Thursday, 31 March 2022

Happy Birthday RAAF

            Today the RAAF turns 101 years old. 


Founded in 1921, their history has been one of duty, dedication and sacrifice. More than 360,000 Australians have served with them over the last century - and more than 11,000 have died in service. Their commitment and sacrifice will never be forgotten. Today, all who proudly wear their uniform carry a deep sense of duty to serve our nation, protect its people, and to safeguard its future for the generations that will follow us Then, Now. Always. 

RAAF Time Line

31st March 1921
The Australian Air Force (AAF) is formed
The formation of the Australian Air Force was announced in the Australian Government Gazette on 31 March 1921. Later in the year on 13 August, following receipt of approval from the King, the Governor General signed an order authorising the use of ‘Royal’ making this the start date for the use of the Royal Australian Air Force name.
RAAF Point Cook is located on the shores of Port Phillip Bay, 20 kilometres south west of the Melbourne central business district, near the township of Werribee, Victoria and is synonymous with the birth of military aviation in Australia.

10th January 1922
First Air Force non-technical training course graduates
Around 240 Officers and Airmen complete three months of training.

15th June 1922
Aircraft production begins in Australia with the Avro 504K
Avro 504K trainer became the first aircraft built in Australia for the RAAF.

19th May 1924
First round Australia aerial survey flight
First round Australia aerial survey flight by Air Force’s acting Chief of the Air Staff, Wing Commander S.J. (‘Jimmy’) Goble, and pilot, Flying Officer Ivor McIntyre.

1st July 1925
Establishment of RAAF Base Richmond
RAAF Base Richmond lies approximately 50 kilometres north-west of Sydney, and is situated between the towns of Richmond, from which the base takes its name, and Windsor. Richmond was activated as a RAAF station when No. 3 (Composite) Squadron’s first 3 aircraft arrived there on 30 June 1925, as part of the unit’s relocation from Point Cook, Victoria.

1st March 1926
Establishment of RAAF Base Laverton (RAAF Base Williams - Laverton)
RAAF Williams - Laverton is located beside the Princes Highway next to the Laverton railway station, Victoria, about seven kilometres away from RAAF Base Point Cook. Since the airfield was decommissioned in 1996 there have been no flying units or flying activity at Laverton.

20th April 1936
Formation of Nos 21 and 22 Squadrons
Nos 21 and 22 Squadrons were raised as ‘Cadre’ units at Laverton, Victoria and Richmond, NSW respectively,

10th March 1938
Establishment of RAAF Base Pearce
RAAF Base Pearce was officially granted station status on 6 February 1939 and is located in the suburb of Bullsbrook, approximately 35 kilometres north of Perth, Western Australia. The base, the only permanent RAAF base on the west coast is home to No. 79 Squadron, No. 2 Flying Training School and No. 25 (City of Perth) Squadron as well as several other units, including No. 130 Squadron of the Republic of Singapore Air Force.

1st June 1940
Establishment of RAAF Base Darwin
Formed in June 1940, RAAF Base Darwin was very rapidly at the front line of Australia's defence at the outbreak of war in the Pacific. Darwin and its satellite fields housed a multitude of Australian and US units, operating throughout the South-West Pacific.

17th June 1940
Establishment of RAAF Base Amberley
RAAF Base Amberley commenced operations on 17 June 1940 with its initial role being a centre for flying training and recruiting.

31st July 1940
Establishment of RAAF Base Wagga Wagga
The origins of the Base are traced back to May 1939 when Prime Minister Robert Menzies announced that Forest Hill would become the site of the RAAF’s new flying school (No. 2 Service Flying Training School).

15th October 1940
Establishment of RAAF Base Townsville
In 1939, Townsville City Council transferred the city airport to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). RAAF Base Townsville was formed on 15 October 1940 and has a long and proud association with the people of North Queensland.

15th February 1941
Establishment of RAAF Base Williamtown
RAAF Base Williamtown is strategically positioned to the North of Newcastle in the Port Stephens area. The history and expansion of RAAF Williamtown since its establishment during World War II is directly linked to the evolution of air power and the technological advances in tactical fighter and surveillance aircraft.

31st August 1944
Air Force reaches its highest strength during World War II
The RAAF attained its highest strength during World War II on this day, at almost 182 000 personnel (162 846 males and 19 031 females).

30th January 1951
Women’s Royal Australian Air Force
Women’s Royal Australian Air Force (WRAAF) commences recruit training on this day.

13th December 1958
C-130A Hercules Touches Down at Richmond
The first C-130A Hercules touched down at Richmond airbase on delivery from the United States, beginning a new era in RAAF airlift.


19th March 1964
Establishment of RAAF Base Fairbairn
Headquarters RAAF Station Canberra ceased to function on 31 May 1952 and Headquarters RAAF Canberra was formed the next day. Ten years later, on 19 March 1962, the name was again changed, to Headquarters RAAF Fairbairn, in honour of J.V. Fairbairn, the former Minister for Air who died in an air crash in Canberra on 13 August 1940.

22nd April 1964
Introduction of the Caribou
Three DHC-4 Caribou Mk 1 light transports arrived at RAAF Base Richmond on delivery from the De Havilland Aircraft Company of Canada.

13th May 1968
Introduction of P-3B Orion Aircraft
Australia’s initial order for ten P-3B Orions to equip No 11 Squadron for maritime patrol duties was delayed in 1968, not arriving until this day.

14th September 1970
Air Force takes delivery of F-4E Phantom Aircraft
The first five of 24 F-4E Phantom aircraft, arrived at RAAF Base Amberley.

23rd November 1981
Air Force Ensign

The first example of a new ensign featuring the Air Force's ‘leaping kangaroo’ roundel in place of the RAF cockade went on display in the office of the Chief of Air Staff, finally completing the process of evolving a distinctive flag for the Air Force. After receipt of Royal Assent during the Air Force's diamond jubilee year, the new Ensign was gazetted in 1982.

17th May 1985
Arrival of first F/A-18 Hornet Aircraft
The first two F/A-18 Hornets landed at RAAF Base Williamtown, New South Wales, on completion of their delivery flight from the US.

11th June 1988
Opening of RAAF Base Curtin
RAAF Base Curtin is a joint use military air base and civil airport located on the north coast of Western Australia about 35 kilometres south-east of Derby and 170 kilometres east of Broome, and covering an area of more than 25,000 hectares. Curtin is one of 3 RAAF bare bases that form an arc across the north of Australia, the others being Scherger on Cape York and Learmonth on the North West Cape peninsular of Western Australia. Although, during peacetime, Curtin is maintained by a small caretaker staff permanently stationed there, the base is activated for Defence Force exercises and operations by units deploying to the base from other parts of Australia.

30th June 1988
First Female Pilots
Flight Lieutenant Robyn Williams and Officer Cadet Deborah Hicks became the Air Force’s first female pilots.

31st March 1989
Establishment of RAAF Base Tindal
RAAF Base Tindal is located 15 kilometres outside Katherine in the Northern Territory and 320 kilometres by road south – east of Darwin. Tindal forms part of chain of airfields reaching from Learmonth in Western Australia to Townville in Queensland and is home to No, 75 Squadron, a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) fighter unit as well as several detachments and non-flying units belonging to the Combat Support and Surveillance and Response Groups.

11th August 2003
First Female Two-Star Ranking Air Force Officer
When Air Commodore Julie Hammer was promoted to Air Vice-Marshal, she became the first woman to achieve two-star rank in the Australian Defence Force.

26th November 2009
Introduction of the Wedgetail
No 2 Squadron took delivery of the first two Boeing Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft at RAAF Base Williamtown, NSW. Under the project, the Air Force would receive six airframes at a cost of A$3.4 billion, to herald a new era of aerial surveillance for the Australian Defence Force.

20th March 2010
First of the F/A-18 Super Hornet – Rhino’s Arrival
The first five of 24 Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet (Rhino) aircraft on order for the Air Force arrived at the RAAF Base Amberley, becoming the Air Force’s first new air combat aircraft in 25 years.


3rd December 2010
Farewell to the F-111
The Air Force’s fleet of F-111 bombers was retired after 37 years as the mainstay of Australia’s long-range strike capability.


1st June 2011
Delivery of KC-30A
The Air Force took delivery of the first of a planned total of five Airbus Military A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft, designated the KC-30A.

RAAF AIRBUS A330-203 MRTT A39-002 (MSN 951)

16th November 2016
Arrival of the P-8A Poseidon
The first P-8A Poseidon aircraft arrived in Canberra on this day.

10th December 2018
Arrival of the first F-35A Lightning II Aircraft
This date denotes the arrival of the first two F-35 Lightning aircraft to their new home at No 3 Squadron RAAF Base Williamtown, NSW.

1st November 2019
Heading to retirement of the AP-3C after 50 years of service
The Air Force began the draw down of the AP-3C Orion following the arrival of the P-8A Poseidon, after serving as Australia's primary Maritime Patrol aircraft.

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