The Philippine Air Force (PAF) celebrated its 76th Founding Anniversary by displaying its air assets with pride and gratitude. The PAF impressed its audience with live demonstrations of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities using the C208 aircraft, Fast Rope Insertion, and Extrication System (FRIES) operations with the S70i Black Hawk helicopters and a hoist rescue operation of a patient using a Huey 2 aircraft. Additionally, the PAF showcased air-to-ground live fire demonstrations with the FA50 PH, A29B Super Tucano, and T129 Atak Helicopters. The formal program began with an impressive high-speed opener exhibition by three FA-50 PH aircraft, followed by a formation flight of T-41 aircraft, forming “76” to honor the PAF’s many years of existence and service. A flyby demonstration featured various types of PAF air and ground assets, such as the FA50PH, T129, C295, C130, PZL W-3A Sokol, S70i, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), and Ground Based Air Defense System (GBADS) platforms.

In his speech, President Ferdinand R Marcos Jr., as the Commander-in-Chief, commended the PAF for its selfless service and dedication over the past 76 years. He recognized the rich history and growth of the PAF, from its humble beginnings during the First World War to its present role in securing the nation. The President expressed his gratitude to the PAF personnel for their exemplary dedication and contributions to enhancing the country’s aerial defense capabilities. He emphasized the values of integrity, excellence, and patriotism, urging the PAF to continue upholding them in their mission to protect the nation.

Furthermore, the President assured the PAF of the government’s commitment to strengthening the Armed Forces, including the PAF, through the AFP Modernization Program. Recognizing the challenges ahead, the President emphasized the importance of the PAF’s maritime air patrol missions in upholding territorial integrity and safeguarding Philippine naval zones. He expressed his confidence in the PAF’s ability to soar to greater heights, calling for unity indomitable spirit, and unwavering dedication to protecting the Republic.

Throughout its 76-year journey, the PAF has consistently strived for excellence in fulfilling its mission. Its relentless pursuit of improvement was evident in its continuous investments in cutting-edge technology, advanced infrastructure, and the development of its human resources, ensuring the security of the Philippines and its skies. These strategic endeavors have propelled the PAF’s capability to new heights, resulting in a more robust fleet, state-of-the-art platforms, efficient air bases, and highly trained personnel.

The celebration not only commemorates its rich history but also serves as a reminder of its unwavering commitment to protecting the nation and its skies. (PR)