One of the most popular force, out of the three armed forces, that is guarding the sovereignty and the population of Philippines from both international attackers as well as external forces is the Philippines Air Force or PAF. It was founded on July 1st 1947 as an independent service of the Philippines Armed forces and has its headquarters at Villamor Airbase at Pasay City. Hukbong Himpapawid ng Pilipinas is the official name of the Philippines Air Force in Filipino language. As is the case with many air forces all over the world, Philippines Air Force also considers that human resource is the most important component of an armed force, even more than the air craft machines and the artilleries. The Philippines Air force fully endorses this view that man is ultimate hero in a battle that might be won by weapons and artilleries as he is the one who is responsible for using these weapons. Lieutenant General Oscar H. Rabena is the Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force who took over the reins from Lt. Gen. Pedrito Cadungog during the change of command ceremony that took place on January 11th 2009.
The History of Philippines Air Force
The Philippine Air Force of today was outlined by issues and conditions in the aboriginal years of its existence. It was a clear-cut battle of inclinations – one is to remain depending on an ally of its colonial yesteryear and the other is to develop with boldness a military force on its own. This incomparable relationship commenced at the turn over of the century and carried on for about nine decades and has been the greatest formative influence on the birth and emergence of the Philippine Air Force. Armed forces airmanship took wings while the then Senate President Manuel L. Quezon’s bill for the initiation of the Philippine Militia, differently called the Philippine National Guard (PNG) was sanctioned on 17 March 1917. The bill mandates the full complement of an air power unit composed of fifteen military officers and 135 military personnel. The Militia Act 2715, the name it tended after its enactment, was ordained in expectation of the eruption of antagonisms between the U.S.A. and Germany.
The end of First World War discovered the United States Army and Navy distributing aircraft and equipment to the Philippine Militia Commission, which did not have any pilots and aircraft maintenance force of any commendable position. In spite of the setback, the Militia Commission took hold off the chance to commence construction of a Philippine air unit by taking over the United States offer. The Commission then employed the help of the Curtiss School of Aviation to render flight schooling to 33 pupils at Camp Claudio in Paranaque. Lt Leoncio Malinao was the 1st to disperse his flanks and soar up the Philippines skies as he became the first Philippine armed forces airplane pilot to aviate unaccompanied on April 20, 1920. The first batch of twenty-five student pilots attained their freedom to surge the Filipino skies shortly afterwards.
The first air power unit nonetheless, was confined to air transportation responsibilities and the transportation of air post from Manila to three different ports which finally tapered off owing to want of equipment. After fifteen years, Filipino armed forces air power was reactivated on January 2, 1935 while the tenth Congress cleared Commonwealth Act 1494 that allowed for the establishment of the Philippine Constabulary Air Corps (PCAC). It comprised of 2 companies, the tactical company and the service company. The Filipino Constabulary Air Corps was re-designated as the Philippine Army Air Corps (PAAC) in 1936. It commenced with three Stearman 73L-3 flight simulator airplanes shaping the nucleus of its aviation assets. Halfway through 1941, it had got a total of fifty-four types of aircraft in its armory ranging from quest (fighters) light bombers, light transport, reconnaissance aircraft and flight simulators.
At the eruption of Second World War, the PAAC observed itself nonetheless unequipped for a shooting warfare. Employing the P-26 Peashooters, which were outdated by this time, the PAAC’s military officers and personnel defended chivalrously against the brilliant Japanese zero fighter aircrafts. Prominent amongst these airplane pilots was Capt Jesus Villamor, a courageous fighter pilot in whose respect, Villamor air station, the abode of the Headquarters of the Filipino Air Force was named. On December 12, 1941, leftovers of the sixth Pursuit Squadron gallantly engrossed 17 Japanese Zeros and twenty-seven bombers in an unbelievable dogfight in Batangas, later on Lt Cesar Basa was shot down in activity while waging war against the more higher-ranking Japanese fighter aircrafts. The ratio was really substantial because the Japanese forfeited only 1 bomber and 1 fighter aircraft in the resulting battle royal. After the World War II, the arrival of the C-47 transport airplane called “Lily Marlene” was the foremost postwar flock of aircraft from the United States government and endured a very symbolic signification as a renaissance of Filipino air forces. It ushered the commencement of a fresh start for Philippine armed forces Aviation. Nevertheless, on May 18, 1947, hardly a year after surging the Filipino skies, “Lily Marlene” flew its final flight as it suffered a nasty crash.
The Philippine Army Air Corps (PAAC) initiated the delivering of the Philippine Air Force as a separate armed service and as a unit of the armed services of the Philippines. PAF came into its own under the outstanding leadership and motivation of Maj. Pelagio Cruz and it was two months before the birth of the United States Air Force. It formally became self-governing under the Executive Order No. 94 on July 1, 1947 under the presidentship of Manuel Roxas. The first commanding superior general of the PAF was Lt. Gen. Pelagio Cruz. Thus aviation was acknowledged as an inherent part of the Fillipino’s instrument of home Power. It was then the duty of early bosses to construct the Air Force as a force to count on.
The Primary School Squadron was instituted at Lipa Air Base On January 21, 1948. The base was renamed Fernando air station on May 2, 1948 and in May 1949, the Primary School Squadron was renamed the first Pilot School Squadron. In February 1951, its name was altered once again to the hundred-and-first Pilot School Squadron. More than fifty Boeing PT-13/PT-17 Kaydet Biplane flight simulators were employed by the PAF between 1948 and 1958. In 1949, the PAF adopted the P-51 Mustang attack aircrafts to bestow crucial firepower to the armed forces crusade against the Huks and against Islamic freedom fighters led by Hadji Kamlon. Amidst the Cold War, the PAF became one among the best-equipped air forces in Asia, and would continue intrinsically for over three decades. At one point, the air force had got more P-51 Mustangs than it had airplane pilots. On September 30, 1949, the PAF finished the change of Headquarters to Nichols Air Base. Following its culmination, the PAF Technical School was launched the next year in the recently finished Nichols.
The Filipino’s joined the Korean warfare on August 1950. The Philippines sent military personnel of just about 7,500 battle troops. It was called the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea, or PEFTOK. It was the fourth biggest power under the United Nations Command then under the control of US General Douglas MacArthur that were directed to guard South Korea from a communist encroachment by Democratic People’s Republic of Korea which was then backed by Mao Zedong’s China and Russia. The PEFTOK participated in resolute combats such as the Battle of Yultong Bridge and the Battle of Hill Eerie. This military force functioned with the United States 1st Cavalry Division, 25th Infantry Division, 3rd Infantry Division, and 45th Infantry Division. The Filipinos were also engaged in the Vietnam War, backing civil and medical operations. Initial deployment in 1964 added up to 28 military personnel, which included nurses, and 6 civilians. The measure of Philippine troops who served in Vietnam puffed up to 182 officers and 1,882 drafted personnel during the period 1966 to 1968. These forces were known as the Philippine Civic Action Group-Vietnam or PHILCAG-V.
The Republic of the Philippines sent out 200 medical personnel to aid coalition military groups in the liberation of Kuwait from the throttlehold of Iraq that was led by none other than Saddam Hussein. The Filipino aired 60 medical officers, engineers and additional troops to provide assistance in the invasion of Iraq. The military personnel were disengaged on the 14th of July, 2004, in reaction to the abducting of Angelo dela Cruz, a Filipino trucker. When insurgent requirements were fulfilled, the hostage was relinquished. While in Iraq, the military personnel were below Polish command. During that time, a lot of Philippine soldiers were hurt in a guerrilla attack, though none perished.
Philippines Air Force Present
At present, the Philippines Air force is part of the armed forces of the Philippines and has Lieutenant General Oscar H. Rabena as its Commanding General with only a total of 7,000 air force personnel in its ranks. Currently, there are a total of nine air bases that are being operated by the Philippines Air Force across the Philippines chain of islands. Jesus Villamor Air Base at Pasay City is the main headquarters of the PAF. Clark Air Base in Pampanga is their Logistics Command base, the Air Defense Wing is Cesar Basa Air Base, Floridablanca, Pampanga, Wallace Air Station, 580th Control And Warning Wing, Danilo Atienza Air Base at Cavite City – 15th Strike Wing, the 570th Composite Tactical Wing is located at Antonio Bautista Air Base, Palawa, Basilio Fernando Air Base, Lipa City, Batangas holds the Air Force Research and Development Center and Air Education and Training Command, 530th Composite Tactical Wing is Edwin Andrews Air Base at Zamboanga and Lumbia Airportat Cagayan de Oro City are some of the most prominently used air bases in the Philippines.
The current personification of the AFP modernization program is the Capability Upgrade Program (CUP) which puts off PAF-related modernization attempts to the 2nd and 3rd stages of a three-phase program. Very much to the dismay of PAF beholders and force, the first phase, nicknamed “Back to Basics” centers on bettering the AFP’s power to carry out Internal Security Operations (ISO). What petty financial backing the PAF gets in this phase circles around the PAF’s part in backing ground operations. A lot of modern aircraft are anticipated in Phases 2 and 3 of the CUP, which is when actual modernization is awaited to commence. PAF-related constituents of these stages are classified into what it calls “Horizon programs”, with Horizon 2 already in its preliminary stage.
The Department of National Defense, on behalf of the PAF, is presently going after the following attainment projects: eight Combat Utility Helicopters, seven attack helicopters and 10 additional UH-1H choppers. An earlier acquirement project, the Night Capable Attack Helicopter (NCAH), was forsaken due to procedural abnormalities. The office staff of the Ombudsman is presently enquiring this project. Engines of twenty MD-520 assault choppers are presently being modernized. The PAF elective is to act on this undertaking via FMS. Because the service centers on the latest Internal Security Operations (ISO) of the AFP, present-day endeavors are focused on the acquirement of aircraft for counter-insurgency (COIN) operations, particularly, additional chopper gunships and transport aircraft. The Department of National Defense (DND) has contacted at Canada or France for the attainment of fighter aircraft or jets.
With a dearth of transport aircraft, the Philippine Air Force declared in February 2010 its aim to buy a renovated C-130H and three smaller conveyance aircraft to increase its fleet. The minor transport airplanes will admit at least 9 to 12 riders. The aircraft inventory of Philippines Air force has 11 North American OV-10 Bronco attack aircraft, 12 light transport aircraft GAF Nomad from Australia, Fokker F28 Fellowship, a light transport airplane from Netherlands, 33 Italian attack aircraft and trainer aircraft Aermacchi SF-260TP/MP/WP, 2 Sikorsky S-70 Blackhawk and 11 Sikorsky S-76 Spiri multirole helicopter from US, two United States medium transport aircraft Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules, 2 United States Bell Huey II transport helicopter and SAR Helicopter, 100 and more Bell UH-1H transport helicopter, 8 light transport helicopter Bell 205 and 3 Bell 412 transport helicopter.
Future of Philippines Air Force
The Department of Defense is eyeing to leverage six fighter aircraft planes for the Philippine Air Force and this was recently disclosed in a news conference held on the 64th anniversary of the PAF by the Defense Secretary. The purchase is part of the Department of National Defense’s medium condition capability upgrade plan. The fighter jets to be procured will have the capability to conduct maritime patrol also. According to air force Public Information officer Major Gerardo M. Zamudio Jr., that apart from the fresh SF-260 trainer airplanes and night capable attack choppers, the PAF is all set to buy 6 most innovative basic trainer aircraft, ten additional Huey UH-1H utility helicopters, eight spic-and-span combat utility helicopters, seven brand-new assault helicopters, two light lift aircraft, and twelve trainer helicopters under its capability upgrade program. These accomplishments and upgrades, that also include aerial surveillance cameras, communicating gear, 1.2-ton motor trucks, and more military machine hardware, are part of PAF’s Horizon 1, the home protection – centralized stage of modernization concentrated on constructing guerilla groups immaterial very soon. Horizon II, the changeover phase to territorial defense mechanism, is set to assume by 2012 according to Air Force Chief Lt. Gen. Pedrito Cadungog. The Air Force is currently in the know-how of devising an analysis of what form of fighter jets they are looking to acquire. All the acquirements will only start once the thwart of internal security threats are completely expelled from the country.
The Filipino air force is already scouting for at the least two Mig-29 Fulcrum Fighter Jets or F-18 Hornets. The Mikoyan MiG-29 (Fulcrum) is a fourth-generation jet fighter aircraft configured in the early Soviet Union. Developed in the seventies by the Mikoyan design agency, it was introduced into military service with the Soviet Air Force in 1983, and continues to be engaged by the Russian Air Force in addition to as many other countries. The McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet is an ultrasonic, all-weather carrier-capable multirole fighter aircraft jet, configured for dogfights and air-to-surface military missions. AFP Modernization Program Management Office head Brig. Gen. Roy Deveraturda, has recently revealed that the Filipino air force and naval forces are receiving a large percentage of the modernization budget, with Malacanang maximizing AFP’s annual modernization allocation from P5 billion to P8 billion. The acquirements are already on the antecedence list of the Aquino governance for the next five years. The procurement and tendering are also afoot for the attainment of weapons system and logistics. AFP’s priorities are for combatant jets, patrol choppers with sensing elements, search-and-rescue choppers, transport aircraft, and important and strategic sea-lift vessels. Chinese penetrations in Filipino-claimed waters have enhanced anxiousness in the area, and have exhibited the austere disability of the AFP. The government is totally committed to speed up the AFP’s modernization program, in the confrontation of stresses with China over the Spratly Islands and the South China Sea