|Royal Australian Air Force|
|Founded||31 March 1921|
|Size||14,313 Active personnel |
5,499 Reserve personnel
|Part of||Australian Defence Force|
|Headquarters||Russell Offices, Canberra|
|Motto(s)|| Latin: Per Ardua ad Astra |
"Through Adversity to the Stars"
|Anniversaries||RAAF Anniversary Commemoration – 31 March|
|Commander-in-Chief||Governor-General David Hurley as representative of Charles III as King of Australia|
|Chief of the Defence Force||General Angus Campbell|
|Chief of the Air Force||Air Marshal Robert Chipman|
|Deputy Chief of the Air Force||Air Vice Marshal Stephen Meredith|
|Air Commander Australia||Air Vice Marshal Joe Iervasi|
|Warrant Officer of the Air Force||Warrant Officer Fiona Grasby|
|EA-18G Growler, E-7A Wedgetail|
|Fighter||F-35A Lightning II, F/A-18F Super Hornet|
|Patrol||AP-3C Orion, P-8A Poseidon|
|Trainer||PC-21, Hawk 127, KA350|
|Transport||C-130J Hercules, C-17A Globemaster III, 737 BBJ, Falcon 7X, KC-30A MRTT, C-27J Spartan|
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is the principal air and space force of Australia, a part of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) along with the Royal Australian Navy and the Australian Army.Constitutionally, the Governor-General of Australia, is the de jure Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Defence Force. The Royal Australian Air Force is commanded by the Chief of Air Force (CAF), who is subordinate to the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF). The CAF is also directly responsible to the Minister for Defence, with the Department of Defence administering the ADF and the Air Force.
Formed in March 1921, as the Australian Air Force, through the separation of the Australian Air Corps from the Army in January 1920, which in turn amalgamated the separate aerial services of both the Army and Navy. It directly continues the traditions of the Australian Flying Corps (AFC), the aviation corps of the Army that fought in the First World War and that was formed on 22 October 1912.
During its history, the Royal Australian Air Force has fought in a number of major wars, including the Second World War in Europe and the Pacific, participated in the Berlin Airlift, Korean War, Malayan Emergency, Indonesia–Malaysia Confrontation, Vietnam War, and more recently in operations in East Timor, the Iraq War and subsequent intervention, and the War in Afghanistan.
It operates the majority of the ADF's fixed wing aircraft, although both the Australian Army and Royal Australian Navy also operate aircraft in various roles.The RAAF provides support across a spectrum of operations such as air superiority, precision strikes, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, air mobility, space surveillance, and humanitarian support. The RAAF has 259 aircraft, of which 110 are combat aircraft.
The RAAF traces its history back to the 1911 Imperial Conference that was held in London, where it was decided aviation should be developed within the armed forces of the British Empire. Australia implemented this decision, the first dominion to do so, by approving the establishment of the "Australian Aviation Corps". This initially consisted of the Central Flying School at Point Cook, Victoria, opening on 22 October 1912.By 1914 the corps was known as the "Australian Flying Corps".
Soon after the outbreak of war in 1914, the Australian Flying Corps sent aircraft to assist in capturing German colonies in what is now north-east New Guinea. However, these colonies surrendered quickly, before the planes were even unpacked. The first operational flights did not occur until 27 May 1915, when the Mesopotamian Half Flight was called upon to assist the Indian Army in providing air support during the Mesopotamian Campaign against the Ottoman Empire, in what is now Iraq.
The corps later saw action in Egypt, Palestine and on the Western Front throughout the remainder of the First World War. By the end of the war, four squadrons—Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4—had seen operational service, while another four training squadrons—Nos. 5, 6, 7 and 8—had also been established. A total of 460 officers and 2,234 other ranks served in the AFC, whilst another 200 men served as aircrew in the British flying services.Casualties included 175 dead, 111 wounded, 6 gassed and 40 captured.
The Australian Flying Corps remained part of the Australian Army until 1919, when it was disbanded along with the First Australian Imperial Force (AIF). Although the Central Flying School continued to operate at Point Cook, military flying virtually ceased until 1920, when the interim Australian Air Corps (AAC), with a wing each for the Army and the Navy,was formed as a unit of the Army. The AAC was succeeded by the Australian Air Force which was formed on 31 March 1921. King George V approved the prefix "Royal" in May 1921 and became effective on 13 August 1921. The RAAF then became the second Royal air arm to be formed in the British Commonwealth, following the British Royal Air Force. When formed the RAAF had more aircraft than personnel, with 21 officers and 128 other ranks and 153 aircraft.
As British aircraft manufacturers at the time were unable to meet Australian requirements, in addition to British production demands, the Australian government established the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation in 1936 and purchased some American aircraft.
In September 1939, the Australian Air Board directly controlled the Air Force via RAAF Station Laverton, RAAF Station Richmond, RAAF Station Pearce, No. 1 Flying Training School RAAF at Point Cook, RAAF Station Rathmines and five smaller units.
In 1939, just after the outbreak of the Second World War, Australia joined the Empire Air Training Scheme, under which flight crews received basic training in Australia before travelling to Canada for advanced training. A total of 17 RAAF bomber, fighter, reconnaissance and other squadrons served initially in Britain and with the Desert Air Force located in North Africa and the Mediterranean. Thousands of Australians also served with other Commonwealth air forces in Europe during the Second World War.About nine percent of the personnel who served under British RAF commands in Europe and the Mediterranean were RAAF personnel.
With British manufacturing targeted by the German Luftwaffe, in 1941 the Australian government created the Department of Aircraft Production (DAP; later known as the Government Aircraft Factories) to supply Commonwealth air forces,and the RAAF was eventually provided with large numbers of locally built versions of British designs such as the DAP Beaufort torpedo bomber, Beaufighters and Mosquitos, as well as other types such as Wirraways, Boomerangs, and Mustangs.
In the European theatre of the war, RAAF personnel were especially notable in RAF Bomber Command: although they represented just two percent of all Australian enlistments during the war, they accounted for almost twenty percent of those killed in action. This statistic is further illustrated by the fact that No. 460 Squadron RAAF, mostly flying Avro Lancasters, had an official establishment of about 200 aircrew and yet had 1,018 combat deaths. The squadron was therefore effectively wiped out five times over.Total RAAF casualties in Europe were 5,488 killed or missing.
The beginning of the Pacific War—and the rapid advance of Japanese forces—threatened the Australian mainland for the first time in its history. The RAAF was quite unprepared for the emergency, and initially had negligible forces available for service in the Pacific. In 1941 and early 1942, many RAAF airmen, including Nos. 1, 8, 21 and 453 Squadrons, saw action with the RAF Far East Command in the Malayan, Singapore and Dutch East Indies campaigns. Equipped with aircraft such as the Brewster Buffalo, and Lockheed Hudsons, the Australian squadrons suffered heavily against Japanese Zeros.
During the fighting for Rabaul in early 1942, No. 24 Squadron RAAF fought a brief, but ultimately futile defence as the Japanese advanced south towards Australia.The devastating air raids on Darwin on 19 February 1942 increased concerns about the direct threat facing Australia. In response, some RAAF squadrons were transferred from the northern hemisphere—although a substantial number remained there until the end of the war. Shortages of fighter and ground attack planes led to the acquisition of US-built Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawks and the rapid design and manufacture of the first Australian fighter, the CAC Boomerang. RAAF Kittyhawks came to play a crucial role in the New Guinea and Solomon Islands campaigns, especially in operations like the Battle of Milne Bay. As a response to a possible Japanese chemical warfare threat the RAAF imported hundreds of thousands of chemical weapons into Australia.
In the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, imported Bristol Beaufighters proved to be highly effective ground attack and maritime strike aircraft. Beaufighters were later made locally by the DAP from 1944.Although it was much bigger than Japanese fighters, the Beaufighter had the speed to outrun them. The RAAF operated a number of Consolidated PBY Catalina as long-range bombers and scouts. The RAAF's heavy bomber force was predominantly made up of 287 B-24 Liberators, equipping seven squadrons, which could bomb Japanese targets as far away as Borneo and the Philippines from airfields in Australia and New Guinea. By late 1945, the RAAF had received or ordered about 500 P-51 Mustangs, for fighter/ground attack purposes. The Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation initially assembled US-made Mustangs, but later manufactured most of those used.
By mid-1945, the RAAF's main operational formation in the Pacific, the First Tactical Air Force (1st TAF), consisted of over 21,000 personnel, while the RAAF as a whole consisted of about 50 squadrons and 6,000 aircraft, of which over 3,000 were operational.The 1st TAF's final campaigns were fought in support of Australian ground forces in Borneo, but had the war continued some of its personnel and equipment would likely have been allocated to the invasion of the Japanese mainland, along with some of the RAAF bomber squadrons in Europe, which were to be grouped together with British and Canadian squadrons as part of the proposed Tiger Force. However, the war was brought to a sudden end by the US nuclear attacks on Japan. The RAAF's casualties in the Pacific were around 2,000 killed, wounded or captured.
By the time the war ended, a total of 216,900 men and women served in the RAAF, of whom 10,562 were killed in action; a total of 76 squadrons were formed.With over 152,000 personnel operating nearly 6,000 aircraft it was the world's fourth-largest air force.
During the Berlin Airlift, in 1948–49, the RAAF Squadron Berlin Air Lift aided the international effort to fly in supplies to the stricken city; two RAF Avro York aircraft were also crewed by RAAF personnel. Although a small part of the operation, the RAAF contribution was significant, flying 2,062 sorties and carrying 7,030 tons of freight and 6,964 passengers.
In the Korean War, from 1950 to 1953, North American Mustangs from No. 77 Squadron RAAF, stationed in Japan with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force, were among the first United Nations aircraft to be deployed, in ground support, combat air patrol, and escort missions. When the UN planes were confronted by North Korean Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 jet fighters, 77 Sqn acquired Gloster Meteors, however the MiGs remained superior and the Meteors were relegated to ground support missions as the North Koreans gained experience. The air force also operated transport aircraft during the conflict. No. 77 Squadron flew 18,872 sorties, claiming the destruction of 3,700 buildings, 1,408 vehicles, 16 bridges, 98 railway carriages and an unknown number of enemy personnel. Three MiG-15s were confirmed destroyed, and two others probably destroyed. RAAF casualties included 41 killed and seven captured; 66 aircraft – 22 Mustangs and 44 Meteors – were lost.
In July 1952, No. 78 Wing RAAF was deployed to Malta in the Mediterranean where it formed part of a British force which sought to counter the Soviet Union's influence in the Middle East as part of Australia's Cold War commitments. Consisting of No. 75 and 76 Squadrons equipped with de Havilland Vampire jet fighters, the wing provided an air garrison for the island for the next two and half years, returning to Australia in late 1954.
In 1953, a Royal Air Force officer, Air Marshal Sir Donald Hardman, was brought out to Australia to become Chief of the Air Staff.He reorganised the RAAF into three commands: Home Command, Maintenance Command, and Training Command. Five years later, Home Command was renamed Operational Command, and Training Command and Maintenance Command were amalgamated to form Support Command.
In the Malayan Emergency, from 1950 to 1960, six Avro Lincolns from No. 1 Squadron RAAF and a flight of Douglas Dakotas from No. 38 Squadron RAAF took part in operations against the communist guerrillas (labelled as "Communist Terrorists" by the British authorities) as part of the RAF Far East Air Force. The Dakotas were used on cargo runs, in troop movement and in paratroop and leaflet drops within Malaya. The Lincolns, operating from bases in Singapore and from Kuala Lumpur, formed the backbone of the air war against the CTs, conducting bombing missions against their jungle bases. Although results were often difficult to assess, they allowed the government to harass CT forces, attack their base camps when identified and keep them on the move. Later, in 1958, Canberra bombers from No. 2 Squadron RAAF were deployed to Malaya and took part in bombing missions against the CTs.
During the Vietnam War, from 1964 to 1972, the RAAF contributed Caribou STOL transport aircraft as part of the RAAF Transport Flight Vietnam, later redesignated No. 35 Squadron RAAF, UH-1 Iroquois helicopters from No. 9 Squadron RAAF, and English Electric Canberra bombers from No. 2 Squadron RAAF. The Canberras flew 11,963 bombing sorties, and two aircraft were lost. One went missing during a bombing raid. The wreckage of the aircraft was recovered in April 2009, and the remains of the crew were found in late July 2009. The other was shot down by a surface-to-air missile, although both crew were rescued. They dropped 76,389 bombs and were credited with 786 enemy personnel confirmed killed and a further 3,390 estimated killed, 8,637 structures, 15,568 bunkers, 1,267 sampans and 74 bridges destroyed.RAAF transport aircraft also supported anti-communist ground forces. The UH-1 helicopters were used in many roles including medical evacuation and close air support. RAAF casualties in Vietnam included six killed in action, eight non-battle fatalities, 30 wounded in action and 30 injured. A small number of RAAF pilots also served in United States Air Force units, flying F-4 Phantom fighter-bombers or serving as forward air controllers.
In September 1975, a group of 44 civilians, including armed supporters of the Timorese Democratic Union (UDT), commandeered an RAAF Caribou, A4-140, on the ground at Baucau Airport in the then Portuguese Timor, which was in the middle of a civil war. The Caribou had landed at Baucau on a humanitarian mission for the International Committee of the Red Cross. The civilians demanded that the RAAF crew members fly them to Darwin Airport (also RAAF Base Darwin) in Australia, which they did. After the Caribou arrived there, the Australian government detained the civilians for a short period, and then granted refugee visas to all of them. The Guardian later described A4-140 as "the only RAAF plane ever hijacked", and the incident as "one of the more remarkable stories in Australia's military and immigration history".
Military airlifts were conducted for a number of purposes in subsequent decades, such as the peacekeeping operations in East Timor from 1999. Australia's combat aircraft were not used again in combat until the Iraq War in 2003, when 14 F/A-18s from No. 75 Squadron RAAF operated in the escort and ground attack roles, flying a total of 350 sorties and dropping 122 laser-guided bombs.A detachment of AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft were deployed in the Middle East between 2003 and 2012. These aircraft conducted maritime surveillance patrols over the Persian Gulf and North Arabian Sea in support of Coalition warships and boarding parties, as well as conducting extensive overland flights of Iraq and Afghanistan on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, and supporting counter-piracy operations in Somalia. From 2007 to 2009, a detachment of No. 114 Mobile Control and Reporting Unit RAAF was on active service at Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan. Approximately 75 personnel deployed with the AN/TPS-77 radar assigned the responsibility to co-ordinate coalition air operations. A detachment of IAI Heron unmanned aerial vehicles has been deployed in Afghanistan since January 2010.
In late September 2014, an Air Task Group consisting of up to eight F/A-18F Super Hornets, a KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport, an E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning & Control aircraft and 400 personnel was deployed to Al Minhad Air Base in the United Arab Emirates as part of the coalition to combat Islamic State forces in Iraq.Operations began on 1 October. A number of C-17 and C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft based in the Middle East have also been used to conduct airdrops of humanitarian aid and to airlift arms and munitions since August.
In June 2017, two RAAF AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft were deployed to the southern Philippines in response to the Marawi crisis.
In 2021, the Royal Australian Air Force commemorated its 100th anniversary.Later that year, on 29 November, the Hornet was officially retired from RAAF service, with a ceremony to mark the occasion taking place that day at RAAF Base Williamtown.
In January 2022, two RAAF P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft and one C-130J Hercules departed RAAF Amberley and Richmond to conduct aerial reconnaissance of Tonga in the wake of the 2022 Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha'apai eruption and tsunami. According to Australian Defence News, the flights were to “help determine the extent of the damage [to Tongan infrastructure]… and inform future disaster support requests.”
|List of flying squadrons|
|No. 1 Squadron – Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet (Multi-Role Fighter)|
|No. 2 Squadron – Boeing E-7A Wedgetail (AEW&C)|
|No. 3 Squadron – Lockheed-Martin F-35A Lightning (Multi-Role Fighter)|
|No. 4 Squadron – Pilatus PC-21 (JTAC Training)|
|No. 6 Squadron – Boeing E/A-18G Growler (Electronic Warfare)|
|No. 10 Squadron – Lockheed AP-3C Orion (Maritime Patrol)|
|No. 11 Squadron – Boeing P-8 Poseidon (Maritime Patrol)|
|No. 32 Squadron – Beechcraft King Air 350 (School of Air Warfare Support)|
|No. 33 Squadron – Airbus KC-30A MRTT (Air Refuelling/Transport)|
|No. 34 Squadron – Boeing 737 BBJ, Dassault Falcon 7X (VIP Transport)|
|No. 35 Squadron – Alenia C-27J Spartan (Transport)|
|No. 36 Squadron – Boeing C-17A Globemaster III (Transport)|
|No. 37 Squadron – Lockheed C-130J-30 Super Hercules (Transport)|
|No. 75 Squadron – Lockheed-Martin F-35A Lightning (Multi-Role Fighter)|
|No. 76 Squadron – BAE Systems Hawk 127 (Lead-in Fighter Training/ADF Support)|
|No. 77 Squadron – Lockheed-Martin F-35A Lightning (Multi-Role Fighter)|
|No. 79 Squadron – BAE Systems Hawk 127 (Hawk Conversion/ADF Support)|
|No. 100 Squadron – Heritage aircraft|
|No. 292 Squadron – Lockheed AP-3C Orion (AP-3C Conversion)|
|CFS – Pacific Aerospace CT4B, Pilatus PC-21 (Flying Instructor Training),|
|ADFBFTS – Pacific Aerospace CT4B (Basic Tri-Service Flying Training)|
|No. 2 FTS – Pilatus PC-21 (Advanced RAAF and RAN Flying Training),|
|No. 2 OCU – Lockheed-Martin F-35A Lightning (Multi-Role Fighter)|
|ARDU – Various Aircraft Types (Flight Testing)|
|List of non-flying squadrons|
|No. 1 SECFOR SQN – Airbase Force Protection|
|No. 1 EHS – Health Operations|
|No. 1 CCS – Combat Communications|
|No. 1 RSU – Wide Area Surveillance|
|No. 1 RTU – Airman Ab Initio Training|
|No. 2 SECFOR SQN – Airbase Force Protection|
|No. 2 EHS – Health Operations|
|No. 3 EHS – Health Operations|
|No. 3 CRU – Surveillance and Air Battle Management|
|No. 3 SECFOR SQN – Airbase Force Protection|
|No. 4 EHS – Health Operations|
|No. 13 Squadron – RAAF Darwin Airbase Operations|
|No. 17 Squadron – RAAF Tindal Airbase Operations|
|No. 19 Squadron – RMAF Butterworth Airbase Operations|
|No. 20 Squadron – RAAF Woomera Airbase Operations|
|No. 21 Squadron – RAAF Williams Airbase Operations|
|No. 22 Squadron – RAAF Richmond Airbase Operations|
|No. 23 Squadron – RAAF Amberley Airbase Operations|
|No. 24 Squadron – RAAF Edinburgh Airbase Operations|
|No. 25 Squadron – RAAF Pearce Airbase Operations|
|No. 26 Squadron – RAAF Williamtown Airbase Operations|
|No. 27 Squadron – RAAF Townsville Airbase Operations|
|No. 28 Squadron – Administrative Support Operations|
|No. 29 Squadron – Administrative Support Operations|
|No. 30 Squadron – RAAF East Sale Airbase Operations|
|No. 31 Squadron – RAAF Wagga Airbase Operations|
|No. 65 Squadron – Airfield Engineering and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD)|
|No. 87 Squadron – Intelligence Operations|
|No. 114 MCRU – Deployable Surveillance, Air Battle Management and Air Traffic Control|
|No. 278 Squadron – Operational Training|
|No. 381 SQN – Contingency Response Squadron|
|No. 382 SQN – Contingency Response Squadron|
|No. 452 Squadron – Air Traffic Control|
|No. 453 Squadron – Air Traffic Control|
|No. 460 Squadron – Intelligence Operations|
|No. 462 Squadron – Information Warfare Operations|
|ASCENG SQN – Aircraft/Stores Compatibility Engineering Development|
|AMTDU – Air Movements Training and Development|
|ASES – Aircraft Systems Engineering Development|
|CSTS – Combat Survival Training|
|RAAF AIS – Aeronautical Information|
|RAAF BAND – RAAF Ceremonial Band|
|DEOTS – Explosive Ordnance Training|
|AVMED – Aviation Medicine Research and Development|
|JEWOSU – Electronic Warfare Operations and Development|
|OTS – Officer Ab Initio Training|
|RAAF Museum – Royal Australian Air Force Museum|
|RAAF SFS – Security and Fire Training|
|SAW – Air Combat Officer and Observer Training|
|RAAFSALT – Administrative and Logistics Training|
|RAAFSATC – Air Traffic Control Training|
|RAAFSPS – Officer and Airman Post Graduate Professional Training|
|RAAFSTT – Air Technical Training|
|SACTU – Air Defence Training|
|Woomera Test Facility – Augmented Testing Range|
|List of current wings|
|No. 41 Wing (Surveillance & Air Battle Management)|
|No. 42 Wing (AEW&C)|
|No. 44 Wing (ATC)|
|No. 78 Wing (Lead-in Fighter Training)|
|No. 81 Wing (Multi-Role Fighter)|
|No. 82 Wing (Multi-Role Fighter)|
|No. 84 Wing (Airlift & VIP transport)|
|No. 86 Wing (Airlift & AAR)|
|No. 92 Wing (Maritime Patrol)|
|No. 95 Wing (Expeditionary Combat Support)|
|No. 96 Wing (Fixed Base Combat Support)|
|Air Mobility Control Centre – central combat airlift tasking control centre|
|AirA – Air Academy – Aviation Training (Pilots, Air Traffic Control etc.)|
|GA – Ground Academy – Ab initio, ground technical and non-technical training, career development, promotion and leadership training|
|DTWG – Aerospace Systems Development|
|CSCC – Combat Support Coordination|
|HSW – Health Operations|
|IWD – Information Warfare and Intelligence|
As of June 2018, the RAAF had 14,313 permanent full-time personnel and 5,499 part-time active reserve personnel.
The RAAF established the Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF) in March 1941, which then became the Women's Royal Australian Air Force (WRAAF) in 1951.The service merged with the RAAF in 1977; however, all women in the Australian military were barred from combat-related roles until 1990. Women have been eligible for flying roles in the RAAF since 1987, with the RAAF's first women pilots awarded their "wings" in 1988. In 2016, the remaining restrictions on women in frontline combat roles were removed, and the first two female RAAF fast jet fighter pilots graduated in December 2017. Air Force has implemented several programs to assist women who choose a pilot career. Entry to the Graduate Pilot Scheme is open to women who are currently undertaking a Bachelor of Aviation (BAv). Once qualified, women pilots are able to access the Flying Females Mentoring Network. Men and women are required to undergo the same basic fitness tests to become a pilot; however the standards are lower for females. For some roles, the requirement cannot be adjusted for safety reasons.
The rank structure of the nascent RAAF was established to ensure that the service remained separate from the Army and Navy.The service's predecessors, the AFC and the AAC, had used the Army's rank structure. In November 1920 it was decided by the Air Board that the RAAF would adopt the structure adopted by the RAF the previous year. As a result, the RAAF's rank structure came to be: Aircraftman, Leading Aircraftman, Corporal, Sergeant, Flight Sergeant, Warrant Officer, Officer Cadet, Pilot Officer, Flying Officer, Flight Lieutenant, Squadron Leader, Wing Commander, Group Captain, Air Commodore, Air Vice-Marshal, Air Marshal, Air Chief Marshal, Marshal of the RAAF.
|Rank Grouping||General/Flag Officers||Field/Senior Officers||Junior Officers||Officer Cadet|
|Australia Officer rank insignia|
|Rank Title:||Marshal of the RAAF||Air Chief Marshal||Air Marshal||Air Vice Marshal||Air Commodore||Group Captain||Wing Commander||Squadron Leader||Flight Lieutenant||Flying Officer||Pilot Officer||Officer Cadet|
|Rank Group||Non-commissioned officer||Other ranks|
|Australia Other Ranks Insignia||No insignia|
|Rank Title:||Warrant Officer of the Air Force||Warrant Officer||Flight Sergeant||Sergeant||Corporal||Leading Aircraftman||Aircraftman||Recruit|
In 1922, the colour of the RAAF winter uniform was determined by Air Marshal Sir Richard Williams on a visit to the Geelong Wool Mill. He asked for one dye dip fewer than the RAN blue (three indigo dips rather than four). There was a change to a lighter blue when an all-seasons uniform was introduced in the 1970s. The original colour and style were re-adopted around 2005.Slip-on rank epaulettes, known as "Soft Rank Insignia" (SRI), displaying the word "AUSTRALIA" are worn on the shoulders of the service dress uniform. When not in the service dress or "ceremonial" uniform, RAAF personnel wear the General Purpose Uniform (GPU) as a working dress, which is a blue version of the Australian Multicam Pattern.
|F/A-18F Super Hornet||United States||multirole||F/A-18F||24|
|F-35A Lightning II||United States||multirole||F-35A||54||18 on order|
|E-7A Wedgetail||United States||AEW&C||E-7A||6|
|EA-18G Growler||United States||radar jamming / SEAD||11||1 on order|
|MC-55A Peregrine||United States||SIGINT / ELINT||MC-55A||4 on order|
|AP-3C Orion||United States||ASW / maritime patrol||AP-3C||2|
|P-8A Poseidon||United States||ASW / maritime patrol||P-8A||12||2 on order|
|KC-30 Multi-Role Tanker Transport||Spain||aerial refuelling / transport||KC-30A||7|
|C-17A Globemaster III||United States||strategic airlifter||C-17A||8|
|C-27J Spartan||Italy||utility transport||10|
|C-130J Super Hercules||United States||tactical airlifter||C-130J-30||12||The US State Department has approved the possible sale of 24 C-130J Super Hercules worth up to $6.35 billion to the Australian Air Force.|
|Beechcraft Super King Air||United States||utility / transport||350||8||3 used for ISTAR mission|
|Boeing 737||United States||VIP transport||2|
|Dassault Falcon 7X||France||VIP transport||3|
|BAE Hawk||United Kingdom||primary trainer||Hawk 127||33|
|Beechcraft Super King Air||United States||multi-engine trainer||350||4|
|MQ-4 Triton||United States||HALE maritime ISR||MQ-4C||1||6 on order|
|MQ-28 Ghost Bat||Australia||AI UCAV||6 on order|
|ASRAAM||United Kingdom||IR guided missile||200 units|
|AIM-120 AMRAAM||United States||beyond-visual-range missile||360 units|
|AIM-9 Sidewinder||United States||IR guided missile||1297 units of which 47 are AIM-9X|
|AGM-88 HARM||United States||anti-radiation missile|
|AGM-154||United States||joint standoff weapon||50 units|
|AGM-158||United States||260 units Will be integrated onboard F/A-18F|
|JDAM||United States||precision-guided munition||100 units|
|GBU-15||United States||precision-guided munition||100 units|
|GBU-10 Paveway II||United States||laser-guided bomb||100 units|
|AGM-158C LRASM.||United States.||Stealthy long range anti ship missile.|
|Naval Strike Missile.||Norway.|
|Mark 54 torpedo||United States||anti-sub weapon||250|
|AGM-84 Harpoon||United States||305|
Originally, the air force used the red, white and blue roundel of the RAF. However, during the Second World War the inner red circle, which was visually similar to the Japanese hinomaru, was removed after a No. 11 Squadron Catalina was mistaken for a Japanese aircraft and attacked by a Grumman Wildcat of VMF-212 of the United States Marine Corps on 27 June 1942.After the war, a range of options for the RAAF roundel was proposed, including the Southern Cross, a boomerang, a sprig of wattle, and a red kangaroo. On 2 July 1956, the current version of the roundel was formally adopted. This consists of a white inner circle with a red kangaroo surrounded by a royal blue circle. The kangaroo faces left, except when used on aircraft or vehicles, when the kangaroo should always face forward. Low visibility versions of the roundel exist, with the white omitted and the red and blue replaced with light or dark grey.
The RAAF badge was accepted by the Chester Herald in 1939. The badge is composed of the St Edward's Crown mounted on a circle featuring the words Royal Australian Air Force, beneath which scroll work displays the Latin motto Per Ardua Ad Astra , which it shares with the Royal Air Force. Surmounting the badge is a wedge-tailed eagle. Per Ardua Ad Astra is attributed with the meaning "Through Adversity to the Stars" and is from Sir Henry Rider Haggard's novel The People of the Mist .
The "Eagles of Australia" is the official march of the RAAF and is played as a quick march when the RAAF bands perform public duties in the capital. Composed by the RAAF's Director of Music, Squadron Leader Ron Mitchell (who was also director of the Air Force Band), it was officially adopted as the RAAF's new march music on 23 March 1983, replacing the Royal Air Force March Past, which had long been the RAAF's march as well as the marchpast of other Commonwealth air forces. Subsequently, journalist Frank Cranston wrote lyrics to the march and a musical score was produced by September of the following year.
The Roulettes are the RAAF's formation aerobatic display team. They perform around Australia and South-east Asia, and are part of the RAAF Central Flying School (CFS) at RAAF Base East Sale, Victoria.The Roulettes use the Pilatus PC-21 and formations for shows are done in a group of six aircraft. The pilots learn many formations including loops, rolls, corkscrews, and ripple roles. Most of the performances are done at the low altitude of 500 feet (150 metres).
This list includes aircraft on order or a requirement which has been identified:
No. 75 Squadron is a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) fighter unit based at RAAF Base Tindal in the Northern Territory. The squadron was formed in 1942 and saw extensive action in the South West Pacific theatre of World War II, operating P-40 Kittyhawks. It was disbanded in 1948, but reformed the following year and operated jet aircraft throughout the Cold War. The squadron was based at Malta from 1952 to 1954, flying de Havilland Vampires, and Malaysia from 1968 to 1983, with Dassault Mirage IIIs, before returning to Australia.
No. 1 Squadron is a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) squadron headquartered at RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland. Controlled by No. 82 Wing, it is equipped with Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet multi-role fighters. The squadron was formed under the Australian Flying Corps in 1916 and saw action in the Sinai and Palestine Campaigns during World War I. It flew obsolete Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2s, B.E.12s, Martinsyde G.100s and G.102s, as well as Airco DH.6s, Bristol Scouts and Nieuport 17s, before re-equipping with the R.E.8 in October 1917 and finally the Bristol Fighter in December. Its commanding officer in 1917–18 was Major Richard Williams, later known as the "Father of the RAAF". Disbanded in 1919, No. 1 Squadron was re-formed on paper as part of the RAAF in 1922, and re-established as an operational unit three years later.
No. 3 Squadron is a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) fighter squadron, headquartered at RAAF Base Williamtown, near Newcastle, New South Wales. Established in 1916, it was one of four combat squadrons of the Australian Flying Corps during World War I, and operated on the Western Front in France before being disbanded in 1919. It was re-raised as a permanent squadron of the RAAF in 1925, and during World War II operated in the Mediterranean Theatre. The Cold War years saw the squadron disbanded and re-raised twice. It was based at RAAF Butterworth during the Malayan Emergency and the Indonesia–Malaysia Konfrontasi. Equipped with McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet multi-role fighters from 1986, the squadron deployed to Diego Garcia in 2002 to provide local air defence, and the following year contributed aircraft and crews to the invasion of Iraq as part of Operation Falconer. In April 2016, it deployed to the Middle East as part of the military intervention against ISIL.
No. 77 Squadron is a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) squadron headquartered at RAAF Base Williamtown, New South Wales. It is controlled by No. 81 Wing, and equipped with Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II multi-role fighters. The squadron was formed at RAAF Station Pearce, Western Australia, in March 1942 and saw action in the South West Pacific theatre of World War II, operating Curtis P-40 Kittyhawks. After the war, it re-equipped with North American P-51 Mustangs and deployed to Japan as part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force. The squadron was about to return to Australia when the Korean War broke out in June 1950, after which it joined United Nations forces supporting South Korea. It converted from Mustangs to Gloster Meteor jets between April and July 1951 and remained in Korea until October 1954, claiming five MiG-15s and over five thousand buildings and vehicles destroyed during the war for the loss of almost sixty aircraft, mainly to ground fire.
No. 2 Squadron is a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) squadron that operates from RAAF Base Williamtown, near Newcastle, New South Wales. From its formation in 1916 as part of the Australian Flying Corps, it has flown a variety of aircraft types including fighters, bombers, and Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C). During World War I, the squadron operated on the Western Front conducting fighter sweeps and ground-attack missions. It was disbanded in mid-1919, following the end of hostilities. The squadron was briefly re-raised in 1922 as part of the newly independent RAAF, but was disbanded after only a couple of months and not reformed until 1937. It saw action as a bomber unit in the South West Pacific theatre of World War II and, equipped with English Electric Canberra jets, in the Malayan Emergency and the Vietnam War. The squadron was again disbanded in 1982, following the retirement of the Canberra. It was re-formed in 2000 to operate the Boeing 737 AEW&C "Wedgetail". One of the six Boeing 737s was deployed to the Middle East in September 2014, as part of Australia's contribution to the military coalition against ISIS.
No. 6 Squadron is a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) training and bomber squadron. It was formed in 1917 and served as a training unit based in England during World War I. The squadron was disbanded in 1919 but re-formed at the start of 1939. It subsequently saw combat as a light bomber and maritime patrol squadron during World War II, and took part in the New Guinea Campaign and New Britain Campaign before being disbanded after the war.
No. 79 Squadron is a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) flight training unit that has been formed on four occasions since 1943. The squadron was established in May 1943 as a fighter unit equipped with Supermarine Spitfires, and subsequently saw combat in the South West Pacific theatre of World War II. Between June 1943 and the end of the war in August 1945 it flew air defence patrols to protect Allied bases and ships, escorted Australian and United States aircraft, and attacked Japanese positions. The squadron was disbanded in November 1945, but was re-formed between 1962 and 1968 to operate CAC Sabres from Ubon Air Base in Thailand. In this role it contributed to the defence of Thailand against a feared attack from its neighbouring states and exercised with United States Air Force units. No. 79 Squadron was active again at RAAF Base Butterworth in Malaysia between 1986 and 1988 where it operated Mirage III fighters and a single DHC-4 Caribou transport during the period in which the RAAF's fighter squadrons were transitioning to new aircraft.
No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit is a fighter training unit of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Located at RAAF Base Williamtown, New South Wales, the unit trains pilots to operate the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. Pilots new to the F-35 enter No. 2 2OCU after first qualifying to fly fast jets at No. 79 Squadron and undertaking initial fighter combat instruction at No. 76 Squadron. Once qualified on the F-35, they are posted to one of No. 81 Wing's operational Hornet units, No. 3 Squadron, No. 75 Squadron or No. 77 Squadron.
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) traces its history back to the Imperial Conference held in London in 1911, where it was decided aviation should be developed within the Armed Forces of the British Empire. Australia implemented this decision, the only country to do so, by approving the establishment of the Central Flying School (CFS) in 1912. The location for the proposed school was initially to be at Duntroon, Australian Capital Territory, but in July 1913 Point Cook, Victoria, was announced as the preferred location. The first flights by CFS aircraft took place there in March 1914.
No. 4 Squadron is a Royal Australian Air Force squadron composed of the air force special forces Combat Controllers, aircrew who operate the Pilatus PC-21 aircraft and instructors for the Australian Defence Force Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) course.
No. 33 Squadron is a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) strategic transport and air-to-air refuelling squadron. It operates Airbus KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transports from RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland. The squadron was formed in February 1942 for service during World War II, operating Short Empire flying boats and a variety of smaller aircraft. By 1944 it had completely re-equipped with Douglas C-47 Dakota transports, which it flew in New Guinea prior to disbanding in May 1946.
No. 24 Squadron is a Royal Australian Air Force squadron. The squadron was formed in 1940 and saw action as a bomber squadron during World War II serving in the Pacific theatre against the Japanese, and undertaking operations during the Battle of Rabaul, and the New Guinea, New Britain and Borneo campaigns. The squadron was disbanded in 1946 following the conclusion of hostilities, but was re-formed in 1951. From then until 2010 the squadron was an RAAF Reserve squadron located near Adelaide, South Australia; for part of this time, until 1960, the squadron continued to perform flying duties, before converting to a ground support role. In 2010, the squadron combined with Combat Support Unit Edinburgh to become a Permanent Air Force unit and it currently forms part of No. 96 Wing, Combat Support Group.
No. 60 Squadron was a Royal Australian Air Force fighter squadron of World War II. It was formed in January 1942 and disbanded three months later, without seeing combat.
The Royal Australian Air Force's Air Combat Group (ACG) is the group which administers the RAAF's fighter and bomber aircraft. ACG was formed on 7 February 2002 by merging the RAAF's Tactical Fighter Group and Strike Reconnaissance Group in an attempt to improve the speed with which the RAAF can deploy its combat aircraft.
No. 78 Wing is a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) operational training wing, headquartered at RAAF Base Williamtown, New South Wales. It comprises Nos. 76 and 79 Squadrons, operating the BAE Hawk 127 lead-in fighter, and No. 278 Squadron, a technical training unit. No. 79 Squadron, located at RAAF Base Pearce, Western Australia, is responsible for converting new pilots to fast jets, while No. 76 Squadron at Williamtown conducts introductory fighter courses; both units also fly support missions for the Royal Australian Navy and the Australian Army.
No. 81 Wing is responsible for operating the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II multi-role fighters of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Headquartered at RAAF Base Williamtown, New South Wales, the wing comprises three combat units, Nos. 3 and 77 Squadrons based at Williamtown and No. 75 Squadron at RAAF Base Tindal, Northern Territory, as well as an operational conversion unit at Williamtown. No. 81 Wing headquarters oversees squadron training in air-to-air and air-to-ground tactics, and support for the Australian Army and Royal Australian Navy. Tasked with offensive and defensive counter-air operations, the Hornets have been deployed to Diego Garcia in 2001–02, when they provided local air defence, to Iraq in 2003, when they saw action flying fighter escort and close air support missions in concert with Coalition forces, and to the Middle East in 2015–16, when they undertook strike operations during the military intervention against ISIL. They have also been employed to patrol high-profile events in Australia, including the Commonwealth Games and visits by foreign dignitaries.
No. 23 Squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is a non-flying base operations and training squadron headquartered at RAAF Base Amberley near Brisbane, Queensland. The squadron was formed in 1937 and saw action against the Japanese during World War II as a bomber squadron. Operating from Archerfield during the early stages of the war, the squadron undertook maritime patrols off Australia's east coast before converting to a dive-bomber role and taking part in the New Guinea campaign. Later in the war, the squadron converted to Liberator heavy bombers and flew missions against Japanese targets in the Netherlands East Indies. After the war, No. 23 Squadron was used to reform No. 6 Squadron and was then re-raised as a Citizens Air Force unit based in Brisbane. Until 1960, the squadron flew jet fighter aircraft before converting to a ground support role and now forms part of the RAAF's Combat Support Group.
No. 35 Squadron is a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) transport unit. Formed in 1942, No. 35 Squadron operated during World War II, transporting cargo and passengers around Australia, New Guinea and the Netherlands East Indies, equipped with a variety of aircraft including the Douglas Dakota. It was disbanded after the war, but was re-raised in the 1960s for service during the Vietnam War, flying transportation and resupply operations with DHC-4 Caribous in support of Australian and US forces. The squadron was subsequently augmented with rotary-wing aircraft, operating UH-1 Iroquois in both the transportation and gunship roles. In the late 1980s, the squadron returned to a solely fixed-wing transport role. It ceased operations in 2000, but was re-raised in January 2013. It began re-equipping with C-27 Spartan transports in 2015.
No. 463 Squadron RAAF was a Royal Australian Air Force heavy bomber squadron during World War II. The squadron was formed in the United Kingdom in late 1943 from personnel and aircraft allocated from No. 467 Squadron RAAF. The squadron was equipped with Avro Lancaster bombers and flew its first raids on Germany immediately after being formed. Operating as part of RAF Bomber Command No. 463 Squadron conducted raids against cities, industrial facilities and military targets in Germany, France and Norway throughout 1944 and until the end of the war in May 1945. Following the war, the squadron evacuated Allied prisoners of war from Europe until it was disbanded in late 1945.
Operation Okra is the Australian Defence Force (ADF) contribution to the military intervention against the Islamic State. The force is part of Joint Task Force 633 in the Middle East. The operation commenced on 31 August 2014, and its initial stated aim was to combat ISIL threats in Iraq. In September 2015, the Australian airstrikes were extended to Syria. In June 2017, flights in Syria were temporarily halted in response to American forces shooting down a Syrian Air Force jet, before later being resumed.
The opposition ridiculed Julia Gillard's move to find savings through deferrals of spending, including a two-year postponement of the purchase of new Joint Strike Fighters, as a fresh attempt to "cook the books" and a "death gurgle from a dying government" that was feigning economic responsibility while retaining an addiction to spending. The Prime Minister and Defence Minister Stephen Smith confirmed they would delay the purchase of 12 multi-role Joint Strike Fighters for the RAAF by two years, which would save $1.6bn in the short term.
reprinted with corrections May 2014