The Battle of Marawi

Arnaud Delalande looks at the development of the Philippine Air Force’s offensive capabilities and how these were put to use in the recently concluded campaign to liberate the city of Marawi.


A 15th Strike Wing Bronco prepares to depart Danilo Atienza AB, in Cavite. An initial batch of 24 OV-10As was supplemented by eight OV-10Cs transferred from Thailand. Although only ten remained in service in 2017 they were used in the Battle of Marawi.

Prior to 1947, the Philippine Air Force (PAF – Pilipinas Hukbong Himpapawid) was part of the country’s militia and then its army air corps. On July 1 of that year it became a separate branch and was initially equipped with P-51s, followed by F-86s, T-33s and T-34s. In 1960 the PAF took part in the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo. Four years later it acquired 22 F-5A/Bs under the US Military Assistance Program, and during the 1980s and 1990s Jordan, South Korea and Taiwan provided a further 14 Freedom Fighters. The survivors were retired in 2005. The PAF introduced the F-8H Crusader to service in 1977, in the form of refurbished ex-US Navy examples. All had been withdrawn by 1988.

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