Royal Australian Air Force

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is the principal air and space force of Australia, a part of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) along with the Royal Australian Navy and the Australian Army.[4] Constitutionally, the Governor-General of Australia, is the de jure Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Defence Force. The Royal Australian Air Force is commanded by the Chief of Air Force (CAF), who is subordinate to the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF). The CAF is also directly responsible to the Minister for Defence, with the Department of Defence administering the ADF and the Air Force.[5]

Royal Australian Air Force
Founded31 March 1921; 101 years ago (1921-03-31)[1]
Country Australia
TypeAir force
RoleAerial warfare
Size14,313 Active personnel[2]
5,499 Reserve personnel
239+ Aircraft
Part ofAustralian Defence Force
HeadquartersRussell Offices, Canberra
Motto(s)Latin: Per Ardua ad Astra
"Through Adversity to the Stars"
  • Royal Australian Air Force March Past
  • ("Eagles of Australia"), by Squadron Leader Ron Mitchell
AnniversariesRAAF Anniversary Commemoration – 31 March
Commander-in-ChiefGovernor-General David Hurley as representative of Charles III as King of Australia[3]
Chief of the Defence ForceGeneral Angus Campbell
Chief of the Air ForceAir Marshal Robert Chipman
Deputy Chief of the Air ForceAir Vice-Marshal Stephen Meredith
Air Commander AustraliaAir Vice-Marshal Darren Goldie
Warrant Officer of the Air ForceWarrant Officer of the Air Force Ralph Clifton
Aircraft flown
EA-18G Growler, E-7A Wedgetail
FighterF-35A Lightning II, F/A-18F Super Hornet
PatrolAP-3C Orion, P-8A Poseidon
TrainerPC-21, Hawk 127, KA350
TransportC-130J Hercules, C-17A Globemaster III, 737 BBJ, Falcon 7X, KC-30A MRTT, C-27J Spartan

Formed in March 1921, as the Australian Air Force, through the separation of the Australian Air Corps from the Army in January 1920, which in turn amalgamated the separate aerial services of both the Army and Navy. It directly continues the traditions of the Australian Flying Corps (AFC), the aviation corps of the Army that fought in the First World War and that was formed on 22 October 1912.[6]

During its history, the Royal Australian Air Force has fought in a number of major wars, including the Second World War in Europe and the Pacific, participated in the Berlin Airlift, Korean War, Malayan Emergency, Indonesia–Malaysia Confrontation, Vietnam War, and more recently in operations in East Timor, the Iraq War and subsequent intervention, and the War in Afghanistan.

It operates the majority of the ADF's fixed wing aircraft, although both the Australian Army and Royal Australian Navy also operate aircraft in various roles.[7][8] The RAAF provides support across a spectrum of operations such as air superiority, precision strikes, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, air mobility, space surveillance, and humanitarian support. The RAAF has 259 aircraft, of which 110 are combat aircraft.

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