Philippine Air Force Year End Modernization Updates

Published on November 18, 2020 by

The Philippine Air Force is heavily upgrading their air assets to meet the demands against internal and external threats. Modernization projects, although financing of this equipment faces challenges, the PAF still pursue some of its prioritized procurement.

And here it is. . .

Presidential Aircraft – Command Center

The brand-new Gulfstream G280 command-and-control aircraft (C2) will be assigned to the Philippine Air Force’s Air Mobility Command, the unit responsible for transport missions based in Mactan, Cebu.

In September 2020, Gulfstream G280 arrived at the Clark Air Base came from the United States. 

Bell Hercules C-130 Transport Aircraft

The upcoming C-130s were procured through the US foreign military financing program. Aircraft cost Php 2.5 billion, but the Philippines would pay around Php 1.6 billion. At the same time, the US would spend the rest of the amount.

Aside from the upcoming C130 Transport Aircraft, the Philippine Air Force will also acquire 5 additional transport aircraft of the same type.

ELM 2188 Radar

 IAI Elta Systems ELM-2288ER AD-STAR Extended Range long-range 3D air defense surveillance radar can detect at a range of around 420 kilometers. The air radar systems will help detect and identify any threats within the Philippines ‘ exclusive economic zone. 

The Philippine Government ordered 3 ELM-2288ER radars from Elta Systems of Israel via government-to-government negotiation with Israel under the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program Horizon. The deal is worth Php2.68 Billion.

Long-Range Air Defense Radar

Japanese firm won Php 5.5 billion of the Philippine Air Force air defense radar project.

 The procurement included three fixed long-range air surveillance radars. Each package has its own building facilities and one mobile air surveillance radar. Delivery is expected to be delivered to the Philippines starting in 2022.

Super Tucano Close Air Support Aircraft

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has officially served the six A-29B Super Tucano light attack aircraft. The aircraft was ordered from Brazilian manufacturer Embraer Defense & Security in late 2017.

The first four Super Tucanos arrived in Clark Air Base, Angeles City, Pampanga last September 19, while the remaining two landed in October this year. 

Embraer company pilots flew the aircraft from the company airfield in Sao Paulo, Brazil. They made refueling stops in the Canary Islands, Portugal, Malta, Egypt, Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates, India, Thailand, and Vietnam before landing in the Philippines.


 Hermes 900 and Hermes 450

The contract is worth approximately Php 8.5 Billion and includes the majority of Hermes 900 and Hermes 450 unmanned aerial systems (UAS). It also comprised several small undisclosed quantities of UAVs from the same company.

Once fully operational, the Hermes 450 and Hermes 900 UAS can be used for multiple surveillance missions, including tracking down terrorists in the jungle and urban areas, battlefield surveillance, real-time surveillance, and maritime surveillance in the country’s EEZ.

Bell Cobra Attack Helicopter

The helicopters are Bell AH-1F Cobra. It is used by the Royal Jordanian Air Force and offered to the Philippines in 2017. Later, officials from the Department of National Defense inspected the helicopters in Jordan and approved its acceptance.

January 2020, the Antonov An-124 Ruslan strategic airlift quad jet delivered the two Cobra Attack helicopters in Clark Air Base. These helicopters are assigned to Philippine Air Force 19th Composite Tactical Training Griffins Squadron. 


Philippine Air Force restored seven Huey helicopters using the assorted spare parts provided by the Japanese government. The Philippine Air Force is also wanted to acquire 21 used Huey helicopters from South Korea to bolster its fleet.

Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk Helicopter

The Philippines’ Department of National Defense (DND) signed a contract worth 12 billion pesos with Lockheed Martin’s Polish subsidiary PZL Mielec to deliver 16 units of Sikorsky’s S-70i Black Hawk combat utility helicopters for the Philippine Air Force (PAF). The remaining balance of Php 12 Billion was shouldered by the United States through FMS. 

 This November, the six helicopters were delivered through

 Antonov An-124 Ruslan cargo plane in Clark Airbase, Philippines, first five aircraft were delivered by the said transport aircraft. 

PAF jets to be fitted with Sidewinder missiles 

 The Department of National Defense reported that the delivery of AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles would start within the year. These missiles will be fitted onto the Philippine Air Force (PAF) ‘s new supersonic jets FA50 Fighting Eagles.

The air-to-air missiles were procured from Diehl Raytheon of Germany for Php 1 Billion as the PAF transitions from rockets and bombs to missile fighting capabilities. (No Update Yet)

 Russian Heavy Lift Helicopter

The Department of National Defense (DND) has reportedly released the Notice of Award (NOA) for the Philippine Air Force Heavy Lift Helicopter Acquisition Project.

Last March, the Philippine Embassy in Russia reported that DND and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) officials inspected an aircraft plant and training center in Moscow, Russia. The inspection is in line with the planned acquisition of Mi-171 heavy-lift helicopters for the Air Force.

Turkey Attack Helicopter

The Philippines Ministry of Defense official made statements on the Philippine Air Force’s T129 ATAK Assault and Tactical Reconnaissance Helicopter supply program.

According to the Turkish Ministry, the Philippines pursue the acquisition of the T129 ATAK offered by the Turkish Aviation and Space Industry.

The T-129 ATAK Offensive and Tactical Reconnaissance Helicopter were selected, and around 8 attack helicopters will be provided.

If this procurement will be canceled for any reason, possibly the second choice is the Viper helicopter offered by the United States government will be acquired. 

Medium Lift Aircraft

The Philippine Air Force will be adding three Medium Lift Aircraft to its Second Horizon Modernization Acquisition Project. Indonesia and Spain Manufacturer

The allotted budget is worth around Php 5.3 Billion and includes the majority of Hermes 900 and Hermes 450 unmanned aerial systems (UAS). It also comprised several small undisclosed quantities of UAVs from the same company.

Multirole Combat Aircraft

The contender F-16 Viper, but procurement currently on hold because of this unexpected pandemic.


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