Royal Canadian Air Force

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

Royal Canadian Air Force
French: Aviation royale canadienne
Founded1 April 1924; 97 years ago (1924-04-01)
Country Canada
TypeAir force
RoleAerial warfare
Size391 operational aircraft
Personnel:
  Regular Force 14,500 Regular force members
  Reserve Force: 2,600 Reserve force members
  Civilian members: 2,500 civilian members[1]
Part ofCanadian Armed Forces
HeadquartersNational Defence Headquarters, Ottawa, Ontario
Motto(s)Latin: Sic Itur ad Astra
"Such is the pathway to the stars"[2]
Latin: Per Ardua ad Astra
"Through Adversity to the Stars" (1924–1968)
MarchRCAF March Past
AnniversariesArmed Forces Day (first Sunday of June)
Engagements
Websitewww.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca
Commanders
Commander-in-ChiefElizabeth II, Queen of Canada
represented by Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada
Commander of the Air ForceLieutenant-General Al Meinzinger
Insignia
Roundel
Fin flash
Ensign
Aircraft flown
FighterCF-18 Hornet
HelicopterCH-139 JetRanger, CH-146 Griffon, CH-147 Chinook, CH-148 Cyclone, CH-149 Cormorant
PatrolCP-140 Aurora, CP-140A Arcturus
ReconnaissanceCU-170 Heron
TrainerCT-114 Tutor, CT-142 Dash-8, CT-155 Hawk, CT-156 Harvard II
TransportCC-115 Buffalo, CC-130H Hercules, CC-130J Super Hercules, CC-138 Twin Otter, CC-144 Challenger, CC-150 Polaris, CC-177 Globemaster III, CC-295 Kingfisher

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

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

In 1975, some commands were dissolved (ADC, ATC, TC), and all air units were placed under a new environmental command called simply Air Command (AIRCOM; French: Commandement aérien). Air Command reverted to its historic name of "Royal Canadian Air Force" in August 2011.[6]

The Royal Canadian Air Force has served in the Second World War, the Korean War, the Persian Gulf War, as well as several United Nations peacekeeping missions and NATO operations. As a NATO member, the force maintained a presence in Europe during the second half of the 20th century.