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Philippine Air Force: Modernization Programs

Related Resources : Philippine Air Force

Modernization Programs

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.

Combat Aircraft

Multi-role Fighters

There were several occasions that the PAF tried to modernize its fighter aircraft force, which was left to decline for several decades.

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. However, these modernization programs were put on hold after the Philippines' economy was impacted by the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.

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 considered.

It was reported that the DND will be acquiring multirole fighters by 2018.

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 in 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:

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 Feb. 21, 2014, it was announced that the Philippines and South Korea completed the negotiations for the acquisition of 12 lead-in fighter trainer jets from South Korea. The Department of National Defense Special Bids and Awards Committee approved the offer of Korea Aerospace Industries KAI in a meeting that was held in Camp Aguinaldo.

On Mar. 28, 2014, it was announced by the state arms procurement agency of South Korea that South Korea signed a US0 million contract Friday to export 12 FA-50 fighter jets built by Korea Aerospace Industries KAI to the Philippines under a government-to-government deal.

Close Air Support Aircraft

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, 8 attack helicopters AH and 21 additional UH-1H helicopters.

Combat Utility Helicopters

Engines of 20 MD-520 attack helicopters are currently being overhauled. The PAF elected to pursue this project via FMS.

Additional UH-1

Five 5 refurbished UH-1H helicopters from the United States government were handed-over to the PAF on 10 January 2011.

Transport Aircraft

Used C-130

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.

Medium Lift Aircraft

Light Lift Aircraft

Search And Rescue Aircraft


On November 2013, the DND released an invitation to bid for the acquisition of 3 brand new Search and Rescue seaplanes with an Integrated Logistics package ILS. The DND has allotted 2.67 billion pesos for this project. The pre-bid conference was scheduled at November 15, 2013 while the actual bidding was scheduled at November 29, 2013. The seaplanes being offered should be used by the Armed Forces of the country of origin or by the Armed Forces of at least 2 other countries.

Long-Range Patrol Aircraft

Related Categories

173 Related Topics about Philippine Air Force
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