M-346 Master - Alenia Aermacchi (Italy);
- Yak-130 Mitten - Yakovlev Design Bureau (Russia);
- L-159B ALCA - Aero Vodochody (Czech Republic);
- BAE Hawk - BAE Systems (United Kingdom);
- AMX - AMX International (Italy & Brazil)
On June 19, 2012, it was reported that the Department of National Defense (DND) selected the supersonic TA-50 Golden Eagle from South Korea to augment the need of the Philippine Air Force for advanced trainers which can also be converted as fighter jets. The Philippines intends to acquire 12 units at PhP 1.25 billion (USD 29.4 million) each.
And in July 2012, state media reported that the selection had been narrowed down to the TA-50, M-346, Yak-130 or the BAE Hawk.
On 30 January 2013, it has been confirmed by Philippine government that the FA-50 Golden Eagle lead in fighter trainer has been selected for acquisition for 18.9 billion pesos ($309 million). 12 units are to be purchased.
Close Air Support Aircraft
The Philippine Air Force is looking to replace entire OV-10 Bronco fleet which are currently used for close air support and aerial reconnaissance platforms. Being considered are the Hawker Beechcraft AT-6B Texan II, Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano, KAI KA-1 Woongbi, and, reportedly, the Air Tractor Air Tractor AT-802U. A decision from the PAF & DND is expected to be released by July 2012.
Hawker Beechcraft demonstrated their AT-6B Texan II, together with their other aircraft line, in April 2012 with a display at Clark Air Base.
The Department of National Defense, on behalf of the PAF, is currently pursuing the following acquisition projects: eight (8) Combat Utility Helicopters (CUH), 7 attack helicopters (AH) and 10 additional UH-1H helicopters.
PZL W-3 Sokol
On December 2009, the DND issued a notice of award worth PhP 2.8 billion to PZL Swidnik S.A. of Poland, as the winner of the Combat Utility Helicopter (CUH) program for eight (8) PZL W-3 Sokol helicopters. The first batch of four helicopters was delivered in February 2012, and a second batch of two units were delivered on November 2012. The final two units were delivered on 15 February 2013.
Armed Scout Helicopter (Attack Helicopter)
An older acquisition project, the Night Capable Attack Helicopter (NCAH), was abandoned due to procedural irregularities. The Office of the Ombudsman is currently investigating this project.
Engines of 20 MD-520 attack helicopters are currently being overhauled. The PAF elected to pursue this project via FMS.
On 20 June 2012, it was reported that the Eurocopter AS550 Fennec armed helicopters from France was chosen and a total of 10 units will be acquired for PhP 3.4 billion (USD 79 million). But it was reported that the helicopters being offered by Eurocopter are no longer available.
Five (5) refurbished UH-1H helicopters from the United States government were handed-over to the PAF on 10 January 2011.
On 20 June 2012, it was reported that an additional 21 units of used UH-1D Huey utility helicopters from an unspecified country will be acquired for PhP1.2 billion (US$27.9 million). The helicopters will come from the United States and are expected to be delivered by December 2012. But it was reported the bidding failed because the two firms that submitted offers had failed to meet certain eligibility requirements.
On 31 January 2013, 2 more firms joined the bidding for 21 UH-1H helicopters for the Philippine Air Force, the American firm Rice Aircraft Services Inc. and the Israel-based Radom Aviation Systems Ltd. The AFP wants these helicopters delivered on or before March 31. The government has also allocated P1.26 billion for the purchase of the helicopters and the integrated logistics support package.
On February 14, 2013, it was reported that Radom Aviation Systems Ltd. backed out, leaving Rice Aircraft Services Inc. the only bidder.
As part of a defense aid of South Korea to the Philippines, fifteen (15) additional former ROKAF T-41Bs arrived on December 4, 2008 in disassembled form. These arrived at the 410th Maintenance Wing in Clark AFB, whose personnel completed re-assembly of the aircraft. These were inaugurated into service on March 5.
After being delayed due to exchange rate issue, Aerotech Industries Philippines, the domestic partner of Alenia Aermacchi, delivered 18 locally-assembled SF-260F aircraft to the air force, with deliveries completed by 3rd quarter 2011. These would serve the Primary Training program and will be complemented by the existing fleet of older SF-260TP purchased in early 1990s and remaining SF-260Ms purchased in the mid-1970s.
With a shortage of transport aircraft, the Philippine Air Force announced in February 2010 its intention to purchase a refurbished C-130H and three smaller transport aircraft to augment its fleet, and an invitation to bid was released with DERCO Aerospace declared as the only bidder with an ex-Tunisian Air Force C-130H. This might eventually replace the N-22B Nomad transport planes currently in service. But by June 2011, the DND declared a failure of bidding and instead are now looking for EDA from friendly countries.
Refurbishing of C-130
Two Philippine Air Force C-130 underwent a Programmed Depot Maintenance (PDM), one C-130H t/n 4704 with British Aerospace in California, United States while the other, a C-130B, is with PAF's 410th Maintenance Wing at Clark Air Base. The C-130H arrived in Manila on 17 October 2012, while the C-130B with t/n 3633 returned to active status on 28 December 2012. Another C-130 is expected to go through a similar recovery and overhaul program by the 410th Maintenance Wing.
In 2007 the Philippine Air Force sent a delegation to China upon the formal invitation of China Aviation Industry Corp. (CATIC). The five-man team, led by Major General Pedro Ike Insierto, inspected the company's line of utility helicopters and fixed-wing transport aircraft. Lieutenant General Horacio Tolentino, Air Force chief at the time, clarified that the inspection did not signify an intent to purchase the aircraft being offered.
Medium Lift Aircraft
Light Lift Aircraft
On 20 June 2012, it was reported that the IPTN NC-212 Aviocar light lift transport aircraft from Indonesia was chosen and a total of 2 units will be acquired for PhP 814 million (USD 18.9 million).
According to Air Force Public Information officer Major Gerardo M. Zamudio Jr., that aside from the new SF-260 trainer planes and night capable attack helicopters, the PAF is set to purchase under its capability upgrade program, 6 advanced primary trainer aircraft, 10 additional Huey UH-1H utility helicopters, 8 brand new combat utility helicopters, 7 new attack helicopters, 2 light lift aircraft, and 12 trainer helicopters.
It was reported that the Philippine Air Force (PAF) is acquiring three radars with a project cost of about P2.3 billion. Major General Raul Dimatatac told reporters, “We are looking at installing three radars for our three major sites.“ The radars, he said, are among those listed in the PAF’s wish list in the P75-billion military modernization budget in the next five years.
These acquisitions and upgrades, including aerial surveillance cameras, communication equipment, 1.2-ton trucks, and additional military hardware, are part of PAF’s Horizon 1, the internal security - centered stage of modernization focused on making insurgent groups irrelevant by the year 2010.
Horizon 2, the transition stage to territorial defense, is set to take effect by 2012. Air Force Chief Lt. Gen. Pedrito Cadungog said the Air Force is presently in the process of making a study of what type of fighter jets they are going to acquire. He said the acquisition can only start after 2010 which is the projected defeat of internal security threats.
As of 2013[update], the backbone of the PAF inventory consists of:
|SIAI Marchetti S-211||Italy||Light attack aircraft/Basic jet trainer||AS-211||5||Locally upgraded to AS-211 "Warrior" standard to do air-to-ground missions. 7 more airframes stored, waiting for reactivation.|
|Rockwell International OV-10 Bronco||United States||Light attack/Observation aircraft||OV-10A/C/SLEP||12||Some OV-10A upgraded to OV-10SLEP by March Aviation. 5 OV-10C provided by Thailand in 2003-2004, more may follow. Upgraded to deliver Paveway LGB.|
|Alenia Aermacchi SF-260||Italy||Light attack aircraft and Primary trainer||SF-260TP/MP
|20 older "MP" & "TP" models & 18 new units SF-260F (designated "FH") as of 2012. Some "M" and "TP" models configured for light attack.|
|Lockheed C-130 Hercules||United States||Heavy Tactical transport aircraft||C-130B/H||3||H model t/n 4726 & 4704, and B model t/n 3633. 6 more C-130B & L-100-20 stored|
|Fokker F27 Friendship||Netherlands||VIP Transport
Maritime Patrol Aircraft
Medium Tactical Transport
|F27-200 t/n 59-0259 (c/n 10115), F27-200MAR c/n 10620, F27-500F c/n 10669|
|Fokker F28 Fellowship||Netherlands||VIP Transport||F28-3000||1||Presidential Aircraft t/n 1250|
|GAF N-22 Nomad||Australia||Light Transport Aircraft||N-22B||1||t/n C-87. 2 more stored.|
|Rockwell International Turbo Commander||United States||Surveillance aircraft||TC-690||1|
|Cessna T-41 Mescalero||United States||Primary pilot trainer||T-41B/D||29||14 T-41D, plus 15 T-41B from South Korea added 2009|
|Cessna 210 Centurion||United States||light utility aircraft||LC-210||1||t/n 227, rain-making aircraft|
|PZL W-3 Sokół||Poland||Multirole helicopter||W-3A||8||Four units commissioned March 2012, 2 more delivered November 26, 2012. and the last 2 units were delivered on February 16, 2013.|
|Sikorsky S-70 Black Hawk||United States||VIP Transport||S-70A-5||1||2 delivered in 1984 but 1 crashed & written-off.|
|McDonnell Douglas MD-500 Defender||United States||Scout/Light Attack Helicopter||MD-520MG||25|
|Sikorsky S-76||United States||SAR/Utility helicopter||S-76A/AUH-76A||10||The PAF originally received 17 aircraft.|
|Bell UH-1 Iroquois||United States||Multipurpose utility helicopter||UH-1H
|Probably more active and stored. PAF acquired license in 2003 to perform in-house Huey II upgrades|
|Bell 205||United States||Multipurpose utility helicopter||8|
|Bell 412||United States||Transport helicopter||3||These aircraft are leased, and operated by the Presidential Airlift Wing.|
Wherever possible the PAF has relied on local skills for modification projects, as in the recent Huey II program.
In 1992 the Philippine Air Force received 24 OV-10A Broncos from the USAF-operated Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center (AMARC) at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, replacing the AT-28D Trojan as the PAF's main air to ground aircraft to complement the MG-520s of the 15th Strike Wing based at Sangley Air Base, Cavite City. These OV-10s have been credited with numerous air strikes against the MILF, MNLF, Abu Sayaff, and NPA rebel forces, with zero losses during these sorties. Most PAF OV-10 losses have been due to pilot error, technical and mechanical issues, with aircrew losses mostly coming from the second batch of OV-10s delivered. Almost all of the original PAF OV-10 pilots are either on administrative duty or have left the PAF for civilian jobs.
Former (major) aircraft
The Philippine Air Force retired its fleet of Northrop F-5A/B Freedom Fighter with a ceremony on October 1, 2005. The F-5s were used by the PAF's Blue Diamonds aerobatics team and have appeared in several films and television programs shot in the Philippines.
At one point, the PAF also operated 25 F-8H Crusaders—the most advanced fighter aircraft to see service in the PAF to date. Unlike the comparatively newer F-5As which were day- fighters with ranging radars only, the Crusaders gave the PAF true all-weather interception capability. These have since been retired, and the airframes are now being sold for scrap.
As Philippine Army Air Corps
|P-26 Peashooter||United States||Fighter aircraft||31||Destroyed during World War II|
Organization in 2006
|15th Strike Wing||HQ, Maj. Danillo S. Atienza AB, Sangley Point, Cavite)|
|16th Attack Squadron (Eagles)||OV-10A/C/A SLEP|
|17th Attack Squadron (Jaguars)||SF.260TP|
|18th Attack Squadron (Falcons)||MD-520MG|
|20th Attack Squadron (Firebirds)||MD-520MG|
|25th Attack Squadron (Lobos)||OV-10A/C/A SLEP; SF.260TP; MD-520MG|
|Air Defense Wing||Basa AB, Pampanga|
|7th Tactical Fighter Squadron (Bulldogs)||S-211|
|205th Tactical Helicopter Wing||HQ, Benito Ebuen AB, Mactan Island, Cebu|
|206th Tactical Helicopter Squadron (Hornets)||UH-1H|
|207th Tactical Helicopter Squadron (Stingers)||UH-1H|
|208th Tactical Helicopter Squadron (Daggers)||UH-1H|
|220th Airlift Wing||HQ, Benito Ebuen AB, Mactan Island, Cebu|
|221st Tactical Airlift Squadron (Fokkers)||Fokker F-27|
|222nd Tactical Airlift Squadron (Hercules)||C-130B/H|
|223rd Tactical Airlift Squadron (Nomads)||N-22B/C Nomad|
|Air Education and Training Command||Basilio Fernando AB, Lipa|
|101st Primary Flying Training Sqn (Wildcat)||T-41D/Cessna 172-k|
|102nd Basic Flying Training Sqn (Cougar)||SF.260MP|
|505th Search and Rescue Group (Angels)||HQ, Col. Jesus A. Villamor AB, Pasay City, Metro Manila|
|5051st Search and Rescue Squadron||Huey II, Bell 205, S-76, UH-1H|
|5052nd Search and Rescue Squadron||Huey II, Bell 205, S-76, UH-1H|
|5053rd Search and Rescue Squadron||Huey II, Bell 205, S-76, UH-1H|
|5056th Search and Rescue Squadron||Huey II, Bell 205, S-76, UH-1H|
|250th Presidential Airlift Wing (Code one)||Col. Jesus A. Villamor AB, Pasay City, Metro Manila|
|251st Presidential Airlift Squadron||Fokker F28|
|252nd Presidential Helicopter Squadron||S-76, S-70A, Bell 212, Bell 412|
|900th Weather Support Group||Col. Jesus A. Villamor AB, Pasay City, Metro Manila|
|901st Weather Squadron||Cessna T-210TG|
The Philippine Air Force has twelve bases located throughout the archipelago.
Luzon contains has the largest concentration of installations. Seven of the twelve bases located throughout the country lies within Luzon. The headquarters, the Villamor Airbase, is located at Pasay. It is also the home of the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing. Two bases lies at the province of Pampanga, the Clark Airbase and the Basa Airbase. The Clark Airbase at Clark International Airport (Clark Freeport Zone) in Angeles is the home of the Air Logistics Command and the 710th Special Operations Wing. Meanwhile, the Basa Airbase in Floridablanca is the home of the Air Defense Wing.
Other bases in Luzon includes the Danilo Atienza Airbase in Cavite City which is the home to the 15th Strike Wing, the Antonio Bautista Airbase in Palawan which is the home of the 570th Compostie Tactical Wing, and the Wallace Air Station in San Fernando which is the home of the 580th Control And Warning Wing.
Four airbases are situated in Mindanao, namely the Edwin Andrews Air Base in Zamboanga (home of the 530th Composite Tactical Wing), Rajah Buayan Air Base in General Santos International Airport at General Santos, an airbase at Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro and the TOG Sanga-Sanga in Tawi-Tawi.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Philippine Air Force|
- Official website
- History of the PAF
- PAF page at Scramble
- Papers of William Lecel Lee, former Technical Advisor to the Philippine Air Force and Chief of the Constabulary Air Corps, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library