Beginning-1964 (North Vietnam)
The first Vietnamese aircraft were two trainers, a De Havilland Tiger Moth and a Morane-Saulnier that were initially owned privately by the emperor Bao Dai. In 1945, Bao Dai gave the aircraft to the Vietnamese government. On March 9, 1949, Ho Chi Minh ordered the organization of the Air Force Research Committee (Ban Nghien Cuu Khong Quan). The first task was to send pilots and mechanics to the USSR and China for training. The first Vietnamese service aircraft flight was made by the Tiger Moth on August 15, 1949.
1956 saw the first organized pilot training schools in North Vietnam. The first unit of the Air Force (Khong Quan Nhan Dan Viet Nam) was the No. 919 Transport Regiment (Trung Doan Khong Quan Van Tai 919), organized on May 1, 1959, followed by the No. 910 Training Regiment (Trung Doan Khong Quan 910) with Yak-18 trainers. In 1963 the Air Force and Air Defense Force were merged into the Air and Air Defence Force (Phong Khong - Khong Quan Nhan Dan Viet Nam).
1964-1974 (North Vietnam)
The first North Vietnamese combat plane was a T-28 Trojan trainer , captured from theLaotian Air Force by its pilot, and utilized from early 1964 by the Vietnamese as a night fighter (shooting down the first US aircraft C-123 on February 15, 1964).
North Vietnam received its first fighter aircraft, the MiG-17 in February 1964, but they first arrived at air bases in China, where the pilots were trained. On February 3, 1964, the first fighter regiment No. 921 "Sao Do" was formed (Trung Doan Khong Quan Tiem Kich 921), and on August 6 it arrived from China in Vietnam with its MiG-17s. On September 7 another was formed, the No. 923 fighter regiment "Yen The". In May 1965, No. 929 bomber squadron (Dai Doi Khong Quan Nem Bom 929) was formed.
The North Vietnamese fighters' first air combat was on April 3, 1965. The Vietnamese claimed the shooting down of one US F-8 Crusader, which was not confirmed by US sources. Therefore, April 3 became the Vietnamese Air Force Day. On April 4 the VPAF scored the first confirmed victories. The US fighter community was shocked when slow, post-Korean era MiG-17 fighters shot down advanced F-105 Thunderchief fighters on a bombing run. From 1965, the Vietnamese were supplied MiG-21s by the USSR. The disappointing performance of US Air Force and US Navy pilots in supposedly advanced aircraft would result in a total revamping of pilot combat training, and the design of an entire generation of aircraft with design optimized for daylight dogfighting against the range of old and emerging MiG fighters. US forces could not completely track the MiGs on radar, and for political reasons were required to visually acquire their targets, nullifiying much of the advantage of radar guided missiles, which often proved unreliable even when used. There were also other many political restrictions placed on when Vietnamese fighters could be attacked. The lopsided win / loss ratio enjoyed by Americans showed over the North Korean forces would not be repeated over Vietnam. The Vietnamese Air Force was primarily defensive, they did not challenge US air supremacy over South Vietnam or their counterparts, the VNAF of the Saigon government, or over US Navy carriers stationed off the coast.
On March 24, 1967 regiments Nos. 921, 923 and 919 were incorporated into the 371st Air Division "Thang Long" (Su Doan Khong Quan 371). In 1969, No. 925 fighter regiment was formed, flying the Shenyang J-6 (the Chinese-built MiG-19). In 1972 the fourth fighter regiment, No. 927 "Lam Son", was formed. In November 1973 there was formed No. 919 transport corps (Lu Doan Khong Quan 371), with aircraft and helicopters.
At the time of the Vietnam War, North Vietnam used the MiG-17F, PF (J-5); MiG-19 (J-6), MiG-21F-13, PF, PFM and MF fighters.
1975-1977 (Reunified Vietnam)
After the end of the Vietnam War (called the American War in Vietnam), in May 1975, more regiments were formed: no. 935 fighter regiment "Dong Nai" and no. 937 fighter-bomber regiment "Hau Giang" (Trung Doan Khong Quan Cuong Kich 937), followed by no. 918 transport regiment "Hong Ha" (Trung Doan Khong Quan Van Tai 918) and no. 917 mixed transport regiment "Dong Thap" in July 1975. In September 1975, the newly created four regiments were formed into the 372nd Air Division (Su Doan Khong Quan 372). In December 1975, the 370th Air Division "Hai Van" was formed, including among others the 925th fighter regiment.
On May 31, 1977, the Vietnam People's Air Force (Khong Quan Nhan Dan Viet Nam) was separated from the Air Defense Force (Phong Khong Viet Nam).