Royal Canadian Air Force

Last updated
Royal Canadian Air Force
French: Aviation royale canadienne
Royal Canadian Air Force Badge.svg
Founded1 April 1924;97 years ago (1924-04-01)
CountryFlag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada
Type Air force
Role Aerial warfare
Size391 operational aircraft
Personnel:
 Regular Force 14,500 Regular force members
 Reserve Force: 2,600 Reserve force members
 Civilian members: 2,500 civilian members [1]
Part of Canadian Armed Forces
Headquarters National Defence Headquarters, Ottawa, Ontario
Motto(s) Latin: Sic Itur ad Astra
"Such is the pathway to the stars" [2]
Latin: Per Ardua ad Astra
"Through Adversity to the Stars" (1924–1968)
March RCAF March Past
Anniversaries Armed Forces Day (first Sunday of June)
Engagements
Website www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
Commanders
Commander-in-Chief Elizabeth II , Queen of Canada,
represented by Richard Wagner, Administrator of Canada (acting)
Commander of the Air Force Lieutenant-General Al Meinzinger
Insignia
Roundel Roundel of Canada.svg Roundel of Canada - Low Visibility.svg
Fin flash Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Fin Flash of Canada - Low Visibility.svg
Ensign Air Force Ensign of Canada.svg
Aircraft flown
Fighter CF-18 Hornet
Helicopter CH-139 JetRanger, CH-146 Griffon, CH-147 Chinook, CH-148 Cyclone, CH-149 Cormorant
Patrol CP-140 Aurora, CP-140A Arcturus
Reconnaissance CU-170 Heron
Trainer CT-114 Tutor, CT-142 Dash-8, CT-155 Hawk, CT-156 Harvard II
Transport CC-115 Buffalo, CC-130H Hercules, CC-130J Super Hercules, CC-138 Twin Otter, CC-144 Challenger, CC-150 Polaris, CC-177 Globemaster III, CC-295 Kingfisher

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF; French : Aviation royale canadienne, ARC) is the air force of Canada. Its role is to "provide the Canadian Forces with relevant, responsive and effective airpower". [3] The RCAF is one of three environmental commands within the unified Canadian Armed Forces. As of 2013, the Royal Canadian Air Force consists of 14,500 Regular Force and 2,600 Primary Reserve personnel, supported by 2,500 civilians, and operates 258 manned aircraft and 9 unmanned aerial vehicles. [1] [4] Lieutenant-General Al Meinzinger is the current commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force and chief of the Air Force Staff. [5]

Contents

The Royal Canadian Air Force is responsible for all aircraft operations of the Canadian Forces, enforcing the security of Canada's airspace and providing aircraft to support the missions of the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Army. The RCAF is a partner with the United States Air Force in protecting continental airspace under the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). The RCAF also provides all primary air resources to and is responsible for the National Search and Rescue Program.

The RCAF traces its history to the Canadian Air Force, which was formed in 1920. The Canadian Air Force was granted royal sanction in 1924 by King George V to form the Royal Canadian Air Force. In 1968, the RCAF was amalgamated with the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Army, as part of the unification of the Canadian Forces. Air units were split between several different commands: Air Defence Command (ADC; interceptors), Air Transport Command (ATC; airlift, search and rescue), Mobile Command (tactical fighters, helicopters), Maritime Command (anti-submarine warfare, maritime patrol), as well as Training Command (TC).

In 1975, some commands were dissolved (ADC, ATC, TC), and all air units were placed under a new environmental command called simply Air Command (AIRCOM; French: Commandement aérien). Air Command reverted to its historic name of "Royal Canadian Air Force" in August 2011. [6] The Royal Canadian Air Force has served in the Second World War, the Korean War, the Persian Gulf War, as well as several United Nations peacekeeping missions and NATO operations. As a NATO member, the force maintained a presence in Europe during the second half of the 20th century.

History

1920–1945: Pre-unification

The Canadian Air Force (CAF) was established in 1920 as the successor to a short-lived two-squadron Canadian Air Force that was formed during the First World War in Europe. Wing Commander John Scott Williams was tasked in 1921 with organizing the CAF, handing command over later the same year to Air Marshal Lindsay Gordon. [7] The new Canadian Air Force was a branch of the Air Board and was chiefly a training militia that provided refresher training to veteran pilots. [8] [9] Many CAF members also worked with the Air Board's Civil Operations Branch on operations that included forestry, surveying and anti-smuggling patrols. [10] In 1923, the CAF became responsible for all flying operations in Canada, including civil aviation. In 1924, the Canadian Air Force, was granted the royal title, becoming the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). Most of its work was civil in nature; however, in the late 1920s the RCAF evolved into more of a military organization. After budget cuts in the early 1930s, the air force began to rebuild.

Two armourers of No 440 Squadron RCAF re-arming a Hawker Typhoon in the Netherlands, 1944 RCAF Typhoon Holland 1944 IWM CL 1598.jpg
Two armourers of No 440 Squadron RCAF re-arming a Hawker Typhoon in the Netherlands, 1944

World War II

During the Second World War, the RCAF was a major contributor to the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan and was involved in operations in Great Britain, Europe, the north Atlantic, North Africa, southern Asia, and with home defence. By the end of the war, the RCAF had become the fourth largest allied air force. [11] During WWII the Royal Canadian Air Force was headquartered in 20-23 Lincolns Inn Fields, London. A commemorative plaque can be found on the outside of the building.

1945–1968

After the war, the RCAF reduced its strength. Because of the rising Soviet threat to the security of Europe, Canada joined NATO in 1949, and the RCAF established No. 1 Air Division RCAF consisting of four wings with three fighter squadrons each, based in France and West Germany. In 1950, the RCAF became involved with the transport of troops and supplies to the Korean War; however, it did not provide RCAF combat units. Members of the RCAF served in USAF units as exchange officers and several flew in combat. Both auxiliary and regular air defence squadrons were run by Air Defence Command. At the same time, the Pinetree Line, the Mid-Canada Line and the DEW Line radar stations, largely operated by the RCAF, were built across Canada because of the growing Soviet nuclear threat. In 1957, Canada and the United States created the joint North American Air Defense Command (NORAD). Coastal defence and peacekeeping also became priorities during the 1950s and 1960s.

1968–present: Unification

In 1968, the Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Canadian Air Force and Canadian Army were amalgamated to form the unified Canadian Forces. This initiative was overseen by then Liberal Defence Minister, Paul Hellyer. The controversial merger maintained several existing organizations and created some new ones: In Europe, No. 1 Air Division, operated Canadair CF-104 Starfighter nuclear strike/attack and reconnaissance under NATO's 4 ATAF; Air Defence Command: operated McDonnell CF-101 Voodoo interceptors, CIM-10 Bomarc missiles and the SAGE radar system within NORAD; Air Transport Command: provided strategic airlift for the NATO and UN Peacekeeping missions; and Training Command. Aviation assets of the Royal Canadian Navy were combined with the RCAF Canadair CP-107 Argus long-range patrol aircraft under Maritime Command. In 1975, the different commands, and the scattered aviation assets, were consolidated under Air Command (AIRCOM).

An RCAF CIM-10 Bomarc missile on a launch erecter in North Bay. Viewed as an alternative to the scrapped Avro Arrow, the Bomarc's adoption was controversial given its nuclear payload. Bomarc on launch erector.jpg
An RCAF CIM-10 Bomarc missile on a launch erecter in North Bay. Viewed as an alternative to the scrapped Avro Arrow, the Bomarc's adoption was controversial given its nuclear payload.

On 9 November 1984, Canada Post issued "Air Force" as part of the Canadian Forces series. The stamps were designed by Ralph Tibbles, based on an illustration by William Southern. The 32¢ stamps are perforated 12 x 12.5 and were printed by Ashton-Potter Limited. [12] In the early 1990s, Canada provided a detachment of CF-18 Hornets for the air defence mission in Operation Desert Shield. The force performed combat air patrols over operations in Kuwait and Iraq, undertook a number of air-to-ground bombing missions, and, on one occasion, attacked an Iraqi patrol boat in the Persian Gulf.

In the late 1990s, Air Command's CF-18 Hornets took part in the Operation Allied Force in Yugoslavia, and in the 2000s, AIRCOM was heavily involved in the Afghanistan War, transporting troops and assets to Kandahar. Later in the decade-long war, AIRCOM set up a purpose-specific air wing, Joint Task Force Afghanistan Air Wing, equipped with several CH-146 Griffon and CH-147 Chinook helicopters, CC-130 Hercules, CU-161 Sperwer and leased CU-170 Heron UAVs in support of the Canadian Forces and ISAF mission. The wing stood down on 18 August 2011.

From 18 March to 1 November 2011, the RCAF was engaged in Operation Mobile, Canada's contribution to Operation Unified Protector in Libya. Seven CF-18 Hornet fighter aircraft and several other aircraft served under Task Force Libeccio as part of the military intervention.

An RCAF CF-18 Hornet during Operation Impact, 2015. CF-18s have been used by the RCAF since 1983. Operation Inherent Resolve 150304-F-MG591-123.jpg
An RCAF CF-18 Hornet during Operation Impact, 2015. CF-18s have been used by the RCAF since 1983.

On 16 August 2011, the Government of Canada announced that the name "Air Command" was being changed to the air force's original historic name: Royal Canadian Air Force (along with the change of name of Maritime Command to Royal Canadian Navy and Land Force Command to Canadian Army). The change was made to better reflect Canada's military heritage and align Canada with other key Commonwealth countries whose military units use the royal designation. [13] The RCAF adopted a new badge in 2013, which is similar to the pre-unification RCAF badge (although placed in the modern frame used for command badges). The Latin motto of Air Command – Sic itur ad astra – which was the motto of the Canadian Air Force when first formed after the First World War (before it became the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1924) was retained. Though traditional insignia for the RCAF was restored in 2015, there has been no restoration of the traditional uniforms or rank structure of the historical service (apart from a rank of "Aviator", which replaced that of "Private" in 2015). [14]

On 17 April 2014, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that Canada was dispatching six CF-18s and military personnel to assist NATO in operations in Eastern Europe. [15]

Aircraft

The Royal Canadian Air Force has about 391 aircraft in service, making it the sixth-largest air force in the Americas, after the United States Air Force, United States Navy, United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and Brazilian Air Force.

Fixed-wing

An RCAF CC-150 Polaris refueling two CF-18 Hornets near CFB Borden CC-150 Polaris tanker refueling two CF-18 Hornets.jpg
An RCAF CC-150 Polaris refueling two CF-18 Hornets near CFB Borden
Airbus CC-150 Polaris
Airbus A310 transports purchased in 1992 for use as strategic transports and air-to-air tankers to replace the Boeing CC-137. Two have been converted to tankers and are designated the CC-150T. One is permanently configured for VIP transport; five aircraft are operated by 437 Squadron based at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario.
Airbus CC-295 Kingfisher [16]
Twin-turboprop tactical search and rescue aircraft as replacement for the CC-115 Buffalo and older-model C-130H Hercules search and rescue aircraft
BAE Systems CT-155 Hawk
Single-engined lead-in fighter trainer leased in 2000. 16 aircraft in service, based at 15 Wing Moose Jaw, SK and 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta.
Beechcraft CT-156 Harvard II
Single-engined trainer leased from CAE Inc. to replace the Canadair CT-114 Tutor. 24 aircraft based at 15 Wing Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
Beechcraft King Air C-90B
Multi-engine training aircraft. Leased to RCAF by Allied Wings, 7 aircraft are based at Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.
An RCAF C-17 Globemaster III at Calgary International Airport RCAF Boeing C-17 CC177704 (7228848484).jpg
An RCAF C-17 Globemaster III at Calgary International Airport
Boeing CC-177 Globemaster III
Five strategic airlifters operated by 429 (T) Squadron based at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario. Four were delivered from 2007 to 2008, a fifth was delivered in 2015. [17]
Bombardier CC-144 Challenger
Utility and VIP transport aircraft first delivered in 1982. Early Challenger 600 and 601 models were supplemented by 604 models in 2002. Four aircraft are operated by 412(T) Sqn and based in Ottawa, but belong to 8 Wing Trenton.
Canadair CT-114 Tutor
Entered service in 1962 as a basic and advanced jet trainer with 190 originally ordered, replaced by the CT-156 Harvard II and CT-155 Hawk in 2000. A total of 26 aircraft remain in service, 24 of which are used by 431 Air Demonstration Squadron, "The Snowbirds".
DHC CC-115 Buffalo
A Twin-engined utility/cargo transport now used for search and rescue. Six are operated by 442 Transport and Rescue Sqn. at 19 Wing Comox, British Columbia.
DHC CC-138 Twin Otter
A twin-engined utility transport operated since the 1970s, four remain based at Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, operated by 440 Transport Squadron.
DHC CT-142 Dash 8
Twin-engined converted regional airliner entered service in 1987 as an aerial navigation and tactics trainer, Four are operated by 402 "City of Winnipeg" Sqn and stationed at 17 Wing, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Grob G 120A
Single engine primary trainer used to train pilot candidates before they move onto the Harvard II. Leased to RCAF by KF Defence Programs, 14 aircraft are based at 3 Canadian Forces Flying Training School in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. [18]
An RCAF CC-130H Hercules on approach to Winnipeg James Richardson International Airport Lockheed CC-130H Hercules (8111583732) (2).jpg
An RCAF CC-130H Hercules on approach to Winnipeg James Richardson International Airport
Lockheed CC-130H Hercules
Four-engined tactical transport. Several versions have been operated since 1960. Remaining CC-130Hs used for search and rescue and air-to-air refuelling. 8 aircraft remain in service, [18] five of which have been converted to air-to-air tankers. Based at 14 Wing Greenwood, Nova Scotia, 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario, and 17 Wing, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Lockheed CP-140 Aurora
Four-engined maritime patrol aircraft based on the American Lockheed P-3 Orion; entered service in 1980, 18 aircraft now based at 19 Wing Comox, British Columbia, and 14 Wing Greenwood, Nova Scotia. [18]
Lockheed Martin CC-130J Super Hercules
Four-engined tactical airlifter replacing earlier Hercules variants in that role. [19] A total of 17 are in service operated by 436 (T) Squadron based at 8 Wing Trenton. [20]
An RCAF CF-18 Hornet during the Bagotville Air Show CF18imp2.jpg
An RCAF CF-18 Hornet during the Bagotville Air Show
McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornet
Fighter entered service in 1982 when 98 single-seat CF-18As and 40 two-seat CF-18Bs were ordered. Seventeen have been lost since 1984. [21] Stationed at 3 Wing Bagotville, Quebec and 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta; 60 CF-18As and 25 CF-18Bs remain in active service. [18] [22]
McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet (Ex-RAAF)
15 of the 18 have been delivered. Three are now flying with the Air Force while the remainder are still going through upgrades and changes to make them compatible with Canada’s needs. [23]

Rotary wing

AgustaWestland CH-149 Cormorant
Triple-engined search and rescue helicopter that replaced the CH-113 Labrador. Fourteen delivered between 2000 and 2002. Based at (103 Squadron) 9 Wing Gander, Newfoundland; (413 Squadron) 14 Wing Greenwood, Nova Scotia; and (442 Squadron) 19 Wing Comox, British Columbia. One aircraft has been lost in a training accident.
Bell CH-139 JetRanger (Model C or III)
Single-engined utility and training helicopter. Ordered for 3 Canadian Forces Flying Training School at CFB Portage la Prairie, MB; an older variant (CH-136 - Jetranger A model), was used by Regular Forces in CFB Lahr in Germany and in Canada from 1972 - 1995 which were replaced by CH-146 Griffons. 12 aircraft remain, leased from Allied Wings, used for flight training in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.
An RCAF CH-146 Griffon providing close air support for units of the Afghan Armed Forces, and ISAF CH-146ISAF.jpg
An RCAF CH-146 Griffon providing close air support for units of the Afghan Armed Forces, and ISAF
Bell CH-146 Griffon
A utility transport tactical helicopter (UTTH) that entered service between 1995 and 1997. Original purchase of 100 aircraft to replace the CH-136 Kiowa (Bell 206), CH-135 Twin Huey (Bell 212), CH-118 Iroquois (Bell 205), and Boeing C-Model Chinooks CH-47C. Based at Bagotville, Quebec (439 Squadron), St. Hubert, Quebec (438 Squadron), Cold Lake, Alberta (417 Squadron), Gagetown, New Brunswick (403 Squadron), Valcartier, Quebec (430 Squadron), Goose Bay, Newfoundland (444 Squadron), Edmonton, Alberta (408 Squadron), and Borden, Ontario (400 Squadron); also perform search and rescue duties at 8 Wing Trenton (424 Squadron). Deployed to Afghanistan to provide escorts for the Chinooks, armed with a combination of 7.62mm C-6 machine gun, 7.62mm Dillon Aero M134D Gatling gun, and GAU-21 .50 caliber machine gun on one or both doors. [24] [25] [26] 9 ex-RCAF Griffons, designated CT-146, are leased from Allied Wings for pilot training at Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.
Boeing CH-147F Chinook
The CH-147F Chinook is an advanced, multi-mission, medium to heavy-lift helicopter. Its primary mission is the tactical transport of equipment and personnel during domestic or deployed operations. 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, under the command of 1 Wing Kingston, Ontario, and based in CFB Petawawa, Ontario, was re-established as the home of Canadaʼs fleet of 15 CH-147F Chinooks. The first two airframes underwent intensive operational test and evaluation in the United States for several months before Canada received the first airframe 147303 at an official acceptance ceremony at the Ottawa International Airport on 27 June 2013. [27] [28] [29] 15 aircraft are in service as of 2017. [18]
A CH-148 Cyclone in flight Halifax DSC08302 - CF Cyclone -811 (36286729876) (cropped).jpg
A CH-148 Cyclone in flight
Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone
Ship-based transport/anti-submarine helicopter based on the Sikorsky H-92 Superhawk. Twenty-eight ordered to replace the Sea King from 2009. Delays pushed first delivery to 2015. [18] One aircraft was lost in an accident in April 2020. [30]

Leased and contractor aircraft

The Canadian Forces have leased aircraft from vendors to help transport troops and equipment from Canada and other locations in the past decade. Transport aircraft have been leased as required.

Beechcraft B300 Super King Air
Dornier Alpha Jet Type A
Hawker Hunter F.58

Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)

RCAF UAS

SAGEM Sperwer
Designated CU-161; entered service in 2003, retired [32]
IAI Heron
3 leased in 2009 for use in Afghanistan; turned over to the RAAF in 2011 [33]

Canadian Army/Navy UAS

BAE Systems Silver Fox
Acquired in 2004 by the Canadian Forces Experimentation Centre [34]
Boeing Insitu ScanEagle
Designated CU-165; operated by the Canadian Army 2008-2014 [32]
Elbit Skylark
Designated CU-168; operated by the Canadian Army [35]
AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven
Operated by the Canadian Army
AeroVironment RQ-20 Puma
Acquired in 2018; operated by the Royal Canadian Navy [36]
Prioria Robotics Maveric
Operated by the Canadian Army [37]
Saab Skeldar
Acquired in 2019; operated by the Royal Canadian Navy and CANSOFCOM [38]
Boeing Insitu RQ-21 Blackjack
Designated CU-172; 5 acquired in 2016, operated by the Canadian Army [39] [32]

Weapons and other equipment

Weapons systems are used by the CF-18 Hornet, CP-140 Aurora, CH-146 Griffon and the CH-148 Cyclone.

ManufacturerOriginWeaponTypeIn ServiceNotes
Lockheed Martin Flag of the United States.svg  United States GBU-10 Paveway II (12, 16 and 24) Laser-guided bomb 1980sUsed by CF-18
General Dynamics Flag of the United States.svg  United States Mark 82 bomb Low drag general-purpose bomb (500 lb)1970sUsed by CF-18
General DynamicsFlag of the United States.svg  United States Mark 83 bomb Low drag general-purpose bomb (1,000 lb)1980sUsed by CF-18
General DynamicsFlag of the United States.svg  United States Mark 84 bomb Low drag general-purpose bomb (2,000 lb)1980sUsed by CF-18
Boeing Flag of the United States.svg  United States Joint Direct Attack Munition [40] A kit to convert a regular bomb into precision-guided munition 2011Used by CF-18
Raytheon/Hughes Flag of the United States.svg  United States AGM-65G Maverick Missile Air-to-surface missile 1990sUsed by CF-18
Bristol Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada CRV 7 Rocket Folding-fin ground attack rocket 1970sUsed by CF-18
Douglas Flag of the United States.svg  United States AIM-7 Sparrow Medium-range semi-active radar homing air-to-air missile 1980sUsed by CF-18
Raytheon/HughesFlag of the United States.svg  United States AIM-120 AMRAAM Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missile2000sUsed by CF-18
Raytheon/Ford/
Loral Corp.
Flag of the United States.svg  United States AIM-9 Sidewinder Heat-seeking, short-range, air-to-air missile1980sUsed by CF-18
General Dynamics/
General Electric
Flag of the United States.svg  United States M61 20mm Vulcan cannon Air-cooled gatling-style cannon 1980sUsed by CF-18
Alliant Flag of the United States.svg  United States Mark 46 torpedo Air and ship-launched lightweight torpedo1970sUsed by CP-140 Aurora and CH-148 Cyclone (but not by CP-140A Arcturus)
FN Herstal Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium FN MAG C67.62 mm self-defence machine gun1980sUsed by CH-146 Griffon, CH-147F Chinook and CH-148 Cyclone
Dillon Aero Flag of the United States.svg  United States M1347.62 mm self-defence machine gun2011Used by CH-146 Griffon
Browning Arms Company Flag of the United States.svg  United States M3M 0.50 cal machine gun2013Used by CH-146 Griffon
ManufacturerOriginNameTypeIn ServiceNotes
Systems & Electronics, Inc.Flag of the United States.svg  United States 60K TunnerMaterial handling equipment2008Used with CC-177 transport
JBT AeroTechFlag of the United States.svg  United States Halvorsen 44K LoadersTruck Aircraft Side Load Unload (TASLU) Loader20084 for use with CC-177; licensed from Static Engineering of Australia
Mobile Arrestor Gear
FMC Corp. Flag of the United States.svg  United States B-1200Aircraft towing tractor2008Used to tow CC-177 and CC-130

Retired weapons

WeaponCountry of manufactureTypeIn service#
CIM-10 Bomarc-B Flag of the United States.svg  United States Supersonic missile equipped with a 10 kt W40 (nuclear warhead) 1962 to 1972N/A
AIR-2 Genie Flag of the United States.svg  United States Air-to-air rocket with a 1.5 kt W25 (nuclear warhead) 1965 to 1984N/A
MK-20 "Rockeye" Flag of the United States.svg  United States Cluster bomb1980s to 1997 [41] ≈1000

Current structure

The commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, located at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, commands and provides strategic direction to the Air Force. The commander of 1 Canadian Air Division and Canadian NORAD Region, based in Winnipeg, is responsible for the operational command and control of Royal Canadian Air Force activities throughout Canada and worldwide. The RCAF's other Air Division, 2 Canadian Air Division, was established in June 2009, and consists of training establishments.

There are 13 wings across Canada, 11 operational and 2 used for training. Wings represent the grouping of various squadrons, both operational and support, under a single tactical commander reporting to the operational commander. Ten wings also include a Canadian Forces base along with other operational and support units.

The rank of general is held when an air officer is serving as chief of the Defence Staff. The commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force holds the rank of lieutenant-general. Divisions are commanded by major-generals. Brigadier-generals are typically second-in-command of a division. Wings are commanded by colonels. Squadrons are commanded by lieutenant-colonels. Majors are typically second-in-command of squadrons, or flight commanders. Captains, lieutenants and second lieutenants are the junior level leaders in RCAF squadrons and headquarters.

Rank structure

Commander-in-Chief

CanadaCommander-in-chief
Insignia Royal Canadian Air Force sleeves (Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Armed Forces).svg Royal Canadian Air Force (Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Armed Forces).svg
Title Commander-in-chief
AbbreviationC-in-C

Officers

Equivalent
NATO Code
OF-10OF-9OF-8OF-7OF-6OF-5OF-4OF-3OF-2OF-1 OF(D) and student officer
Royal Canadian Air Force ensign.svg  Royal Canadian Air Force
No equivalent Canada-Air force-OF-9-collected.svg Canada-Air force-OF-8-collected.svg Canada-Air force-OF-7-collected.svg Canada-Air force-OF-6-collected.svg Canadian RCAF OF-5.svg Canadian RCAF OF-4.svg Canadian RCAF OF-3.svg Canadian RCAF OF-2.svg Canadian RCAF OF-1b.svg Canadian RCAF OF-1a.svg Canadian RCAF OF (D).svg No equivalent
General Lieutenant-general Major-general Brigadier-general Colonel Lieutenant-colonel Major Captain Lieutenant Second lieutenant Officer cadet
GénéralLieutenant-généralMajor-généralBrigadier-généralColonelLieutenant-colonelMajorCapitaineLieutenantSous-lieutenantÉlève-officier

Non-commissioned members

Canadian Forces chief warrant officer Chief warrant officerCommand, group, formation, wing, base chief warrant officer
Canadian RCAF OR-10.svg
Canadian RCAF OR-9c.svg
Canadian RCAF OR-9b.svg
Equivalent
NATO code
OR-9OR-8OR-7OR-6OR-5OR-4OR-3OR-2OR-1
Royal Canadian Air Force ensign.svg  Royal Canadian Air Force
Canadian RCAF OR-9a.svg Canadian RCAF OR-8.svg Canadian RCAF OR-7.svg Canadian RCAF OR-6.svg Canadian RCAF OR-5.svg Canadian RCAF OR-4.svg Canadian RCAF OR-3.svg Canadian RCAF OR-2.svg Canadian RCAF OR-2.svg
Chief warrant officer Master warrant officer Warrant officer Sergeant Master corporal Corporal Aviator (trained) Aviator (basic) Aviator (recruit)
Adjudant-chefAdjudant-maîtreAdjudantSergentCaporal-chefCaporalAviateur (formé)Aviateur (confirmé)Aviateur (recrue)

On 1 April 2015, the rank structure and insignia changed. [42] The rank of private was replaced with that of aviator. The previously used term "leading aircraftman" was considered not to be gender neutral. [43] Insignia were also changed from golden yellow to a pearl-grey colour similar to that worn before unification of Canada's Armed Forces in 1968. [43] A revival of the former rank titles of the RCAF did not occur, however, as such an extensive change was considered "too complicated and confusing". [42] Instead, the current rank titles were retained (with the exception of aviator). The Royal Flying Corps, considered to be a predecessor of the RCAF, used rank titles similar to the existing rank titles of the RCAF. [43]

Symbols

Badge

Rcaf womens.jpg
1941–1946
(Women's Division)
Badge of the Royal Canadian Air Force.jpg
1968–2013
Royal Canadian Air Force Badge.png
2013–present
Past versions of the badge used by the Royal Canadian Air Force, with the years they were in use listed above

The badge of the Royal Canadian Air Force consists of: [44]

Roundels

Roundels used from 1920 until 1945 were usually the same as Royal Air Force roundels although not all variations were used and colours were matched to locally available paints.

See also

Notes

    Related Research Articles

    The history of the Royal Canadian Air Force begins in 1920, when the air force was created as the Canadian Air Force (CAF). In 1924 the CAF was renamed the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) when it was granted the royal title by King George V. The RCAF existed as an independent service until 1968. Prior attempts at forming an air force for Canada were the Canadian Aviation Corps that was attached to the Canadian Expeditionary Force, and a two-squadron Canadian Air Force that was attached to the Royal Air Force.

    Bell CH-146 Griffon Military utility helicopter

    The Bell CH-146 Griffon is a multi-role utility helicopter of the Huey family, designed by Bell Helicopter Textron as a variant of the Bell 412EP for the Canadian Armed Forces. The CH-146 is used in a wide variety of roles, including aerial firepower, reconnaissance, search and rescue and aero-mobility tasks.

    CFB Shearwater

    Royal Canadian Air Force Base Shearwater, commonly referred to as RCAF Shearwater, was a Canadian Forces base located 4.5 nautical miles east southeast of Shearwater, Nova Scotia, on the eastern shore of Halifax Harbour in the Halifax Regional Municipality. Following a base rationalization program in the mid-1990s, the Canadian Forces closed CFB Shearwater as a separate formation and realigned the property's various facilities into CFB Halifax. These include:

    CFB Goose Bay Canadian air force base in Labrador, Canada

    Canadian Forces Base Goose Bay, commonly referred to as CFB Goose Bay, is a Canadian Forces Base located in the municipality of Happy Valley-Goose Bay in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is operated as an air force base by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). Its primary RCAF lodger unit is 5 Wing, commonly referred to as 5 Wing Goose Bay.

    CFB Greenwood Air force base in Canada

    Canadian Forces Base Greenwood, or CFB Greenwood, is a Canadian Forces Base located 1.5 nautical miles east of Greenwood, Nova Scotia. It is primarily operated as an air force base by the Royal Canadian Air Force and is one of two bases in the country using the CP-140 Aurora and CP-140A Arcturus anti-submarine/maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft. Its primary RCAF lodger unit is 14 Wing, commonly referred to as 14 Wing Greenwood.

    CFB Comox

    Canadian Forces Base Comox, commonly referred to as CFB Comox or 19 Wing is a Canadian Forces Base located 2.5 nautical miles north northeast of Comox, Vancouver Island, British Columbia. It is primarily operated as an air force base by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and is one of two bases in the country using the CP-140 Aurora anti-submarine/maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft. Its primary RCAF lodger unit is 19 Wing, commonly referred to as 19 Wing Comox.

    CFB Trenton Canadian Forces base

    Canadian Forces Base Trenton, formerly RCAF Station Trenton, is a Canadian Forces base located within the city of Quinte West, Ontario. It is operated as an air force base by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and is the hub for air transport operations in Canada and abroad. Its primary RCAF lodger unit is 8 Wing, commonly referred to as 8 Wing Trenton. CFB Trenton is Canada's largest Air Force base.

    CFB Gander

    Canadian Forces Base Gander, is a Canadian Forces base located in Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador. It is operated as an air force base by the Royal Canadian Air Force and is home to air/marine search and rescue operations that cover a vast swath of the western North Atlantic and southern Arctic. Its primary RCAF lodger unit is 9 Wing, commonly referred to as 9 Wing Gander.

    408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron

    408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron is a unit of 1 Wing, Kingston. It is co-located with 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Edmonton.

    CFB St. Hubert Canadian Forces airbase in Saint-Hubert, Quebec, Canada

    Canadian Forces Base St. Hubert was a Canadian Forces Base in the city of Saint-Hubert, Quebec. The base began as a civilian airfield in the 1920s and was later also used by RCAF auxiliary (reserve) squadrons beginning in the mid 1930s. It became a fully-fledged RCAF station early in WW2 being extensively used for training as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. After the war, it grew into and remained for decades, one of the most important air bases in Canada.

    CFB Winnipeg

    Canadian Forces Base Winnipeg, is a Royal Canadian Air Force base located within the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Co-located at the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, CFB Winnipeg is home to many flight operations support divisions, as well as several training schools. Its primary RCAF lodger unit is 17 Wing, commonly referred to as 17 Wing Winnipeg.

    1 Canadian Air Division

    1 Canadian Air Division is the operational-level command and control formation of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). Prior to 2006 the official abbreviation for the division was 1 CAD. It is commanded by an air force major-general.

    Air Transport Command (ATC) was a command of the Canadian Forces created in 1968 upon unification and eliminated in 1975.

    Canadian Armed Forces Search and Rescue

    Canadian Armed Forces Search and Rescue (CAFSAR) is the collective name used to refer to search and rescue (SAR) resources and operations within the Canadian Armed Forces. CAFSAR is currently the responsibility of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).

    424 Transport and Rescue Squadron

    424 Transport and Rescue Squadron, nicknamed "Tiger Squadron", is a Royal Canadian Air Force strategic transport and search and rescue unit based at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Trenton in the Canadian province of Ontario. The squadron is the primary provider of search and rescue response for the Trenton Search and Rescue Region, which extends from Quebec City to the Rocky Mountains, and from the Canada–United States border to the North Pole, covering an area of over ten million square kilometres in Central, Western, and Northern Canada.

    440 Transport Squadron

    440 Transport Squadron is a unit of the Canadian Armed Forces under the Royal Canadian Air Force. It is part of 8 Wing and works closely with Joint Task Force (North) located in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.

    The following is a hierarchical outline for the Canadian Armed Forces at the end of the Cold War. It is intended to convey the connections and relationships between units and formations.

    This is the structure of the Royal Canadian Air Force, as of November 2020.

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    Further reading