PAF AIRWORTHINESS Certification Authority (PACA)

Modern air power is technologically complex and resource intensive. It is therefore expensive to obtain, maintain and upgrade. Quaid-e-Azam in his famous speech in 1948, which is a source of inspiration for the PAF, emphasized the need of self-reliance. PAF vibrant R&D program is the manifestation of Quaid’s vision of “Self-Reliance” to minimize dependence on OEMs. As PAF develops its indigenous products, it was important to put in a place an independent system of qualification which ensures that the indigenous developments fulfil the applicable aviation standards and global best practices to ensure safety and performance. Airworthiness certification is, therefore, an important element of R&D eco-system. PAF leadership cognizant of the fact established the PAF Airworthiness Certification Authority (PACA) in August 2017, with the mission to “enhance operational capability with safety”.

In order to ensure that PACA is established on sound footing, a detailed study of well-established military and civil airworthiness frameworks (e.g. USA and Europe) was carried out. Based on the study, PACA formulated its organization structure, systems and processes in the form of AFOs and Airworthiness Procedures considering PAF force structure, environment, and needs. 

Since its establishment, PACA is undertaking airworthiness certification of all new development(s)/ indigenization tasks, integrations, modification, major repairs and life extensions on PAF aerial systems. To date, PACA has undertaken more than 200 certification projects of varying complexity on multiple aerial platforms and has issued more than 1250 Airworthiness Approvals, with Zero in-flight Occurrence related to these approvals. PACA has been able to achieve this through a knowledge driven airworthiness certification process with organic capacity of its HR having subject matter knowledge and qualification in multi-disciplinary domains.  

Soon after assumption of PAF command, the Worthy CAS enhanced PACA’s mission statement to additionally “Support National Industry to achieve Aviation Quality”. To fulfil this objective, PACA has re-located its three directorates at PAF NASTP facilities across the country. PACA in collaboration with PAF NASTP is offering airworthiness training, customized guidance and airworthiness certification services to the civil industry of Pakistan.

PACA is cognizant of the importance of global recognition/acceptance of its structure, systems and processes used for airworthiness certification of parts/products. It is envisaged that a well reputed, internationally recognized and connected PACA would provide competitive advantage to the local industry for marketing PACA certified parts/products at the global level. In this context, PACA underwent two thorough audits of US National Airworthiness Council (NAC) experts in May ’22 and Sep’23, as per well-established global framework of recognition. By the grace of Almighty, PACA has been Recognized by US NAC for a period of four years. Additionally, a Mechanism of Cooperation (MoC) with Turkiye in training and joint airworthiness certification of aerial platforms has been signed with SSB Turkiye in January, 2023. PACA has also been involved in establishment of Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) Airworthiness Authority. After providing training to 09 RSAF officers in Pakistan, 03 PACA officers were placed at RSAF. The RSAF and PAF team jointly have successfully established its first airworthiness directorate in 2023. PACA also has a Training Collaboration with DASA Australia for its capacity building, where a recurring slot of MS Airworthiness Engg for PAF officers in Australia is offered free of cost. A Synopsis agreement for Bilateral Collaboration and mutual recognition in airworthiness domain also exists with DGTA Malaysia.