RAAF Air Command

Air Command is the operational arm of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). It is headed by the Air Commander Australia, whose role is to manage and command the RAAF's Force Element Groups (FEGs), which contain the operational capability of the Air Force. Headquarters Air Command is located at RAAF Base Glenbrook.

Air Command
AllegianceAustralian Defence Force
BranchRoyal Australian Air Force
Current locationRAAF Glenbrook
Motto(s)Alert and Ready
Air Vice Marshal Joe Iervasi
(Air Commander Australia)


Air Command consists of the following FEGs:

Air Command has a critical strategic role both in peacetime and wartime. It works closely with Air Force Training Group (formerly RAAF Training Command) and the Australian Defence Force's Joint Logistics Command in developing and maintaining the nation's defence capabilities.


The Air Commander is responsible for all operational Air Force tasks, and reports to the Chief of Air Force. The Air Commander raises, trains and sustains forces for assignment to operations under the Chief of Joint Operations (CJOPS). Similar arrangements exist with Commander Forces Command (Australian Army) and Commander Australian Fleet (Royal Australian Navy).

Air Command has undergone a number of changes since its formation in May 1942, both in name and location. The following table lists those Air Force officers who have been appointed to lead the command and its headquarters in its various incarnations.

Note: The official title of each group of Commanders is listed immediately after the name of the Command.

Rank Name Post-nominals Period
HQ Eastern Area Command
(Air Officers Commanding)
Air Vice Marshal William Anderson CBE, DFC 1942–1943
Air Commodore Alan Charlesworth CBE, AFC 1943–1944
Air Commodore Francis Lukis CBE 1945–1946
Air Commodore Leon Lachal CBE 1946–1947
Air Vice Marshal Francis Bladin CBE 1947–1948
Air Vice Marshal John McCauley CB, CBE 1949–1953
HQ Home Command
(Air Officers Commanding)
Air Vice Marshal John McCauley CB, CBE 1953–1954
Air Vice Marshal Allan Walters CB, CBE, AFC 1954–1957
Air Vice Marshal Charles Candy CB, CBE 1958–1959
HQ Operational Command
(Air Officers Commanding)
Air Vice Marshal Valston Hancock CB, CBE, DFC 1959–1961
Air Vice Marshal Frank Headlam CB, CBE 1961–1962
Air Vice Marshal Alister Murdoch CB, CBE 1962–1965
Air Vice Marshal Colin Hannah CB, CBE 1965–1967
Air Vice Marshal Keith Hennock CB, CBE 1967–1969
Air Vice Marshal William Townsend CB, CBE 1969–1973
Air Vice Marshal Brian Eaton CB, CBE, DSO & Bar, DFC 1973
Air Vice Marshal Frederick Robey AO, CBE 1974–1978
Air Vice Marshal John Adams CBE, DFC, AFC 1978–1980
Air Vice Marshal Michael Ridgway AFC 1980–1981
Air Vice Marshal Russell Law 1981–1984
Air Vice Marshal Bernard Reynolds AM 1984–1985
Air Vice Marshal Edward Radford AO 1985–1987
Air Headquarters Australia
(Air Commanders Australia)
Air Vice Marshal Edward Radford AO 1987–1990
Air Vice Marshal Barry Gration AO, AFC 1990–1992
Air Vice Marshal Gary Beck AO 1992–1996
Air Vice Marshal Peter Nicholson AO 1996–1996
Headquarters Air Command
(Air Commanders Australia)
Air Vice Marshal Peter Nicholson AO 1996–1998
Air Vice Marshal Alan Titheridge AM 1998–1999
Air Vice Marshal Peter Criss AM, AFC 1999–2000
Air Vice Marshal John Kindler AO, AFC 2000–2003
Air Vice Marshal Geoffrey Shepherd AM 2003–2005
Air Vice Marshal John Quaife AM 2005–2007
Air Vice Marshal Mark Binskin AM 2007–2008
Air Vice Marshal Mark Skidmore AM 2008–2012
Air Vice Marshal Melvin Hupfeld DSC 2012–2014
Air Vice Marshal Gavin Turnbull AM 2014–2017
Air Vice Marshal Steven Roberton DSC, AM 2017–2019
Air Vice Marshal Joe Iervasi AM 2019–


  1. ^ "RAAF's AOSG becomes Air Warfare Centre". Australian Aviation. 7 March 2016. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
Air Command

Air Command is a term used to refer to the command structure of some air forces. Examples include:

Allied Air Command (NATO)

Royal Canadian Air Force, known as Air Command from 1968 to 2011

RAAF Air Command (Australia)

RAF Air Command (United Kingdom)

Air Combat Command (United States Air Force)

Barry Gration

Air Marshal Ian Barrington "Barry" Gration (born 30 June 1936) is a former senior officer in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), whose career culminated with his appointment as Chief of the Air Staff from 1992 to 1994.

Frank Bladin

Air Vice Marshal Francis Masson (Frank) Bladin, (26 August 1898 – 2 February 1978) was a senior commander in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Born in rural Victoria, he graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in 1920. Bladin transferred from the Army to the Air Force in 1923, and learned to fly at RAAF Point Cook, Victoria. He held training appointments before taking command of No. 1 Squadron in 1934. Quiet but authoritative, he was nicknamed "Dad" in tribute to the concern he displayed for the welfare of his personnel.Ranked wing commander at the outbreak of World War II, by September 1941 Bladin had been raised to temporary air commodore. He became Air Officer Commanding North-Western Area in March 1942, following the first Japanese air raids on Darwin, Northern Territory. Personally leading sorties against enemy territory, he earned the United States Silver Star for gallantry. In July 1943, Bladin was posted to No. 38 Group RAF in Europe, where he was mentioned in despatches. He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire the same year.

Promoted acting air vice marshal in 1946, Bladin was among the coterie of senior officers who helped reshape the post-war RAAF. His roles in the late 1940s and early 1950s included Chief of Staff of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan, Air Officer Commanding Eastern Area (later RAAF Air Command), and Air Member for Personnel. Appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath in 1950, he retired to his country property in 1953. He was active for many years in veterans' affairs before his death in 1978 at the age of seventy-nine.

Geoff Shepherd

Air Marshal Geoffrey David Shepherd (born 24 January 1952) is a retired senior officer in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), who served as Chief of Air Force from 2005 until 2008.


HQAC may refer to:

Headquarters Air Command of the following air forces:

RAF Air Command (Royal Air Force)

RAAF Air Command (Royal Australian Air Force)

Headquarters Air Cadets, a British youth organisation sponsored by the Ministry of Defence and the Royal Air Force

John Quaife

Air Vice Marshal Alfred John Quaife, AM (born 2 June 1955) is a retired senior officer of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

Joint task force

A Joint Task Force is a "joint" (multi-service) ad hoc military formation. The task force concept originated with the United States Navy in the 1920s and 1930s."Combined" is the British-American military term for multi-national formations.

CTF – Commander Task Force, sometimes Combined Task Force

CCTF – Commander Combined Task Force

CJTF – Combined Joint Task Force

There are two ways in which a U.S. or U.S.-allied task force may be assigned a number. The first is the originally naval scheme promulgated and governed by the Military Command, Control, Communications, and Computers Executive Board (MC4EB), chaired by the Joint Staff J6. Task force numbers allocated under this scheme form the majority of the listings below.

The second is a by-product of the U.S. Army's procedure for forming task-organised forces for combat, differing from strictly doctrinally assigned table of organization and equipment organizations. A battalion, company or brigade commander has very wide latitude in selecting a task force name, though often the name of the commander is used (e.g. Task Force Faith; Task Force Smith was named for the commander of the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment). This has often resulted in derivations from the originator unit's numerical designation being used. For example, when a special operations aviation unit was being formed in the late 1970s, the original unit drew heavily on personnel from the 158th Aviation. The designation chosen was Task Force 158, which later grew to become the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. Another example comes from 2004 in Afghanistan. On 15 April 2004 the headquarters of the U.S. Army's 25th Infantry Division arrived in Afghanistan and took command of CJTF-180 from the 10th Mountain Division. Lieutenant General David Barno, commanding then decided to rename CJTF 180 because the “180” designation had traditionally been given to Joint task forces led by the Army's XVIII Airborne Corps. Barno chose Combined Joint Task Force 76 as the new name to evoke America's history and the democratic spirit of 1776. The CFC-A commander intended this new designation to highlight the change in command at the operational level at a time when Afghanistan appeared to be moving closer to democracy.

No coordination appears to occur between U.S. Army task forces designated in this way, and the USMCEB scheme. This has resulted in simultaneous designations being used at the same time. For example, Combined Joint Task Force 76, was in use in Afghanistan in 2004, but doubling up on the Task Force 76 designation used for decades by Amphibious Force, United States Seventh Fleet, in north Asia.

Mark Binskin

Air Chief Marshal Mark Donald Binskin, (born 20 March 1960) is former senior officer in the Royal Australian Air Force. He served as Chief of Air Force (2008–11), Vice Chief of the Defence Force (2011–14), and Chief of the Defence Force from June 2014 until his retirement in July 2018.

No. 86 Wing RAAF

No. 86 Wing is a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) transport and air-to-air refuelling wing. Coming under the control of Air Mobility Group, it is headquartered at RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland. The wing comprises No. 33 Squadron, operating Airbus KC-30 tanker-transports, No. 36 Squadron, operating Boeing C-17 Globemaster III heavy transports, No. 38 Squadron, operating Beech King Air 350 light transports, and the Australian Army's 68 Ground Liaison Section. Its aircraft support Australian military and humanitarian operations worldwide.

Formed in the last year of World War II to undertake ground attack missions with de Havilland Mosquitos and Bristol Beaufighters in the South West Pacific theatre, No. 86 Wing was reorganised in 1946 as a transport formation headquartered at RAAF Station Schofields, New South Wales, flying Douglas C-47 Dakotas. It relocated to RAAF Base Richmond, New South Wales, in 1949 and began operating Lockheed C-130 Hercules in 1958. Disbanded in 1964, the wing was re-established at Richmond in 1987, flying Boeing 707 tanker-transports as well as the Hercules. No. 36 Squadron converted to Globemasters in 2006. No. 33 Squadron retired its 707s in 2008, and did not become operational with the KC-30 until 2013. Having previously flown de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribous, No. 38 Squadron converted to the King Airs in 2009. The Hercules were transferred to No. 84 Wing in 2010. No. 86 Wing headquarters relocated from Richmond to Amberley in January 2012.

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, a large number of 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.

Southern Area Command (RAAF)

Southern Area Command was one of several geographically based commands raised by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) during World War II. It was formed in March 1940, and initially controlled units located in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and southern New South Wales. Headquartered in Melbourne, Southern Area Command was responsible for air defence, aerial reconnaissance and protection of the sea lanes within its boundaries. From 1942 its operational responsibilities excluded New South Wales.

The area command continued to operate following the end of the war, becoming the hub of Air Force training services. In October 1953, the RAAF began reorganising its command-and-control system from one based on geography to one based on function; Southern Area was re-formed as Training Command, which in 2006 became Air Force Training Group, a component of RAAF Air Command.

Australian Defence Organisation
Australian Defence Force
Royal Australian Navy
Australian Army
Royal Australian Air Force
Department of Defence


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