Royal Australian Air Force
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), formed in March 1921, is the aerial warfare branch of the Australian Defence Force (ADF). 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. It directly continues the traditions of the Australian Flying Corps (AFC), formed on 22 October 1912. 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 took part in many of the 20th century's major conflicts. During the early years of the Second World War a number of RAAF bomber, fighter, reconnaissance and other squadrons served in Britain, and with the Desert Air Force located in North Africa and the Mediterranean. From 1942, many RAAF units were formed in Australia, and fought in South West Pacific Area. Thousands of Australians also served with other Commonwealth air forces in Europe, including during the bomber offensive against Germany. 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.
Later the RAAF served in the Berlin Airlift, Korean War, Malayan Emergency, Indonesia–Malaysia Confrontation and Vietnam War. More recently, the RAAF has participated in operations in East Timor, the Iraq War, the War in Afghanistan, and the military intervention against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The RAAF has 259 aircraft, of which 110 are combat aircraft.
- 1 History
- 2 Women in the RAAF
- 3 Ranks and uniform
- 4 Roundel
- 5 Badge
- 6 Current strength
- 7 Roulettes
- 8 Future procurement
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
The 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 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".
First World WarEdit
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 protecting British oil interests 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 Australian Air Corps (AAC) was formed. The Australian Air Force was formed on 31 March 1921. King George V approved the prefix "Royal" in June 1921 and became effective on 31 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.
Second World WarEdit
Europe and the MediterraneanEdit
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.
Service since 1945Edit
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 1950–53, 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 1950–60, 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 1964–72, 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 Flying Officer Michael Herbert and Pilot Officer Robert Carver 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.
Military airlifts were conducted for a number of purposes in the intervening 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, a 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.
Women in the RAAFEdit
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.
Ranks and uniformEdit
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.
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.
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 imperial 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.
As of June 2018, the RAAF had 14,313 permanent full-time personnel and 5,499 part-time active reserve personnel.
|ASRAAM||United Kingdom||IR guided missile||200 units|
|AIM-120 AMRAAM||United States||beyond-visual-range missile||360 units|
|AIM-9 Sidewinder||United States||1297 units of which 47 were 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|
|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|
|Mark 46 torpedo||United States||anti-sub weapon||250|
|AGM-84 Harpoon||United States||305|
Current flying squadronsEdit
|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 PC9/A (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, Bombardier Challenger 604 (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 – McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A Hornet (Multi-Role Fighter)|
|No. 76 Squadron – BAE Systems Hawk 127 (Lead-in Fighter Training/ADF Support)|
|No. 77 Squadron – McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A Hornet (Multi-Role Fighter)|
|No. 79 Squadron – BAE Systems Hawk 127 (Hawk Conversion/ADF Support)|
|No. 285 Squadron – Lockheed C-130H/C-130J-30 Hercules (C-130 Conversion)|
|No. 292 Squadron – Lockheed AP-3C Orion (AP-3C Conversion)|
|CFS – Pacific Aerospace CT4B, Pilatus PC9/A (Flying Instructor Training), Pilatus PC-21|
|ADFBFTS – Pacific Aerospace CT4B (Basic Tri-Service Flying Training)|
|No. 2 FTS – Pilatus PC9/A (Advanced RAAF and RAN Flying Training), Pilatus PC-21|
|No. 2 OCU – McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A/B Hornet (F/A-18A Conversion)|
|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|
|ATW – Flying Training|
|DTWG – Aerospace Systems Development|
|CSCC – Combat Support Coordination|
|GTW – Ground Training|
|HSW – Health Operations|
|IWD – Information Warfare and Intelligence|
|RAAFCOL – Ab initio, career development, promotion and leadership training|
Force Element GroupsEdit
- Current force element groups
- Air Combat Group – air combat capability
- Air Mobility Group – air lift and aerial refuelling capability
- Air Warfare Centre – information warfare, intelligence and capability development
- Combat Support Group – combat support and air base operations capability
- Surveillance and Response Group – surveillance and reconnaissance capability
- Air Force Training Group – air force training capability and development
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-9 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:
- Up to 100 Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II (CTOL variant)—are scheduled to be delivered from 2020. In a first stage not fewer than 72 aircraft will be acquired to equip three operational squadrons. The remaining aircraft will be acquired in conjunction with the withdrawal of the F/A-18F Super Hornets after 2020 to ensure no gap in Australia's overall air combat capability occurs. On 25 November 2009, Australia committed to placing a first order for 14 aircraft at a cost of A$3.2 billion with deliveries to begin in 2014. In May 2012, the decision to purchase 12 F-35s from the initial 14 order was deferred until 2014 as part of wider ADF procurement deferments to balance the Federal Government budget. On 23 April 2014, Australia confirmed the purchase of 58 F-35A Lightning II fighters in addition to the 14 already ordered. Up to a further 28 more aircraft may be acquired. The first two Australian F-35A Lightning II fighters were rolled out in July 2014, and began flying training flights with the USAF 61st Fighter Squadron in December 2014.
- Eight Boeing P-8 Poseidon to replace the Lockheed AP-3C Orions. A further seven to be purchased and brought into service by the late 2020s, bringing the total number of aircraft to fifteen.
- Six MQ-4C unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to expand the surveillance of Australia's maritime approaches, with the possibility of purchasing a seventh air frame. The drones will cost approximately A$6.9 billion over their entire life-time, with the fleet expected to be in service by late 2025. They will be based at RAAF Base Edinburgh however will regularly conduct missions from RAAF Base Tindal.
- Forty-nine Pilatus PC-21 training aircraft under Project AIR 5428.
- Two more KC-30As, one in full VIP configuration. The Australian Government is also looking at a further two to support the incoming P-8A fleet, which would bring the total number of aircraft to nine.
- The RAAF has shown interest in acquiring armed unmanned drones. Air Marshal Geoff Brown stated that "it is certainly something we have put forward" and that the Reaper was one of the force's highest priorities. As of February 2015 six ADF personnel are currently training on the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper in two USAF bases. The RAAF is willing to spend A$300 million on the platform and is believed to be preparing to purchase eight drones and two ground stations. In March 2017, it was reported that the acquisition program had been singled down to two UAV platforms: the MQ-9 Reaper and the IAI Heron. In September 2017, IAI accused the Australian government of giving preferential treatment to General Atomics. In November 2018, the Defence Minister Christoper Pyne announced that Australia would purchase between 12 and 16 MQ-9s though the variant of aircraft hasn't been decided yet.
- A$4–5 billion project to replace the RAAFs 33 Hawk lead-in fighter trainers announced in the 2016 Defence White Paper. The project has a timeframe of 2022 to 2033.
- Four new Surveillance aircraft, based on the Gulfstream G550, in a A$2.5 billion procurement; this will be known as the MC-55 Peregrine.
- Australian Air Traffic Control
- Airfield Defence Guards
- Australian Air Force Cadets
- Australian Defence Force ranks and insignia
- Royal Australian Air Force Maritime Section
- Royal Australian Air Force VIP aircraft
- List of aircraft of the Royal Australian Air Force
- List of Royal Australian Air Force aircraft squadrons
- List of Royal Australian Air Force independent aircraft flights
- List of Royal Australian Air Force installations
- List of ships of the Royal Australian Air Force
- List of air forces
Memorials and Museums:
- "Current aircraft". Royal Australian Navy. Archived from the original on 27 April 2018. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
- "Aviation projects". Australian Army. Archived from the original on 10 April 2018. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
- "Australian Military Aviation and World War One". Royal Australian Air Force. Archived from the original on 30 September 2009. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
- Barnes 2000, p. 3.
- Eather 1995, p. 18.
- "Australian Military Aviation and World War One". Royal Australian Air Force. Archived from the original on 23 June 2010. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
- "Australian Flying Corps". Australian War Memorial. Archived from the original on 26 September 2013. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
- Dennis et al 2008, pp. 61–62.
- Grey 1999, pp. 114–115.
- Beaumont 2001, p. 214.
- "RAAF Museum Point Cook". Royal Australian Air Force. Archived from the original on 22 June 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
- "RAAF – The Inter-war years 1921 to 1939". Royal Australian Air Force. Archived from the original on 12 June 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
- Dr. Leo Niehorster. "Royal Australian Air Force, 03.09.1939". Orbat.com. Archived from the original on 10 August 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Explore: 'The Angry Sky'". Department of Veterans' Affairs. Archived from the original on 11 July 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2009.
- Dennis et al 2008, p. 277.
- Stephens 2006, p. 96.
- Armstrong, p. 44.
- Armstrong, p. 45.
- "Chemical Warfare in Australia". Geoff Plunkett. Archived from the original on 11 September 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2009.
- Dennis et al 2008, p. 81.
- Taylor and Taylor 1978, p. 48.
- "Consolidated B24 Liberator". Australian War Memorial. Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
- "North American P51 Mustang". Australian War Memorial. Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
- Sandler 2001, pp. 21–22
- Sandler 2001, p. 22.
- "467 Squadron RAAF". Second World War, 1939–1945 units. Australian War Memorial. Archived from the original on 25 September 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
- Eather 1996, p. xv.
- Eather 1996, p. 38.
- Eather 1996, p. 162.
- Eather 1996, pp. 172–183
- Millar 1969, pp. 114–115.
- Dennis et al 2008, pp. 150–151.
- Eather 1996, pp. 40–77.
- Coulthard-Clark 1995, p. 215.
- Coulthard-Clark 1995, p. 351.
- Barnes 2000, p. 5.
- Tony Holmes, 'RAAF Hornets at War' in Australian Aviation, January/February 2006, No. 224. pp. 38–39.
- "Mission complete on wings of a dream craft". Adelaide Now. Archived from the original on 1 January 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- Thomas, Sally (23 May 2013). Address by Her Honour the Honourable Sally Thomas AM (PDF) (Speech). Parade for Number 114 Mobile Control Reporting Unit. RAAF Base, Darwin. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
- "Aussies to take Afghan plane control". The Sydney Morning Herald. 19 July 2007. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 25 February 2010.
- "Australia extends Heron mission in southern Afghanistan" (Press release). Department of Defence. 11 December 2013. Archived from the original on 12 February 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
- "RAAF Air Task Group Arrives in Middle East" (Press release). Department of Defence. 24 September 2014. Archived from the original on 28 September 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
- "Australian Air Task Group commences operational missions over Iraq". Department of Defence. 2 October 2014. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- Katharine Murphy, deputy political editor (14 August 2014). "Australian troops complete first humanitarian mission in northern Iraq". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 14 August 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2014.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- Wroe, David (31 August 2014). "SAS to Protect Crews on Arms Drops in Iraq". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney: Fairfax Media. ISSN 0312-6315. Archived from the original on 4 September 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
- "ADF delivers fourth arms shipment to Iraq" (Press release). Department of Defence. 17 September 2014. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
- "ADF delivers fifth shipment to Iraq" (Press release). Department of Defence. 26 September 2014. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
- "Australian spy planes to fly over Philippines in IS fight". ABC News. 23 June 2017. Archived from the original on 26 June 2017. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
- Williams, Jacqueline; Villamor, Felipe (23 June 2017). "Australia to Send Spy Planes to Help Philippines Recapture Marawi". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 27 June 2017. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
- Valente, Catherine (24 June 2017). "Australia sending spy planes to Marawi" Archived 27 June 2017 at the Wayback Machine. The Manila Times. Retrieved 25 June 2017. "As soon as the AFP and the Australian military finalize operational details, the AP-3C Orion aircraft [of Australia] "will immediately assist in the ongoing operations" in Marawi City, he added."
- Dennis et al 2008, p. 605.
- "Breaking the fast jet ceiling". Australian Aviation. 8 March 2018. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
- "Australia's first female fighter pilots graduate". Australian Aviation. 17 December 2017. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
- Grey 2008, p. 132.
- "The Australian Air Corps". Military History and Heritage Victoria. Archived from the original on 11 October 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- "Air Force Ranks". About the RAAF. Royal Australian Air Force. Archived from the original on 9 October 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- Williams, Air Marshal Sir Richard, These are the Facts, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1977.
- "'Air Force blue' uniform re-introduced into the RAAF". Air Power Development Centre. Royal Australian Air Force. Archived from the original on 13 October 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- "Air Force General Purpose Uniform". About the RAAF. Royal Australian Air Force. Archived from the original on 9 October 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- "Air Force Roundel". About the RAAF. Royal Australian Air Force. Archived from the original on 23 June 2018. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
- Coleman Jersey, Stanley. "Hell's Islands:The Untold Story of Guadalcanal". Google Books. Archived from the original on 23 June 2018. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
- Austin, Steven. "Picture of the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A Hornet aircraft". Airliners.net. Archived from the original on 11 October 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- "Royal Australian Air Force Badge". Australian Department of Defence. Archived from the original on 1 July 2010. Retrieved 25 February 2010.
- Defence Issues 2014 (PDF). Commonwealth of Australia. p. 29. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 September 2014. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
- "Defence Connect". Flightglobal Insight. 2019. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
- "F-35 fighters arrive on Australian soil". defensenews.com. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
- "RAAF to get four modified Gulfstream G550s for electronic warfare support". Australian Aviation. 18 March 2019. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
- "RAAF Realigns King Air Squadrons".
- "Boeing BBJ". airforce.gov.au. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
- "New Dassault Falcon 7X special aircraft arrive". defence.gov.au. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
- "CHC introduces half dozen AW139s for RAAF work". Business Air News. 11 March 2019. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
- "PC-9/A". Technology. Royal Australian Air Force. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- Tarabay, Jamie (26 June 2018). "Australia invests in unmanned spy drones to fly over South China Sea". CNN. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
- Wroe, David (15 November 2018). "Australia to buy armed Reaper drones in shift towards pilotless future". The Age. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
- Pittaway, Nigel (16 November 2018). "Australia makes its pick for drone fleet". Defense News. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
- Trade Registers Archived 13 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Armstrade.sipri.org. Retrieved on 2017-12-23.
- "Air Force Roulettes". Royal Australian Air Force. Archived from the original on 8 October 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- "Roulettes". Aerobatic Teams.net. Archived from the original on 11 October 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- Walters, Patrick."Kevin Rudd signs off on purchase of 14 F-35 joint strike fighters." The Australian, 25 November 2009. Retrieved: 16 December 2009.
- "More Defence news: 23 November 2009 – 29 November 2009". Australian Defence Force Media. 27 November 2009. Archived from the original on 11 November 2012. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
- Nicholson, Brendan (4 May 2012). "$4bn stripped from Defence". The Australia. Archived from the original on 8 May 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
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.
- Mclaughlin, Andrew (22 April 2014). "Australia to confirm 58-aircraft F-35 order". flightglobal.com. Reed Business Information. Archived from the original on 24 April 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
- Waldron, Greg (23 April 2014). "Australia confirms A$12.4bn F-35 order". flightglobal.com. Reed Business Information. Archived from the original on 24 April 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
- "Australia's new F-35 Lightning fighter jet rolls out to rock music". The Australian. 25 July 2014. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
- Cenciotti, David (19 December 2014). "First Australian F-35 has arrived for training at Luke Air Force Base". The Aviationist. Archived from the original on 20 December 2014. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
- "Abbott government to spend $4b on new patrol aircraft". Canberra Times. 21 February 2014. Archived from the original on 8 April 2014. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
- 2016 Defence White Paper (PDF). Australia: Commonwealth of Australia. 2016. p. 94. ISBN 978-0-9941680-5-4. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 April 2016. Retrieved 25 February 2016.
- Yaxley, Louise (26 June 2018). "New Air Force spy drones to monitor South China Sea, fleet of six planes to cost $7 billion". ABC News (Australia). Archived from the original on 27 June 2018. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
- "Remotely Piloted Unmanned Aircraft Systems MQ-4C Triton". Department of Defence (Australia). August 2017. Archived from the original on 29 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
- "Lockheed's "Team 21" finally confirmed as AIR 5428 winning bidder | Australian Aviation". australianaviation.com.au. Archived from the original on 19 September 2015. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
- "Prime Minister Tony Abbott to fly worldwide non-stop on Airbus KC-30A". news.com.au. News Corp Australia. 14 August 2014. Archived from the original on 29 September 2015.
- "RAAF commences Reaper training". Australian Aviation. australianaviation.com.au. 23 February 2015. Archived from the original on 23 February 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
- McPhedran, Ian (24 February 2015). "The Australian government is about to spend $300 million on self-piloted killer drones". news.com.au. News Corp Australia Network. Archived from the original on 23 August 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
- McCallum, Nicholas (25 February 2015). "RAAF wants $300m for attack drones". 9news.com.au. ninemsn. Archived from the original on 25 February 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
- Greene, Andrew (7 March 2017). "Deadly drones in spotlight as Defence weighs future options". ABC News (Australia). Archived from the original on 7 March 2017. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
- Greene, Andrew (2 September 2017). "Defence accused by Israeli company of lack of transparency over Reaper drone deal with US". ABC News (Australia). Archived from the original on 2 September 2017. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
- "New project to replace RAAF Hawk lead-in fighters". Australian Aviation. australianaviation.com.au. 26 February 2016. Archived from the original on 27 February 2016. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
- Allison, George (21 March 2019). "Australia to purchase MC-55A 'Peregrine' electronic warfare aircraft". UK Defence Journal. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
- Armstrong, John. "History of the RAAF: 20 Years of Warfighting 1939–1959, Part 2". Air Power International. Strike Publications. 4 (6): 42–48. ISSN 1326-1533.
- Barnes, Norman (2000). The RAAF and the Flying Squadrons. St Leonards, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-130-2.
- Beaumont, Joan (2001). Australian Defence: Sources and Statistics. The Australian Centenary History of Defence. Volume VI. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-554118-9.
- Coulthard-Clark, Chris (1995). The RAAF in Vietnam. Australian Air Involvement in the Vietnam War 1962–1975. The Official History of Australia's Involvement in Southeast Asian Conflicts 1948–1975. Volume Four. Sydney: Allen and Unwin in association with the Australian War Memorial. ISBN 1-86373-305-1.
- Dennis, Peter; Grey, Jeffrey; Morris, Ewan; Prior, Robin; Bou, Jean (2008). The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History (2nd ed.). Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-551784-2.
- Eather, Steve (1995). Flying Squadrons of the Australian Defence Force. Weston Creek, Australian Capital Territory: Aerospace Publications. ISBN 1-875671-15-3.
- Eather, Steve (1996). Odd Jobs: RAAF Operations in Japan, the Berlin Airlift, Korea, Malaya and Malta, 1946–1960. RAAF Williams, Victoria: RAAF Museum. ISBN 0-642-23482-5.
- Grey, Jeffrey (1999). A Military History of Australia (2nd ed.). Port Melbourne: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-64483-6.
- Grey, Jeffrey (2008). A Military History of Australia (3rd ed.). Port Melbourne, Victoria: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-69791-0.
- Millar, Thomas Bruce (1969). Australia's Defence (2nd ed.). Carlton: Melbourne University Press. OCLC 614049220.
- McLaughlin, Andrew (June 2010). "Dingo Airlines". Australian Aviation. No. 272. pp. 40–43. ISSN 0813-0876.
- Moclair, Tony; McLaughlin, Andrew (2014). Hornet Country. Fyshwick, ACT: Phantom Media. ISBN 9780992343200.
- Pittaway, Nigel (March 2010). "ADF pilot training under contract". Defence Today. Amberley: Strike Publications. 8 (2): 20–21. ISSN 1447-0446.
- Sandler, Stanley (2001). World War II in the Pacific: An Encyclopedia. Military History of the United States Series. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9780815318835.
- Stephens, Alan (2006) . The Royal Australian Air Force: A History. London: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-555541-4.
- Taylor, Michael John Haddrick; Taylor, John William Ransom (1978). Encyclopedia of Aircraft. New York: Putnam. ISBN 0399122176.
- Ashworth, Norman (1999). How Not To Run An Air Force! The Higher Command of the Royal Australian Air Force During the Second World War. Australia: Royal Australian Air Force Air Power Development Centre. ISBN 0-642-26550-X.
- McPhedran, Ian (2011). Air Force: Inside the New era of Australian Air Power. Australia: Harper Collins Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7322-9025-2.
- Royal Australian Air Force (September 2013). The Air Power Manual - 6th Edition. Canberra: Department of Defence, Air Power Development Centre. ISBN 978-1-9208-0090-1.
reprinted with corrections May 2014.