Royal Australian Air Force

The RAAF Ensign

Founded 13 March 1921
Country Australia
Branch Air Force
Part of Australian Defence Force
Air Force Headquarters Canberra
Size Over 500 aircraft, and 20,000 personnel (2007)
Motto Per Ardua ad Astra ('Through Struggle to the Stars')
Mascot Kangaroo
Chief of the Air Staff Air Marshal Geoff Brown, AM
Deputy Chief of the Air Staff Air Vice-Marshal Peter Stockwell, AFC
Air Commander Australia Air Vice-Marshal Mark Skidmore
RAAF Badge RAAFBadge
RAAF Roundel RAAFRoundel
RAAF low visibility Roundel RAAFRoundelLV
RAAF black Roundel RAAF Roundel Black
Aircraft flown
Bomber F-15E
Fighter F-15K/M, F/A-18A+/B+
EW/Reconnaissance E-7 AEW&C
Patrol AP-3C, RQ-4, MQ-9
Transport C-17, C-130J/J-30, DHC-4, KC-30 MRTT, KC-135, B707, BBJ, CL-604
Training Hawk 127, PC-9/A, CT/4E, King Air 300
Special Operations MC-130W, MH-60K

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is the Air Force branch of the Australian Defence Force. The RAAF began in March 1914 as the Australian Flying Corps and became a fully independent Air Force in March 1921 (the second in the world). The RAAF has taken part in many of the 20th century's major conflicts including both World Wars, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The motto on the RAAF's coat of arms is the Latin phrase Per Ardua ad Astra, which means "Through Struggle to the Stars"; the Royal Air Force use the same motto but translate it as "Through Adversity to the Stars".

The RAAF is relatively large for a Southern Hemisphere air force possessing over 500 combat, support, training, and test aircraft, and is highly advanced technologically, operating the most sophisticated combat aircraft in the world. It has a high reputation for professionalism and skill among both air and ground crew.

The current Chief of the Air Staff is Air Marshal Geoff Brown, AM.

Air Combat Force StructureEdit

In the late 1970's the RAAF adopted a new force structure for tactical aircraft:

  • 2 Strike/Reconnaissance Squadrons (F-111C/RF-111C 1973-1995)
  • 2 Air Defence Squadrons (F-4E Phantom II 1973-1991, F-15K/M Eagle 1987-present day)
  • 3 Tactical Fighter Squadrons (Mirage IIIO 1964-1988)

In 1989, it formally incorporated the Royal New Zealand Air Force, incorporating the two RNZAF fighter squadrons (2SQN RNZAF, and 75SQN RNZAF as 30SQN RAAF, and 82SQN RAAF, though the RNZAF crests remain out of respect).

Incorporation of RNZAF fighters led to a new interim force structure:

  • 2 Strike/Reconnaissance Squadrons (F-111C/RF-111C 1973-1995)
  • 2 Air Defence Squadrons (F-4E Phantom II until 1991, F-15K/M Eagle 1987-present day)
  • 3 Tactical Fighter Squadrons (Mirage IIIO 1964-1990, F/A-18A/B Hornet 1985-present day)
  • 2 Ground Attack Squadrons (A-4K Skyhawk 1988-1995)

Finally the RAAF purchased additional F/A-18s, and the RAAF adopted its present force stucture:

  • 2 Strike/Reconnaissance Squadrons (F-111C/RF-111C 1973-1995, F-15E Strike Eagle 1993-present day)
  • 2 Air Defence Squadrons (F-15K/M Eagle 1987-present day)
  • 4 Tactical Fighter Squadrons (F/A-18A+/B+ Hornet 1985-present day)


Air Combat GroupEdit


Air Combat Group administers the RAAF's fighter, strike, and surface-to-air missile force. It's headquarters is located at RAAF Williamtown. It was formed by the amalgamation of Strike Reconnaissance Group and Tactical Fighter Group. It consists of four wings, 82 Wing operating in the strike role, 76 Wing operating in the air defence role, 81 Wing in the tactical fighter role, 83 Wing operating Patriot missiles, and 78 Wing in the fast jet/lead-in fighter training role.

  • 82WG 82 Wing
    • 1SQN 1 Squadron (Strike, Maritime Strike) (RAAF Amberley)
      • 18 Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle
    • 6SQN 6 Squadron (Strike, Electronic Attack, Conversion Training) (RAAF Amberley)
      • 18 Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle
    • 8 Squadron (Electronic Attack) (RAAF Amberley)
      • 12 Boeing EA-18G Growler
    • 4SQN 4 Squadron (Forward Air Control) (RAAF Williamtown)
      • 8 Pilatus PC-9/A
  • 76 Wing
    • 3SQN 3 Squadron (Air Defence) (RAAF Williamtown)
      • 16 Boeing F-15K Improved Eagle
      • 2 Boeing F-15M Improved Eagle
    • 2SQNRNZAF 80 Squadron (Air Defence) (RAAF Tindal)
      • 16 Boeing F-15K Improved Eagle
      • 2 Boeing F-15M Improved Eagle
  • 81WG 81 Wing
    • 75SQN 75 Squadron (Air Defence, Strike, Close Support) (RAAF Tindal)
      • 16 Boeing F/A-18A+ Hornet
      • 2 Boeing F/A-18B+ Hornet
    • 77SQN 77 Squadron (Air Defence, Strike, Close Support) (RAAF Williamtown)
      • 16 Boeing F/A-18A+ Hornet
      • 2 Boeing F/A-18B+ Hornet
    • 78 Squadron (Air Defence, Strike, Close Support) (RAAF Pearce)
      • 16 Boeing F/A-18A+ Hornet
      • 2 Boeing F/A-18B+ Hornet
    • 75SQNRNZAF 82 Squadron (Air Defence, Strike, Close Support) (RAAF Ohakea)
      • 16 Boeing F/A-18A+ Hornet
      • 2 Boeing F/A-18B+ Hornet
  • 78WG 78 Wing
    • 2OCU 2 Operational Conversion Unit (2OCU) (RAAF Williamtown)
      • 15 Boeing F/A-18B+ Hornet
      • 5 Boeing F/A-18A+ Hornet
    • 14SQNRNZAF 3 Operational Conversion Unit (3OCU) (RAAF Williamtown)
      • 10 Boeing F-15M Improved Eagle
      • 4 Boeing F-15K Improved Eagle
    • 76SQN 76 Squadron (Lead in fighter training) (RAAF Williamtown)
      • 15 BAE Systems Hawk 127
    • 79SQN 79 Squadron (Fast jet flying training) (RAAF Pearce)
      • 18 BAE Systems Hawk 127
  • 83 Wing
    • 30SQN 30 Squadron (Surface to Air Guided Weapons) (RAAF Tindal, RAAF Darwin)
      • MIM-104 Patriot battalion organisation
    • 450SQN 450 Squadron (Surface to Air Guided Weapons) (RAAF Townsville, RAAF Curtin, RAAF Learmonth)
      • MIM-104 Patriot battalion organisation
    • 451SQNA 451 Squadron (Surface to Air Guided Weapons Training) (RAAF Edinburgh)
      • Patriot Missile Training School
750px-USAF F-15E Strike Eagle Iraq 1999

F-15E on patrol, with both LGBs and air to air missiles


F-15E taking off

800px-RAF F-15E Strike Eagle Iraq 2004

Australian F-15E on a strike mission in Operation Falconer


F-15M on a fast climb


F-15K against the sunset


Two F-15K Eagles show their 'talons'


An F/A-18 with a full air defence weapons load of ASRAAMs and AMRAAMs


Two F/A-18 Hornets


Two Hornets on Combat Air Patrol in close formation


A Hawk 127 flying over the Australian coast

AIR Hawk LIFT Mk127s Australia lg

Three Hawk 127s


A PC-9 in the Forward Air Controller role

Air Lift GroupEdit


Air Lift Group is the RAAF's transport organisation. It is responsible for all transport functions including strategic air lift, tactical transport, air refueling, VIP transport, and special operations support. 38 Squadron and 88 Wing are under the operational control of the Army.

  • 84WG 84 Wing
    • 33SQN 33 Squadron (Air Refueling and Strategic Transport) (RAAF Amberley)
      • 18 Airbus KC-30 MRTT
    • 34SQN 34 Squadron (VIP transport) (RAAF Fairbairn)
      • 3 Boeing Business Jets
      • 4 Bombardier Challenger 604
    • 36SQN 36 Squadron (Strategic Transport) (RAAF Amberley)
      • 8 Boeing C-17 Globemaster III
  • 85 Wing
    • 31 (City of Auckland) Squadron (Liason Transport) (RAAF Auckland)
      • 8 Beech King Air 350iER
    • Air Movements Training & Development Unit - AMTDU (RAAF Richmond)
    • 285 Squadron (Airlift Training) (RAAF Richmond)
  • 86WG 86 Wing
    • 35SQN 35 Squadron (Tactical Transport) (RAAF Richmond)
      • 12 Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules
    • 37SQN 37 Squadron (Strategic Transport) (RAAF Richmond)
      • 12 Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Hercules
    • 40 SQN JL RNZAF 104 Squadron (Tactical Transport) (RAAF Auckland)
      • 12 Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules
    • 38SQN 38 Squadron (Tactical Transport) (RAAF Townsville)
      • 18 de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou
  • 88 Wing
    • 5SQN 5 Squadron (Special Operations Support, Rotary Wing) (RAAF Amberley)
      • A Flight (RAAF Amberley)
        • 6 Sikorsky MH-60K Black Hawk
      • B Flight (RAAF Auckland)
        • 6 Sikorsky MH-60K Black Hawk
    • 9SQN 9 Squadron (Special Operations Support, Rotary Wing) (Campbell Barracks)
      • A Flight (Campbell Barracks)
        • 6 Sikorsky MH-60K Black Hawk
      • B Flight (Holsworthy Barracks)
        • 6 Sikorsky MH-60K Black Hawk
    • 41 SQN JL RNZAF 41 Squadron (Special Operations Support, Fixed Wing) (RAAF Richmond)
      • 6 Lockheed Martin MC-130W Combat Spear

KC-30 MRTT refueling two F/A-18 Hornets


A KC-30 MRTT refueling another KC-30

800px-US Navy 031217-N-3799S

RAAF KC-135R refueling an F/A-18 Hornet

800px-KC-135R 151st ARW Utah ANG 2006

KC-135R with boom extended

KC-135 refueling

A KC-135, viewed from an F-15M after refueling


Boeing Business Jet, the RAAF's long-range VIP aircraft


Bombardier Challenger over both the Old Parliament House and the New Parliament House


C-17 Globemaster III, the largest aircraft in the RAAF


A C-17 performing a rough field landing

800px-RAAF C-130J 2008

A C-130J-30 Hercules. The latest in a fifty year line of RAAF C-130s


C-130J-30 Hercules


C-130H Hercules over Sydney Harbour Bridge


C-130H performing a rough field landing

Caribou 02

DHC-4 Caribou, a Vietnam veteran


Caribou over its natural domain, the outback

Surveillence and Response GroupEdit


The Surveillence and Response Group is the eyes and ears of the Australian Defence Force. Operating a wide range of aircraft and sensors, the role of SRG is to watch constantly, and direct other arms of the Defence Force towards any threat to Australia. SRG also has a striking arm of its own, in the form of its P-8A Poseidon maritime aircraft and Reaper drones. SRG is also responsible for all air traffic control for the Australian Defence Force.

  • 42WG 42 Wing
    • 2SQN 2 Squadron (Airborne Early Warning and Control) (RAAF Williamtown)
      • 6 Boeing E-7A Wedgetail AEW&C
    • 50 Squadron (Airborne Early Warning and Control) (RAAF Tindal)
      • 4 Boeing E-7A Wedgetail AEW&C
        • DET A (RAAF Ohakea)
          • 2 Boeing E-7A Wedgetail AEW&C
    • 42 SQN JL RNZAF 66 Squadron (Unmanned Surveillance) (RAAF Ohakea)
      • 6 Raytheon RQ-4 Global Hawk
    • 100SQN 100 Squadron (Unmanned Surveillance/Strike) (RAAF Edinburgh)
      • 6 General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper
    • 107 Squadron (Unmanned Surveillance/Strike) (RAAF Amberley)
      • 6 General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper
  • 92WG 92 Wing
    • 10SQN 10 Squadron (Maritime Patrol) (RAAF Edinburgh)
      • 12 Boeing P-8A Poseidon
    • 11SQN 11 Squadron (Maritime Patrol) (RAAF Darwin)
      • 12 Boeing P-8A Poseidon
    • 5 SQN JL RNZAF 461 Squadron (Maritime Patrol) (RAAF Auckland)
      • 6 Boeing P-8A Poseidon
    • 292SQN 292 Squadron (Conversion Training) (RAAF Edinburgh)
      • 6 Boeing P-8A Poseidon
  • 41WG 41 Wing
    • 1RSU No. 1 Radar Surveillance Unit
      • Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN)
    • 3CRU No. 3 Control and Reporting Unit
    • 114MCRU No. 114 Mobile Control and Reporting Unit
    • 114MCRU DET No. 114 Mobile Control and Reporting Unit Detachment
    • Surveillance and Control Training Unit (SACTU)
  • 44WG 44 Wing
737AEWC 9

Boeing 737 Wedgetail AEW&C

Air5077 aewc

Wedgetail over Sydney Harbour


Lockheed AP-3C Orion


AP-3C Orion dispensing flares


RIMPAC: Orions from all over the Pacific. P-3C Orions from the US Navy, Japan Maritime Self Defence Force and Republic of Korea Navy, CP-140 Auroras from the Royal Canadian Air Force, and AP-3C Orions from the RAAF

800px-Global Hawk 1

RQ-4 Global Hawk (USAF Photo)

800px-MQ-9 Reaper in flight (2007)

MQ-9 Reaper (USAF Photo)

RAAF radar

AN/TPS-77 3D air search radar of 114MCRU

Aerospace Operational Support GroupEdit

  • Development and Test Wing
    • ARDU Aircraft Research and Development Unit - ARDU (RAAF Edinburgh)
      • 1 Boeing F/A-18A Hornet
      • 1 Boeing F/A-18B Hornet
      • 3 Aermacchi MB-339
      • 3 Pilatus PC-9/A
      • 2 Sikorsky S-70A-9 Black Hawk
      • 1 Beech King Air 200
      • Other aircraft from RAAF, AAAvn, and FAA units as required
      • Civilian contract aircraft as required
    • ARDU Systems Engineering Squadron (RAAF Edinburgh)
    • ASCENG (Aircraft Stores Compatibility Engineering Agency) (RAAF Edinburgh)
    • RAAF Institute of Aviation Medicine (RAAF Edinburgh)
  • Information Warfare Wing
    • RAAF Aeronautical Information Service (RAAF Edinburgh)
    • 87 Squadron (RAAF Edinburgh)
      • Air Intelligence Squadron
    • 460 Squadron (Russell Offices Canberra)
    • 462 Squadron (Werriwa Facility Canberra0
      • Information Warfare Squadron
    • JEWOSU (Joint Electronic Warfare Operational Support Unit)
  • RAAF Woomera Test Range

Air Force Training GroupEdit


Air Force Training Group is responsible for all RAAF ground and air training. The AFTG performs training from Recruit level, right up to staff college for senior officers. AFTG also has two aerobatics teams, the Roulettes attached to the Central Flying School and the RNZAF Red Checkers attacked to the Dissimilar Air Combat Training Unit. AFTG also provides training for Fleet Air Arm and Australian Army Aviation personnel. Reserve units also fall under the AFTG.

  • ATWG Air Training Wing
    • RAAF-1FTS No. 1 Flying Training School (RAAF Williams)
      • 55 Pacific Aerospace CT/4E Airtrainer
    • 2FTS No. 2 Flying Training School (RAAF Gingin)
      • 55 Pilatus PC-9/A
    • 32SQN 32 Squadron (RAAF East Sale)
      • 8 Beech King Air 300
    • CFS Central Flying School (RAAF East Sale)
      • 19 Pilatus PC-9/A
      • The Roulettes (RAAF Flight Display Team)
        • 6 Pilatus PC-9/A
    • Dissimilar Air Combat Training Unit (HMAS Albatross) (also contains the The Royal New Zealand Air Force Red Checkers)1
      • 14 Aermacchi MB 339CB2
    • School of Aviation Warfare - SAW (RAAF East Sale)
    • School of Air Traffic Control - SATC (RAAF East Sale)
    • Combat Survival Training School - CSTS (RAAF Townsville)
  • Ground Training Wing
    • ADF School of Languages - ADFSL (RAAF Williams)
    • Defence International Training Centre - DITC (RAAF Williams)
    • RAAF School of Administration and Logistics Training - RAAFSALT (RAAF Wagga)
    • RAAF School of Technical Training - RAAFSTT (RAAF Wagga)
    • RAAF Security and Fire School - RAAFSFS (RAAF Amberley)
    • RAAF Explosive Ordnance Training School - EOTS (RAAF Kingswood)
  • RAAF College
    • 1 Recruit Training Unit - 1RTU (RAAF Wagga)
    • Officer Training School - OTS (RAAF East Sale)
    • School of Postgraduate Studies - SPS (RAAF Wagga)
    • RAAF Museum (RAAF Williams)
    • RAAF Band (RAAF Williams)
  • Reserve Training Wing
    • No. 13 Squadron (RAAF Darwin)
    • No. 21 Squadron (RAAF Williams)
    • No. 22 Squadron (RAAF Richmond)
    • No. 23 Squadron (RAAF Amberley)
    • No. 24 Squadron (RAAF Edinburgh)
    • No. 25 Squadron (RAAF Pearce)
    • No. 26 Squadron (RAAF Williamtown)
    • No. 27 Squadron (RAAF Townsville)
    • No. 28 Squadron (RAAF Fairbairn)
    • No. 29 Squadron (Anglesea Barracks)
    • No. 39 Squadron (RAAF Ohakea)

1The DACTU performs several roles including dissimilar air combat training, RAN anti-air warfare training, Army air defence training, sensor calibration. The unit is also effectively responsible for maintaining the traditions of the RNZAF and carries out display flying as the Red Checkers. The DACTU has the unofficial nickname "Sheep Shaggers". They are entirely manned by reserve personnel.
2The RNZAF Red Checkers is the only New Zealand titled unit in the RAAF, and their aircraft still fly with the Red Kiwi roundel of the RNZAF, rather than the Red Kangaroo of the RAAF.

GA 3A19 052

A RAAF CT/4 in flight

DC 3A19 032

Another RAAF CT/4 at RAAF Wagga


The world famous RAAF Roulettes in the Pilatus PC-9


The Roulettes over the Sydney Harbour Bridge


A Beech King Air 300 navigation trainer


Aermacchi MB 339CB. These former RNZAF aircraft are part of the RAAF, but still carry RNZAF markings


Aermacchi MB 339. The MB 339 was considered by Australia as a replacement for the Aermacchi MB 326. In the event, the BAE Hawk 127 was chosen, but the MB 339 still flies.

Combat Support GroupEdit


Combat Support Group provides all support services for the RAAF. This includes garrison support, ground defence, engineering, and health care.

  • HQCSG Headquarters Combat Support Group
  • ACBAND Air Command Band
  • 395 Expeditionary Combat Support Wing
    • No. 381 Expeditionary Combat Support Squadron (RAAF Williamtown)
    • No. 382 Expeditionary Combat Support Squadron (RAAF Amberley)
    • Combat Support Unit - Amberley
    • Combat Support Unit - East Sale
    • Combat Support Unit - Wagga
    • Combat Support Unit - Williams
    • Combat Support Unit - Williamtown
  • Airfield Defence Wing
    • 1 Airfield Defence Squadron (1AFDS) (RAAF Edinburgh)
    • 2 Airfield Defence Squadron (2AFDS) (RAAF Amberley)
    • 3 Airfield Defence Squadron (3AFDS) (RAAF Tindal)
    • 4 Airfield Defence Squadron (4AFDS) (RAAF Auckland)
  • 396 Expeditionary Combat Support Wing
    • No. 321 Expeditionary Combat Support Squadron (RAAF Darwin)
    • No. 322 Expeditionary Combat Support Squadron (RAAF Tindal)
    • Bare Base Management Flight - Curtin
    • Bare Base Management Flight - Learmonth
    • Bare Base Management Flight - Scherger
    • No. 323 Expeditionary Combat Support Squadron (RAAF Townsville)
    • No. 324 Combat Support Squadron (RMAF Butterworth)
    • No. 325 Expeditionary Combat Support Squadron (RAAF Richmond)
    • No. 326 Expeditionary Combat Support Squadron (RAAF Auckland)
    • No. 1 Combat Communications Squadron (RAAF Richmond)
    • No 1 Airfield Operations Support Squadron (RAAF Amberley)
    • 1 Central Ammunition Depot (RAAF Kingswood)
    • Combat Support Unit - Pearce
    • Combat Support Unit - Edinburgh
    • Combat Support Unit - Ohakea
    • Combat Support Unit - Auckland
  • Health Services Wing
    • No. 1 Air Transportable Health Squadron (RAAF Amberley)
    • No. 2 Air Transportable Health Squadron (RAAF Williamtown)
    • No. 3 Combat Support Hospital (RAAF Richmond)

RAAF AircraftEdit

RAAF Aircraft Chart 2

F-15E Strike EagleEdit

After twenty years of service, the need to replace the F-111C emerged. The F-111C had served well as Australia's premier strike aircraft, but was becoming old and increasingly difficult and costly to maintain. The RAAF examined four options, the Tornado IDS from Panavia in Western Europe, the F-15E Strike Eagle from Boeing in the United States, the F-16XL from General Dynamics in the United States, and an upgrade of the F-111C to be carried out in Australia. The Tornado had been previously considered by the RAAF in its ADV form as a replacement for the F-4 Phantom, and Panavia made an unsolicited offer of the IDS as an F-111 replacement. The F-111 upgrade option was rejected quickly because of the cost and technical risk of operating a unique variant. The F-15E won out because of its performance in the Gulf War, commonality with the F-15C and the USAF's Strike Eagles, and its better overall capability.

The Government ordered 36 Strike Eagles, all of which were made in the United States. The first batch were delivered in 1993, and the remainder were delivered by 1995. All are based at RAAF Amberley near Ipswich, Queensland. Australia's Strike Eagles are somewhat different to US Strike Eagles. It uses the General Electric F110, and is fitted for more weapons including the AGM-84 Harpoon, and the AGM-84E SLAM. Their avionics are also different, having extensive sea search, and target recognition capabilities. Australian Strike Eagles use an in-flight refueling probe made by GE Aviation. Countermeasures installations are identical to the Israeli F-15I, with additional dispensers on the tail booms. In the cockpit, the Up Front Controller is replaced by a touch panel. The Israeli Elbit Systems DASH III helmet-mounted display is also integrated.

The reconnaissance capability of the RF-111 is replaced by the Condor reconnaissance pod from Israel. Uniquely, the RAAF's F-15Es can use the AGM-88 HARM missile. Australian F-15Es carry an emitter location system. The Sky Shield Support Jamming Pod provides an excellent electronic attack capability.

The RAAF's Strike Eagles are receiving upgrades including the AN/APG-82 AESA radar. New weapons such as ASRAAM, JSOW, and JASSM are being integrated.


F-15 EagleEdit

The RAAF's premier air defence aircraft is the Boeing F-15K/M Eagle. The RAAF operates two squadrons of F-15 Eagles, plus an Operational Conversion Unit. The F-15 was ordered in 1984 as part of a project to replace the RAAF's fighter force which had until then consisted of F-4E Phantoms and Mirage IIIs. Both aircraft were becoming obsolete, and the Government followed the RAAF's recommendation of replacing them type for type, rather than altering the force structure. The RAAF ordered fifty modified F-15K/M Eagles which were to be assembled in Australia by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation. The size and massive cost of the purchase made it controversial, as did the protests from Indonesia.

The F-15 Eagle entered RAAF service in 1987. The F-15K and F-15M are based on the F-15C and F-15D respectively. They differ from American F-15Cs and F-15Ds in several ways. The first is the use of the APG-70 radar. Many of the avionics and secondary systems are of Australian origin. The cockpit is based on that of the F-15E Strike Eagle.

The RAAF's F-15 Eagles have seen combat in the skies over Iraq and Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm, shooting down one MiG-29 and three Mirage F1s.

The F-15 Eagle force recently been upgraded. The upgrade program involves the airframe being zero-clocked as well as avionics upgrades. The aircraft have been fitted with GPS, Helmet Mounted Sight (currently the Israeli DASH, though the American JHMCS used on the F/A-18 may be adopted later), Link 16, and the APG-63(V)2 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. The radar sits in the centre of a new integrated avionics suite with two Common Integrated Processors. These take data from the radar, data link, GPS, IFF and, electronic warfare system, and turns these into graphical information in an easy to read format. It can receive information from the Wedgetail AEW aircraft, RAN Sea King AEW helicopters, and other F-15s. Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 engines are now being fitted in maintenance overhauls. They are among the most sophisticated F-15 Eagles in the world.

F-4E Phantom IIEdit

The RAAF originally adopted the F-4E Phantom II in 1970 as an interim strike aircraft for 82 Wing. 24 Phantoms were leased from the US Air Force in 1970 to replace the GAF Canberra in 82 Wing, and fill in while issues with Australia's F-111s were resolved. In 1973, these issues were resolved and F-111s were delivered to 82 Wing. The United States offered to sell Australia the Phantoms at very low prices in 1972. The government had decided that the Mirage IIIO did not provide sufficient air defence capability, and a new air defence fighter was needed. The Phantom was ideal. The government accepted the American offer, and ordered, and ordered 28 more to fill out the force, which would consist of 2 operational squadrons of 18 aircraft each, plus an operational conversion unit. 2 would go to ARDU. The Americans diverted Phantoms from their own stocks to fill RAAF requirements, and by mid 1974, the RAAF Phantom force was complete.

The RAAF's operational Phantom force was 76 Wing with two Squadrons. 78 Wing held what was initially called the Phantom Operational Conversion Unit, and later called 3OCU. Some of the Phantom crews from 82 Wing were transferred into the new OCU to train the new Phantom crews. Former Mirage III crew were transferred in to bring their air defence knowledge.

During the mid 1980s, the Phantoms received external refueling probes to interface with the new Boeing 707 tankers. The Phantoms were effectively removed from the force structure in late 1990, though a number remained in service until late 1991, allowing the RAAF's 70th Anniversary to be a "Pharewell to the Phantom".

KC-135R StratotankerEdit

During the 1980s, the Australian Government decided to procure a aerial tanker capability for the Australian Defence Force. Boeing 707 airliners, already serving as VIP transports and strategic airlifters were converted into tankers. These were highluy successful, and during the early 1990, the Liberal Democratic Government went one step further to buying a full tanker force. The Marshall Defence Ministry ordered 20 KC-135E Stratotankers in 1993. The KC-135R was preferred over more Boeing 707s due to the large and stable existing fleet of KC-135s, and the KC-135's flying boom refueling system (suitable for the F-111 and F-15). Apart from the ftting of Flight Refueling Limited (FRL) MK32B wing refueling pods, the aircraft were standard KC-135E Stratotankers. RAAF KC-135s often fly with a boom drogue adapter unit (popularly known as the "Iron Maiden")

The purchase was instantly condemned by the media and opposition due to the age of the aircraft, and was almost derailed due to Marshall's misunderstanding of the political landscape (he thought defence was geniunely bi-partisan). The service record of the KC-135 Stratotankers since then has been excellent. The RAAF's KC-135s were converted to KC-135R configuration in 2000, and have undergone the Pacer-CRAG program. The RAAF believes the aircraft can continue until 2040, however the aircraft are scheduled to be replaced by the Airbus KC-30 MRTT before 2020.

Boeing 707Edit

The RAAF operates 4 Boeing 707 aircraft. All are ex-QANTAS aircraft. The first two Boeing 707s were acquired for use as long-range VIP aircraft for the Royal Family and cabinet ministers. Two more were bought during the mid 1980s to act as strategic transports. During the late 1980s, the 707s were equipped with refueling pods. The Boeing 707s provided a training and basic operational capability for tanking in the RAAF. Twenty KC-135 tankers were acquired from the United States in 1993, but the 707s remained in operation until 2008.

Aerial WeaponsEdit


  • M61 Vulcan 20mm Cannon
  • ADEN 30mm Cannon
  • M2 QCHB 0.50 cal Heavy Machine Gun
  • M134 7.62mm Minigun
  • MAG 58 7.62mm GPMG

Air to Air MissilesEdit

  • AIM-132 ASRAAM
  • AIM-9M Sidewinder
  • AIM-120B/C-5 AMRAAM
  • AIM-7M Sparrow

Air to Ground MissilesEdit

  • AGM-65 Maverick
  • AGM-84 Harpoon
  • AGM-84E SLAM
  • AGM-88 HARM
  • AGM-114 Hellfire
  • AGM-142 Raptor
  • AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW)
  • AGM-158 JASSM

Unguided BombsEdit

  • Mk 82 500lb GP Bomb
  • Mk 83 1000lb GP Bomb
  • Mk 84 2000lb GP Bomb
  • Mark 77 750lb Incendiary Bomb
  • AS-1 25kt Nuclear Bomb (AN-52 derivative)
  • AS-2 70kt Nuclear Bomb (AN-22 derivative)

Optical/IR/Laser Guided BombsEdit

  • GBU-12 Paveway II 500lb Laser Guided Bomb
  • GBU-16 Paveway II 1000lb Laser Guided Bomb
  • GBU-10 Paveway II 2000lb Laser Guided Bomb
  • GBU-22 Paveway III 500lb Laser Guided Bomb
  • GBU-24 Paveway III 2000lb Laser Guided Bomb
  • GBU-27 Paveway III 2000lb Penetrating Laser Guided Bomb
  • GBU-28 Paveway III 4500lb Penetrating Laser Guided Bomb
  • GBU-15/B 2000lb EO/IIR Guided Bomb

GPS/INS Guided BombsEdit

  • EGBU-28 4500lb Penetrating Laser/GPS/INS Guided Bomb
  • GBU-38/B 500lb JDAM/JDAM-ER
  • GBU-32(V)1/B 1000lb JDAM/JDAM-ER
  • GBU-31C(V)1/B 2000lb JDAM/JDAM-ER
  • GBU-31C(V)3/B 2000lb Penetrating JDAM/JDAM-ER
  • GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb


  • Mk 60 CAPTOR
  • Mk 36 500lb Destructor Mine
  • Mk 40 1000lb Destructor Mine
  • Mk 41 2000lb Destructor Mine
  • MN103 - MANTA
  • Stonefish mine

Cluster BombsEdit

  • Karinga cluster Bomb
  • CBU-87 Combined Effects Munition
  • CBU-89/B GATOR Mine System
  • CBU-97 Sensor Fuzed Weapon
  • CBU-107 Passive Attack Weapon
  • Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser


  • CRV7


  • Mk 46
  • MU90

Airfield Defence GuardsEdit

The Airfield Defence Guards (ADG), commonly called "ADGies", are the Royal Australian Air Force's airfield security force. The Airfield Defence Guards' prime responsibility is the protection of the equipment, personnel, assets and facilities of the RAAF. They also have a counter-special forces role. Other duties include training other RAAF personnel in weapons handling and infantry tactics. Commissioned officers of the ADG, known as Ground Defence Officers, receive training at the Australian Army's Royal Military College, Duntroon and receive very little RAAF-specific training.

The ADG also aid in the training of special forces in capturing airfields by providing a difficult opponent.

Part of Combat Support Group, the ADG are organised into three squadrons, and from these Base Defence Detachments are formed at each RAAF Base.

Airfield Defence Guards attend a 15-week training course at the RAAF Security and Fire School at RAAF Amberley, QLD, and after graduation are entitled to wear a special blue beret.

Tasks of the RAAF ADGEdit

  • Patrolling over extended periods over arduous terrain and in extreme climatic conditions carrying a specified load necessary to accomplish the mission;
  • Foot and vehicle patrolling by day and by night in and around both established and bare base airfields and through vegetated or urban environments in all extremities of weather conditions and locations within or outside of Australia;
  • Aircraft Security Operations providing protection to both aircraft and infrastructure;
  • Construction of field defences and obstacles such as weapon pits and bunkers, fences and road blocks;
  • Searches and clearance operations;
  • Manning of crew served weapons such as machine guns and anti-armour weapons; and
  • Instruction of airmen on small arms such as rifle, shotguns and machine guns.

Equipment of the ADGEdit

Small ArmsEdit

  • 22px-Flag_of_Belgium_(civil).svg.png L9A1 Browning Hi-Power Pistol
  • 22px-Flag_of_Austria.svg.png / Ausflag F88 Austeyr Rifle
    • 22px-Flag_of_Austria.svg.png / Ausflag F88C Carbine
    • 22px-Flag_of_Austria.svg.png / Ausflag F88S Austeyr Rifle
    • 22px-Flag_of_Austria.svg.png / Ausflag F88S-A1C Carbine
    • 22px-Flag_of_Austria.svg.png / Ausflag F88 GLA Rifle/Grenade Launcher Attachment
  • 22px-Flag_of_Germany.svg.png Heckler und Koch MP5 Submachine Gun
  • 22px-Flag_of_Belgium_(civil).svg.png / Ausflag F89 Minimi Light Machine Gun
  • 22px-Flag_of_Belgium_(civil).svg.png MAG 58 General Purpose Machine Gun
  • 22px-Flag_of_the_United_States.svg.png Remington 870 Shotgun
  • 22px-Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom.svg.png SR-98 Sniper Rifle
  • 22px-Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom.svg.png AW50F Anti-Material Rifle
  • 22px-Flag_of_the_United_States.svg.png 66 mm Short-Range Anti-Armour Weapon
  • 22px-Flag_of_Sweden.svg.png 84mm M2 Carl Gustav Medium Range Anti-Armour Weapon (MRAAW)
  • 22px-Flag_of_Sweden.svg.png 84mm M3 Carl Gustav Medium Range Anti-Armour Weapon (MRAAW)

Support WeaponsEdit

  • Ausflag F1 Fragmentation Hand Grenade
  • 22px-Flag_of_the_United_States.svg.png M18 Claymore mine
  • 22px-Flag_of_the_United_States.svg.png / 22px-Flag_of_Belgium_(civil).svg.png M2HB-QCB Heavy Machine Gun
  • 22px-Flag_of_the_United_States.svg.png M203-PI Grenade Launcher
  • 22px-Flag_of_the_United_States.svg.png Mk 19 Automatic Grenade Launcher
  • 22px-Flag_of_the_United_States.svg.png FGM-148 Javelin
  • 22px-Flag_of_France.svg.png / 22px-Flag_of_Germany.svg.png Milan Anti Tank Missile (Being replaced with Javelin)
  • 22px-Flag_of_Sweden.svg.png RBS-70


  • 22px-Flag_of_Japan.svg.png Yamaha XT 600 motorcycle
  • 22px-Flag_of_Japan.svg.png Honda XR250 motorcycle
  • 22px-Flag_of_the_United_States.svg.png Polaris 4x4 quad bike
  • 22px-Flag_of_the_United_States.svg.png Polaris 6-wheel bike
  • Ausflag Land Rover Perentie
    • Landrover Quick Reaction Vehicle
  • 22px-Flag_of_Germany.svg.png Unimog
  • Ausflag Bushmaster IMV

Royal New Zealand Air ForceEdit


In 1988, the people of New Zealand voted to become a state of Australia. This necessitated the integration of the NZDF into the ADF. Air Force integration was the task of the RAAF/RNZAF Integration Office. It had the tasks of finding what equipment in the RNZAF was useful to the ADF, disposing of that which was not, and fitting RNZAF personnel into the ADF. Some of the RNZAF's equipment and personnel went to other services, for example the RNZAF's UH-1 helicopters, with the personnel attached were appointed to the Australian Army to serve along side Australia's UH-1's. Salary differences were a key issue, with ADF salaries being slightly lower than NZDF at the time (though the lower cost of living in Australia somewhat compensated), there was a need to maintain morale among the New Zealand personnel, as well as prevent resentment among Australians for the more highly paid New Zealanders. Salaries were to be levelled after five years.

New Zealand's Air Combat Force of 2 Squadrons of A-4K Skyhawks, and 1 Squadron of Aermacchi MB.339's fitted into the RAAF. The A-4K's returned to Nowra initially (then the force split between Pearce and Williamtown), and served as ground attack aircraft, and Surface to Air Warfare Trainers for the Army and Navy (the role is essentially to act as a live target for training Army artillerymen, and Navy air defence ships. Needless to say no live rounds are fired!). The MB.339's were used as test aircraft, and an interim fast jet trainer alongside the RAAF's MB.326H's. They were retired from the pilot training role when the RAAF acquired BAe Hawk Mk. 127's. They now serve as aggressors, air defence trainers, test aircraft, and aerobatic display aircraft (the RNZAF Red Checkers). All retain their original RNZAF markings, though ARDU aircraft carry ARDU unit markings.

The maritime patrol squadron (its P-3K Orions being upgraded to Australian standards) was added to the two Australian squadrons, and its C-130 Hercules (along with 7 more acquired from the US) used to form an additional RAAF Squadron. The RNZAF's Boeing 727 transports were used in the VIP role in order to free-up RAAF Boeing 707 aircraft for refueling duties. The 727s continued in that role until 2002, when they were replaced by Boeing Business Jets.

The rest of the RNZAF's equipment was either sold or scrapped.


Standard RAAF Roundel for non-tactical aircraft (still used on most F/A-18s as well)
Fin flash for non-tactical aircraft
Grey RAAF Roundel for tactical aircraft (F-15, some F/A-18s, Hawk, AP-3C, C-130J-30) and Fleet Air Arm aircraft
RAAF Roundel Black
Black RAAF Roundel for tactical aircraft (F-15E, C-17, C-130H, Caribou), tactical vehicles, and Army aircraft
N.B. Kangaroo always faces aircraft nose
Roundel used by the RNZAF Red Checkers


The RAAF has two basic uniforms, an all weather Service Dress uniform, and Disruptive Pattern Camouflage Uniform. There are also specialist uniforms, and specialist variations on uniforms. A blue cotton Combined Working Dress is also on issue, but is being withdrawn in favour of DPCU.

The Service Dress uniform is based on the uniform of the Royal Air Force. The main distinctions are the colour (Air Force Blue, or Midnight Blue), and the shoulder title "AUSTRALIA". The Cool Weather version uses either a Jacket or a pullover over shirt and tie. Warm Weather discards the jacket, and Hot Weather uses a short sleeved shirt. With medals, and arms, the SD uniform becomes Ceremonial Dress. Service Dress is the primary working dress for anyone working in an "office" environment. With a vest, it is used by aircrew on VIP flights (on all other flights, the aircrew wear flying dress). Ground Defence Officers, and Airfield Defence Guards wear a blue grey beret. Tropical Dress is a short khaki uniform worn as a substitute for Service Dress in hot environments.

RAAF Service Dress Uniform
RAAF Tropical Dress Uniform

DPCU (or DPDU where appropriate) is the primary working dress of all ground musterings not in an office role.

Rank InsigniaEdit

Service DressEdit





Flying DressEdit

















The RAAF Ensign is the flag of the Royal Australian Air Force. It is flown on all RAAF establishments, RAAF units on ceremonial occasions march under it, and is worn by all RAAF personnel on Flying Dress, Working Dress, Disruptive Pattern Combat Uniform, and Disruptive Pattern Desert Uniform inside Australia (outside Australia, the Australian National Flag is worn) on the right arm with the Union Flag facing forward.

The FutureEdit

The 1990's and early 2000's saw the RAAF in an effort to "future proof" itself. It embarked on plans to renew its tactical transport force, tanker force, fighter forces, and training force. The RAAF also created new capabilities including UAV's, special operations aviation, and strategic heavy airlift.

The RAAF is now in a position that is respectable. It is the most powerful air force in the Southern Hemisphere, except for Brazil, however it still needs new aircraft, including a new maritime patrol aircraft.

Historical GalleryEdit


Dassault Mirage IIIO


GAF Canberra B.20 over South Vietnam


RNZAF Douglas A-4K Skyhawk, USAF F-16A Fighting Falcon, and RAAF Dassault Mirage IIIO


CAC Avon-Sabre

F 111 A8 109 113.sized

F-111Cs pictured in the 1970s

ABP 2A1 49

Hawker Demon, a RAAF fighter of the 1930s

A7 032 054 021 026 046 13th February 1985

Aermacchi MB 326Hs of the Roulettes

GC 2A97 205

C-130A Hercules, the start of a tradition of RAAF Hercules flying

RAAF 2A9 102

DAP Beaufort, a WW2 torpedo bomber. Australia made 700 Beauforts during WW2

RAAF 000 147 398 1 A3 2 a R Bennell 1JAN97

Mirage IIIO of ARDU, it the attractive "Fanta can" scheme

A2 773

UH-1H Bushranger firing on a target in Vietnam. Before 1989, Hueys were operated by the RAAF

KittyHawk P-40Ms 76SQN RAAF

P-40 Kittyhawks. The P-40 was Australia's most important fighter during WW2

IS 2A77 570

Gloster Meteors on the flightline at Kimpo Air Base, Korea

Boeing 707 A20 261 Canberra February 1999

Boeing 707 tanker/transport

IM 2A89 273y

P-2 Neptune

Lockheed C 130E Hercules 2 RAAF A97 172 Yeovilton 3 6 94.sized

A RAAF C-130E Hercules


A RNZAF P-3B Orion. This aircraft is now serving as a TAP-3C

IS 2A73 62

GAF Lincoln, a bomber converted into a maritime reconnaissance aircraft

RAAF meteor

Gloster Meteors

CA-27 Sabre

CAC Avon-Sabre


Australian Defence Force
Risingsun3 Australian Army | RAAFBadge Royal Australian Air Force | Navylogo Royal Australian Navy
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.