What is PAF? A Comprehensive Overview to the Philippine Air Force

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The Philippine Air Force (PAF), one of the three main service branches within the Armed Forces of the Philippines, stands as the aerial warfare service branch.

Originating as a component of the Philippine Army, specifically the Philippine Army Air Corps, the PAF assumes vital roles in safeguarding Philippine airspace and executing diverse aerial operations across the country.

Operating under the oversight of the Department of National Defense (DND), its responsibilities encompass activities such as close air support operations, combat air patrols, aerial reconnaissance missions, airlift operations, helicopter tactical operations, and aerial humanitarian operations.

Together with the Philippine Army and the Philippine Navy, the PAF plays a crucial role in ensuring the defense and security of the Philippines.

In this article, we will look closer into the PAF’s history, explore job opportunities, and provide more insights into its significant contributions.

Keep reading to uncover details about the PAF’s past, its role in national security, and explore potential career paths.

Scroll down to find the job list below for exciting opportunities within the Philippine Air Force.

Job Opportunities:

Explore job opportunities in the Philippine Air Force for officers and enlisted personnel at various ranks. Check out current openings below or discover more government agencies job.

Philippine Air Force Salary Grade:

Learn about the Philippine Air Force salary grades (Here). Interested in the financial aspects of a career in the Air Force? Get insights into the salary structure and benefits to make informed decisions about your future.

History of PAF:

What is PAF? A Comprehensive Overview to the Philippine Air Force 3

The Early Years (1917-1945):

The foundation of the Philippine Air Force was shaped by pivotal events during its early years, marked by a struggle between the inclination to remain dependent on a colonial ally and the aspiration to independently develop its military force. 

This unique relationship spanned nearly nine decades, profoundly influencing the birth and growth of the Philippine Air Force.

Formation of Military Aviation:

The journey began with the approval of Senate President Manuel L. Quezon’s bill on March 17, 1917, for the creation of the Philippine Militia, also known as the Philippine National Guard (PNG). 

This legislation mandated the establishment of an aviation unit consisting of 15 officers and 135 enlisted men.

The end of World War I witnessed the U.S. Army and Navy supplying aircraft and equipment to the Philippine Militia Commission.

Birth of Filipino Aviators:

Despite initial setbacks, the Militia Commission seized the opportunity to build a Filipino air unit by accepting the U.S. offer. 

The Curtiss School of Aviation was enlisted to provide flight training to 33 students at Camp Claudio in Paranaque. On April 20, 1920, Lt. Leoncio Malinao became the first Filipino Military Pilot to fly solo, marking a significant milestone. 

The first batch of Filipino pilots, 25 out of the original 33 volunteers, graduated on December 29, 1920.

This led to the formation of the short-lived Philippine Air Service on January 1, 1921, primarily engaged in air transport and airmail flights.

Reactivation and Expansion (1935-1941):

After a 13-year hiatus, Philippine Military Aviation was reactivated on January 2, 1935, through Commonwealth Act 1494, leading to the establishment of the Philippine Constabulary Air Corps (PCAC). 

In 1936, it was redesignated as the Philippine Army Air Corps (PAAC) under the control of the newly established Philippine Army

With three “Stearman” 73L-3 trainer planes, the PAAC began its journey, expanding to a total of 54 aircraft by the middle of 1941, including pursuit (fighters), light bombers, reconnaissance aircraft, light transport, and trainers.

World War II Challenges:

At the outbreak of World War II, the PAAC, now part of the USAFFE (United States Army Forces in the Far East), found itself unprepared for a shooting war. 

Japanese forces, armed with superior aircraft, launched raids on the Philippines. Despite the challenges and the use of obsolete Curtiss P-26A “Peashooters,” PAAC officers and men fought bravely. 

The baptism of fire occurred during the Japanese raid on Zablan Field at Camp Murphy on December 10, 1941. Notable leaders like Capt. Jesus Villamor distinguished themselves in engagements against the superior Japanese forces.

Guerrilla Resistance and Liberation:

Following the Philippines’ surrender to Japanese forces, some PAAC officers, including Capt. Jesus Villamor, continued the fight under guerrilla movements. 

Villamor’s courage and bravery in delicate missions for McArthur’s Allied Intelligence net were instrumental in the liberation of the country, earning him the Medal for Valor.

Birth and Development of the Air Force (1947-1960s):

Immediate Post-War Period:

Following World War II, the Philippine Army Air Corps (PAAC) underwent swift reconstitution, and pilot training efforts were intensified. 

On July 1, 1947, the PAAC was officially renamed the Philippine Air Force and ascended to the status of a major service command within the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Substantial units were created, and the Air Force organizational structures were bolstered, aligning with the equipment and air assets provided through U.S. Military Aid.

Anti-HUK and Anti-Kamlon Campaigns:

In its early years, the Air Force played a crucial role in anti-HUK (Hukbalahap) and anti-Kamlon insurgency campaigns. 

The establishment of the Sulu Air Task Group (SATAG) marked a significant development, utilizing P-51 “Mustangs,” PBY “Catalina” amphibian planes, and L-5 “Sentinel” liaison aircraft to intensify operations against Hadji Kamlon, who eventually surrendered in 1955.

The Blue Diamonds Aerobatic Team:

In November 1953, 1Lt Jose Gonzales and pilots from the 6th Tactical Fighter Squadron (6th TFS) formed the Blue Diamonds, a precision aerobatic flying team that showcased remarkable skills during the Philippine Aviation Week. 

Using P-51 Mustangs, the Blue Diamonds outperformed a team of Taiwanese F-84 Thunderjets in an Acrobatic Demonstration.

Entry into the Jet Age (1955-1962):

The Air Force entered the jet age in 1955, achieving superpower status in Southeast Asia. Jet aircraft, including T-33A “T-Bird” trainer planes, were introduced, marking a technological leap. 

The acquisition of F-86F Sabres in 1956 propelled the Air Force into the jet era, with the 6th TFS and Blue Diamonds performing aerobatics with these advanced aircraft.

International Engagements and Peacekeeping Missions:

The Air Force extended its influence globally in the 1960s, responding to a request from UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold. 

In 1962, the Philippine Air Force dispatched the “Limbas” Squadron (later 9th TFS) to the Congo as part of UN Peacekeeping forces, effectively neutralizing secessionists and earning the United Nations Service Medal.

Contributions to Socio-Economic Development and Internal Security:

The Philippine Air Force played a pivotal role in socio-economic development and internal security operations against communist rebels and Moro insurgents. 

Notably, during the declaration of Martial Law in September 1972 by President Ferdinand Marcos, the Philippine Air Force responded decisively to communist insurgency and secessionist rebellion, demonstrating the indispensable role of air power in suppressing these challenges.

1970s and 1980s Period:

Central Mindanao Liberation Campaign (1973):

From the first quarter through the third of 1973, the Philippine Air Force, notably through the Composite Air Support Force Cotabato (CASFCOT), played a pivotal role in the campaign to liberate Central Mindanao from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

Under the command of Col. Angel C. Okol PAF, the CASFCOT, operating under the Regional Air Command (RACMIN), deployed UH-1H choppers, L-20 “Beaver” rocket-bearing aircraft, and C-47 gunships.

The Philippine Air Force conducted continuous air strikes, contributing significantly to the recapture of towns from rebel control.

These efforts eventually led to the destruction of enemy logistics in the town of Lebak.

Self-Reliance and Development (1974):

In 1974, the Philippine Air Force established the Self-Reliance Development Group, later evolving into the Air Force Research and Development Center (AFRDC). 

This initiative aimed at localizing the production of essential requirements and fostering partnerships with the private sector.

The AFRDC proudly presented prototype aircraft and vital equipment, showcasing the Philippine Air Force commitment to self-sufficiency.

EDSA Revolution (1986):

On February 24, 1986, during the EDSA Revolution, the 15th Strike Wing played a significant role by defecting to the Ramos-Enrile camp. 

Taking their squadron of S-76 “Sikorsky,” the defection contributed to a bloodless revolution at EDSA.

This historic event not only ushered in a new order led by a woman president but also earned global respect for the Philippines.

Change in Anniversary Date (1989):

In 1989, three years after the People Power Revolution, President Corazon Aquino issued Proclamation No. 389, prompting the Philippine Air Force to change its anniversary date from May 2 to July 1. 

The original date commemorated the 1936 maiden flight of American officer Lt. Lee, while July 1 marked the renaming of the PAAC to the PAF and its elevation to a major branch of the AFP.

Inclusion of Female Pilots (1991):

In parallel with societal changes, the PAF embraced opportunities for women. In 1991, Republic Act 7192, also known as the Women in Development and Nation Building Act, paved the way for the admission of the first female pilots into the PAF. 

This landmark decision aimed at promoting the integration of women as full and equal partners in development and nation building.

Into the Second Millennium (1990s):

Aircraft Acquisition and Modernization (1991-1998):

During the 1990s, the Philippine Air Force underwent a significant expansion of its airpower capabilities. 

The acquisition of various aircraft, including additional F-5As, S-211s, OV-10 Broncos, MD520 MGs, and SF-260 TPs, occurred between 1991 and 1998. 

This expansion was in response to the Modernization Program, signed into law on February 23, 1995, under Republic Act 7898. 

The Philippine Air Force also engaged in international collaborations through memoranda with countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, France, and Australia, covering areas like military training, defense industry, logistics, and cooperative defense activities.

Humanitarian Relief and International Agreements (1994-1997):

In 1994, the Philippine Air Force played a crucial role in ferrying relief teams from Yemen to Malaysia using additional C-130B aircraft, providing assistance to stranded Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). 

The PAF continued to strengthen its international partnerships, signing agreements with Thailand, the UK, Spain, and Indonesia for military and defense cooperation between 1996 and 1997.

Air Force Evolution and Organizational Changes (1999):

At the onset of the new millennium, the Philippine Air Force underwent significant organizational changes. In 1999, the Air Education and Training Command was established, reorganizing the 100th Training Wing in Fernando Air Base, Lipa City. 

The Mactan Air Base was modernized into the BGen Benito Ebuen Air Base (MBEAB), serving as a complex civil-military air facility.

Total Quality Management and Air Force City (2001):

In the early 2000s, the PAF pursued total quality management across all aspects, emphasizing human resources and fixed assets. 

The Tactical Operations Wing (TOW) in Clark was activated in 2001, along with the establishment of the Air Power Institute in Fernando Air Base. 

These changes reflected a commitment to modernization and efficiency, leading to significant victories in operations against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) camps and the capture of Camp Abubakar in 2001.

Response to Global Terrorism (2001):

The global events of September 11, 2001, prompted heightened awareness and response to the menace of terrorism. In the third quarter of 2001, the Philippine Air Force organized the 740th Combat Group under the 710th Special Operations Wing to address the threat of terrorism. 

This unit played a pivotal role in various operations, including combat reconnaissance patrols, mobile patrols, security, checkpoint and clearing operations, and foot patrols in critical areas threatened by terrorists and extremists.

The First Decade of 2000s:

Reinvention and Asset Management:

In the early 2000s, the Philippine Air Force embarked on a bold journey of reinvention, meticulously assessing its air assets and redefining operational strategies. 

Recognizing the importance of maintaining a skilled and competent workforce, the Philippine Air Force prioritized the training and retention of professional maintenance personnel. 

Faced with practical challenges, the Philippine Air Force made strategic decisions, including the downgrading and merging of units, leading to the decommissioning of aging and costly assets, such as the F-5 fighter jets. 

This marked the beginning of new initiatives, including the highly successful Aircraft Recovery Program of 2002, contributing to increased operational rates and mission capability.

Organizational Changes and Human Resource Enhancement:

In subsequent years, the Philippine Air Force underwent organizational changes, with the redesignation of the 4th Tactical Operations Wing (TOW) as the 570th Composite Tactical Wing (CTW) and the reactivation of the 1st Air Division (1st AD). 

The PAF Personnel Management Center (PAFPMC) was established in 2007, focusing on recruitment, retraining, and reassignment processes. 

The construction of the Airmen’s Mall in VAB and the rebuilding of the PAF Library were undertaken to enhance the overall human resource environment.

ASEAN Air Chiefs Conference (2007):

In 2007, the PAF hosted the 4th ASEAN Air Chiefs Conference, a five-day event centered around the theme “Community of ASEAN Air Forces for Enhanced Cooperation Against Terrorism.” 

The conference facilitated the exchange of professional views among ASEAN Air Chiefs, emphasizing the importance of teamwork and mutual aid in combating terrorism. 

Despite regional challenges, the event was successfully conducted, showcasing the PAF’s strength and capabilities.

Operation Lightning Sword and Humanitarian Assistance:

In 2008, the PAF intensified its efforts in the fight against rebel groups, leading to a series of air strikes known as Operation Lightning Sword. 

Despite domestic challenges, the Philippine Air Force extended assistance to victims of cyclone “Nagris” in Myanmar through medical and relief missions. 

In support of the government’s Kalayaan sa Barangay Program, PAF engineers were deployed to Mindanao to contribute to the construction of schools, facilities, and water systems.

Acquisition of T-41B Trainer Aircraft and Human Resource Development:

On March 9, 2009, the PAF acquired fifteen T-41B primary trainer aircraft from South Korea, bolstering Basic Military Pilot Training at the PAF Flying School. 

While awaiting modernization, the PAF concentrated on enhancing its critical asset—the human resource. 

Embracing the core values of IN-STEP—Integrity, Service above Self, Teamwork, Excellence, and Professionalism—the PAF prioritized professionalization and development. 

Strategic planning, training programs, and the updating of manuals focused on promoting peace, progress, and unity.

During this period, the PAF faced challenges with resilience, decisiveness, and a commitment to its core values.

The Philippine Air Force (2010-2016):

Transformation and Territorial Defense:

In the period spanning 2010 to 2016, the Philippine Air Force underwent a significant transformation aimed at revitalizing its territorial defense capabilities while maintaining the capacity to support internal security operations, national development efforts, and disaster response.

Internal Security Operations (2012-2013):

The early years of the decade witnessed the PAF’s multifaceted operations, with a focus on internal security. 

Notably, in September 2013, the Philippine Air Force played a crucial role in responding to the attempted takeover of Zamboanga City by rogue members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). Airlift operations facilitated the swift deployment of reinforcements, supplies, and relief goods. 

The Philippine Air Force conducted intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance (ISR) operations and air strikes, collaborating with the Philippine Navy to prevent enemy reinforcements from reaching Zamboanga City by sea.

Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (2013):

The PAF showcased its role as the first responder during calamities. In October 2013, after a powerful earthquake struck Central Visayas, especially Bohol, the PAF transported aid teams and relief goods to the affected areas. 

A month later, in response to Super Typhoon Yolanda, the PAF conducted medical and relief missions, evacuated refugees, and played a crucial role in international relief efforts involving 29 countries.

Territorial Defense and International Recognition (2015):

As the PAF transitioned to territorial defense, it increased aerial surveillance flights over the West Philippine Sea, providing valuable information on illegal construction activities. 

In 2015, then Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alberto del Rosario commended the PAF for its contributions to the Philippines’ case at the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration on the South China Sea maritime dispute.

National Development and International Commitments:

The PAF engaged in various national development activities, including environmental protection, law enforcement support, and participation in programs like Habitat for Humanity and Brigada Eskwela. 

Notable security-related contributions included supporting the visits of Pope Francis and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in 2015, providing security and crowd control.

International Defense and Security Engagement (IDSE):

In line with its commitment under the United Nations Charter, the PAF actively participated in international Peacekeeping Operations (PKO). 

PAF personnel were deployed to various UN-mandated PKO missions, including East Timor, Golan Heights, Haiti, Liberia, the Ivory Coast, India, and Pakistan. 

However, contingents were withdrawn from certain missions due to security concerns and crises.

Capability Development and Aircraft Acquisition (2010-2015):

The PAF made significant strides in capability development during this period, acquiring new aircraft to enhance its operational capabilities. 

The acquisitions included SF-260 trainers, PZL-Swidnik W-3A “Sokol” helicopters, CASA C-295 medium lift transports, Bell 412EP combat utility helicopters, Agusta-Westland AW-109E attack helicopters, refurbished UH-1D helicopters, and two FA-50PH Lead-in Fighter Trainer/Surface Attack Aircraft (LIFT/SAA). 

The FA-50PH marked the country’s first new supersonic jets in 50 years.

Exercise Dagat Langit and Disaster Response Units (2011-2016):

The PAF, in collaboration with the Philippine Navy, conducted Exercise Dagat Langit (DAGIT) since 2011, enhancing joint planning, procedures, and communications. 

Learning from the lessons of Super Typhoon Yolanda, the PAF established and trained Disaster Response Units (DRU) to improve disaster response capabilities.

Ongoing and Future Developments (2016 and beyond):

The PAF continues to acquire new capabilities, with more FA-50PH LIFT/SAA, C-130T, and NC212i transports scheduled to arrive between 2016 and 2017. Complementary systems, such as air defense radars, are also expected in the near future. 

As part of efforts to restore credible air defense capability, the Air Defense Wing (ADW) is undergoing reorganization, aiming for the upgrading to the Air Defense Command (ADC) by 2016, along with the reactivation of the 5th Fighter Wing and the upgrading of the 580th Aircraft Control and Warning Group (ACWG) to the 580th Aircraft Control and Warning Wing (ACWW) by 2017.

The period from 2010 to 2016 reflects the Philippine Air Force’s dedication to modernization, capability enhancement, and its evolving role in both national and international contexts.


“To organize, train, equip, maintain and provide forces in order to conduct prompt and sustained air operations to accomplish the AFP mission.”


“A professional and competent Air Force responsive to national security and development.”


  1. “Organize, train and equip forces for prompt and sustained air operations for the defense of the Philippines;
  2. Organize, train and equip forces for airlift, airborne and tactical air operations unilaterally or in coordination with surface forces;
  3. Formulate and develop doctrines, concepts, systems, policies, procedures, strategies, tactics and techniques for operations peculiar to the Air Force;
  4. Organize, train and equip all Air Force reserve units; and
  5. Perform such other functions as may be provided by law or assigned by higher authority.”

Officer Ranks:

1. General/Flag Officers:

  • General
  • Lieutenant General
  • Major General
  • Brigadier General

2. Senior Officers:

  • Colonel
  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • Major
  • Captain
  • First Lieutenant
  • Second Lieutenant

Enlisted Ranks:

1. Senior Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs):

  • Chief Master Sergeant
  • Senior Master Sergeant
  • Master Sergeant

2. Junior Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs):

  • Technical Sergeant
  • Staff Sergeant
  • Sergeant

3. Enlisted:

  • Airman First Class
  • Airman Second Class
  • Airman

Contact Details:

For Website Postings Concern:

Email Address: paf.inquiry@airforce.mil.ph

Contact Number: 8854-6701

For Recruitment/Inquiry Concern:

Email Address: pafhrmc.recruitment.query@gmail.com

Contact Numbers:

 09770045927 (PTD and Recruitment Branch)

 09453216427 (PTD and Recruitment Branch)

For Pensions and Other Claims:

Email Address: airforceadjutant@gmail.com

Contact Number: 09958610444


Looking back, the story of the Philippine Air Force is like a journey through challenges and triumphs. It all started with the Philippine Militia and the birth of the Philippine Air Service, shaping the PAF’s commitment to flying high.

World War II brought tough times. The PAF faced off against powerful Japanese forces but fought back with courage, even after the war when some officers continued the fight as guerrillas.

After the war, the PAF got a new name in 1947 – the Philippine Air Force. It wasn’t just about battles; the PAF wowed crowds with aerobatics by the Blue Diamonds and jumped into the jet age in 1955, becoming a big player in the region.

In the ’60s, the Philippine Air Force went global, helping out in the Congo. Fast forward to the 2000s, and the Philippine Air Force got a makeover, focusing on quality and efficiency. It faced terrorism head-on and made smart decisions like downgrading old jets to save money.

From 2010 to 2016, the Philippine Air Force became a superhero at home – responding to crises, keeping an eye on our skies, and even getting new fancy planes. They also played nice internationally, helping in peace missions and gaining praise at the United Nations.

Looking forward, the Philippine Air Force is getting even cooler planes and making sure they’re ready for anything. They’re also organizing themselves better and helping out more at home and abroad.

So, the PAF’s story isn’t just about planes; it’s about adapting, growing, and being a reliable friend in both good times and bad.


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All information contained here is solely for informational purposes and rightfully belongs to its rightful owner. 

Attached in the last section of the content are references for further verification, if needed. Read more


1. Official Website: Philippine Air Force. (n.d.). History. Retrieved 2023, from [https://www.paf.mil.ph/index.php/history]

2. Wikipedia: Philippine Air Force. (n.d.). Rank. Retrieved 2023, from [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine_Air_Force]

3. Official Website: Philippine Air Force. (n.d.). Feedback and Contact Us. Retrieved 2023, from [https://www.paf.mil.ph/feedback-contactus]