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.[1][2] It directly continues the traditions of the Australian Flying Corps (AFC), formed on 22 October 1912.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5]

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.

Royal Australian Air Force
RAAF Badge
Royal Australian Air Force badge
Active31 March 1921 – present
CountryAustralia
TypeAir force
Size14,313 Active personnel[1]
5,499 Reserve personnel
309 Aircraft
Part ofAustralian Defence Force
Garrison/HQRussell Offices
Motto(s)Latin: Per Ardua ad Astra
"Through Adversity to the Stars"
MarchRoyal Australian Air Force March Past
AnniversariesRAAF Anniversary Commemoration – 31 March
Engagements
Websitewww.airforce.gov.au
Commanders
Commander-in-chiefDavid Hurley
(As Governor-General of Australia)
Chief of Air ForceAir Marshal Mel Hupfeld
Deputy Chief of Air ForceAir Vice Marshal Stephen Meredith
Air Commander AustraliaAir Vice Marshal Joe Iervasi
Warrant Officer of the Air ForceWarrant Officer Robert Swanwick
Insignia
Logo
Logo of the Royal Australian Air Force
Air Force Ensign of Australia
Roundels
Roundel
Low visibility roundel
Aircraft flown
Electronic
warfare
Boeing EA-18G, E-7A Wedgetail, Gulfstream G550
FighterF/A-18 Hornet (A and B), F/A-18F Super Hornet, F-35
HelicopterAgustaWestland AW139
PatrolAP-3C Orion, P8-A Poseidon
TrainerPC-9, PC-21, Hawk 127, B300
TransportC-130 Hercules, C-17 Globemaster III, Boeing 737, B300, Challenger 600, Airbus A330 MRTT, C-27J Spartan

History

RAAFBBJA36001
A Royal Australian Air Force 737BBJ taxies at Sydney Airport
RAAF airman opening a panel on an E-7A
A RAAF aircraft technician opening a panel of a Boeing E-7A Wedgetail

Formation, 1912

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.[6] By 1914 the corps was known as the "Australian Flying Corps".[7]

First World War

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.[8]

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.[9] Casualties included 175 dead, 111 wounded, 6 gassed and 40 captured.[10]

Inter-war period

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.[11] When formed the RAAF had more aircraft than personnel, with 21 officers and 128 other ranks and 153 aircraft.[12]

Second World War

Europe and the Mediterranean

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.[13]

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.[4] About nine percent of the personnel who served under British RAF commands in Europe and the Mediterranean were RAAF personnel.[14]

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,[15] 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.[4]

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.[16] Total RAAF casualties in Europe were 5,488 killed or missing.[4]

Kittyhawk IA RAAF
Curtiss Kittyhawk Mk IA of 75th Squadron RAAF, which F/O Geoff Atherton flew over New Guinea in August 1942.

Pacific War

BrewsterBuffalosMkIRAAFSingaporeOctober1941
The Brewster F2A Buffalo participated in air campaigns over Malayan, Singapore and Dutch East Indies

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.[17]

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.[18] 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.[19]

StateLibQld 1 100268
RAAF volunteers from Brisbane leaving for training

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.[20] Although it was much bigger than Japanese fighters, the Beaufighter had the speed to outrun them.[21] 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.[22] 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.[23]

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.[24] The 1st TAF's final campaigns were fought in support of Australian ground forces in Borneo,[25] 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.[26] The RAAF's casualties in the Pacific were around 2,000 killed, wounded or captured.[25]

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.[5] With over 152,000 personnel operating nearly 6,000 aircraft it was the world's fourth largest air force.[27]

Service since 1945

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.[28]

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.[29]

Two Mirage III of the Royal Australian Air Force 1.JPEG
Two RAAF Mirage III fighters in 1980

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.[30]

In 1953, a Royal Air Force officer, Air Marshal Sir Donald Hardman, was brought out to Australia to become Chief of the Air Staff.[31] 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.[32]

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.[33]

AirForce over Iraq
An RAAF F/A-18 with a USAF KC-135 Stratotanker, two F-15Es, an F-117, two F-16s and a RAF Tornado over Iraq

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.[34] 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.[35] 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.[36]

RAAF (A44-222) FA 18F Super Hornet landing
A Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18F Super Hornet at the 2013 Avalon Airshow

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.[37] 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.[38] 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.[39] Approximately 75 personnel deployed with the AN/TPS-77 radar assigned the responsibility to co-ordinate coalition air operations.[40] A detachment of IAI Heron unmanned aerial vehicles has been deployed in Afghanistan since January 2010.[41]

F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter Mockup on display at Centenary of Military Aviation 2014
F-35A Lightning will replace the ageing F-18 Hornets

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.[42] Operations began on 1 October.[43] 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.[44][45][46][47]

In June 2017 two RAAF AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft were deployed to the southern Philippines in response to the Marawi crisis.[48][49][50]

Ranks and uniform

Leading Aircraft Woman Patricia Entwistle RAAF
A leading aircraftwoman from No. 75 Squadron wearing Auscam DPCU, 2008

The rank structure of the nascent RAAF was established to ensure that the service remained separate from the Army and Navy.[51] 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.[52] 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.[53]

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.[54][55] Slip-on rank epaulettes, known as "Soft Rank Insignia" (SRI), displaying the word "AUSTRALIA" are worn on the shoulders of the service dress uniform.[53] 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.[56]

Roundel

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.[57][58]

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.[57] Low visibility versions of the roundel exist, with the white omitted and the red and blue replaced with light or dark grey.[59]

Badge

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.[60]

Current strength

Personnel

As of June 2018, the RAAF had 14,313 permanent full-time personnel and 5,499 part-time active reserve personnel.[61]

Aircraft

Current inventory

RAAF F-35 taking off during the Australian International Airshow and Aerospace & Defence Exposition 2017
An F-35 taking off during the Australian International Airshow
RAAF Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 YPMC Creek
An RAAF C-130J departing Point Cook
A41-206 Boeing C-17A Globemaster III RAAF (9639221235)
A C-17A Globemaster III
RAAF BAe Hawk AVV Creek
A BAe Hawk on approach
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
F-35 Lightning II United States stealth multirole F-35A 14[62] 58 on order – eight providing flight training of a total order for 72[63]
Boeing F/A-18 United States multirole F/A-18A/B 54 / 15[62] some B variants task with training
Boeing F/A-18E/F United States multirole F/A-18F 24[62]
AWACS
Boeing E-7A Wedgetail United States AEW&C E-7A 6[62]
Electronic Warfare
Boeing EA-18G United States radar jamming 11[62]
Gulfstream G550 United States SIGINT / ELINT MC-55A 4 on order[64]
Super King Air United States ISTAR 350 3[65]
Maritime Patrol
Boeing P-8 United States ASW / patrol 7 5 on order[62]
AP-3C Orion United States maritime patrol 9[62] to be replaced by P-8 Poseidon by 2023
Tanker
Airbus A330 MRTT France refueling / transport KC-30A 6[62]
Transport
Boeing C-17 United States strategic airlifter 8[62]
C-130J Super Hercules United States tactical airlifter C-130J-30 12[62]
C-27J Spartan Italy utility transport 10[62]
Super King Air United States utility / transport 350 8[62]
Boeing 737 United States VIP 2[66]
Dassault Falcon 7X France VIP 1[67]
Challenger CL-600 Canada VIP 604 1[68]
Helicopter
AgustaWestland AW139 Italy SAR / utility 6[69] contracted with CHC Helicopter
Trainer Aircraft
BAE Hawk United Kingdom primary trainer Hawk 127 33[62]
Pilatus PC-9 Switzerland trainer PC-9/A 59[62] produced under license by de Havilland Australia.[70]
Pilatus PC-21 Switzerland trainer Pilatus PC-21 22 25 on order[62]
Super King Air United States multi-engine trainer 350 4 4 on order[62]
UAV
MQ-4C Triton United States maritime patrol 6 on order[71]
MQ-9 Reaper United States combat aerial vehicle 12-16 on order[72][73]

Armament

GBU-24 xxl
Paveway II laser guided bomb
AIM 9L Sidewinder (modified) copy
AIM 9L Sidewinder
Name Origin Type Notes
Air-to-air missile
ASRAAM United Kingdom IR guided missile 200 units[74]
AIM-120 AMRAAM United States beyond-visual-range missile 360 units[74]
AIM-9 Sidewinder United States 1297 units of which 47 were AIM-9X[74]
Air-to-surface missile
AGM-88 HARM United States anti-radiation missile
AGM-154 United States joint standoff weapon 50 units[74]
AGM-158 United States 260 units[74]
General-purpose bomb
JDAM United States precision guided munition 100 units[74]
GBU-15 United States precision guided munition 100 units[74]
GBU-10 Paveway II United States laser-guided bomb 100 units[74]
Anti-ship missile
Mark 46 torpedo United States anti-sub weapon 250[74]
AGM-84 Harpoon United States 305[74]

Force Element Groups

Current force element groups

Headquarters

  • Air Force Headquarters RAAF – Air Force Executive
  • RAAF Air Command – Air Force Combat Forces

Roulettes

Roulettes flying in formation
Roulette aircraft in formation

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.[75] 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).[76]

Future procurement

A35-001 in flight
The first Australian F-35A takes off from Luke AFB on a test sortie in 2015

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.[77][78] 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.[79] 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.[80][81] 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.[82][83]
  • Eight Boeing P-8 Poseidon to replace the Lockheed AP-3C Orions.[84] A further seven to be purchased and brought into service by the late 2020s, bringing the total number of aircraft to fifteen.[85]
  • 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.[71] 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.[86] They will be based at RAAF Base Edinburgh however will regularly conduct missions from RAAF Base Tindal.[87]
  • Forty-nine Pilatus PC-21 training aircraft under Project AIR 5428.[88]
  • Two more KC-30As, one in full VIP configuration.[89] 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.[85]
  • 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.[90] 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.[91][92] 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.[93] In September 2017, IAI accused the Australian government of giving preferential treatment to General Atomics.[94] 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.[73]
  • 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.[95]
  • 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.[96]

See also

Lists:

Memorials and Museums:

References

Citations
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  39. ^ 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.
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  41. ^ "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.
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Bibliography
  • 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) [2001]. 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.

Further reading

  • 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.

External links

Air Force Reserve (Australia)

The Air Force Reserve or RAAF Reserve is the common, collective name given to the reserve units of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). The reserve component has also been known as the Citizen Air Force (CAF).

In 1919, in his Outline Policy for the Military Air Force of Australia, Major General J. G. Legge proposed: "The Military Air Force of Australia should mainly be composed from Citizen Forces with a proportion of permanent troops. The latter to provide for the instruction of the force and the maintenance of equipment." While the RAAF was established in 1921, it was not until April 1936 that CAF units were raised in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.In 1981, the active reserve – as opposed to the inactive or standby component – of the Citizen Air Force was renamed the RAAF Active Reserve. At around the same time, it began accepting female members.Combat Reserve Wing, later renamed Reserve Training Wing, became responsible for recruiting and training members of the Air Force Reserve on 18 May 1998.

Article XV squadrons

Article XV squadrons were Australian, Canadian, and New Zealand air force squadrons formed from graduates of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (1939) during World War II.

These units complemented another feature of the BCATP, under which personnel from the Royal Air Force (RAF), Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) were placed in a common pool, and assigned to Article XV and RAF squadrons – in Europe, the Mediterranean Theatre, Africa and South-East Asia – according to operational needs.

The RAAF, RCAF and RNZAF also formed non-Article XV squadrons, which performed home defence duties and saw active service in various parts of the Pacific Theatre.

Chief of Air Force (Australia)

Chief of Air Force (CAF) is the most senior appointment in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), responsible to the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) and the Secretary of the Department of Defence. The rank associated with the position is air marshal (three-star). The role encompasses "the delivery of aerospace capability, enhancing the Air Force's reputation and positioning the Air Force for the future". It does not include direction of air operations, which is the purview of the Air Commander Australia, a two-star position responsible directly to CDF in such circumstances but nominally reporting to CAF.

Between 1922 and 1997, the Air Force's senior officer was known as Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), a role akin to a chairman of the board. The Australian Air Board was collectively responsible for directing the RAAF, rather than the CAS personally. Wing Commander (later Air Marshal Sir) Richard Williams, often referred to as the "Father of the RAAF", was the first and longest-serving Chief of the Air Staff. In 1976 the Air Board was dissolved and CAS was invested with the individual responsibility for commanding the RAAF. The position of CAS became known as Chief of Air Force in 1997.

The Chief of Air Force may be selected from any of the RAAF's air vice-marshal appointments, although the Air Commander or Deputy Chief of Air Force are the most frequent appointees. While every chief to date has been a pilot, since the mid-1970s there has been no legal restriction on appointees from other disciplines. The CAF is appointed by the Prime Minister and is usually a fixed-term tenure, after which the member normally retires, unless offered the more senior role of CDF. Four heads of the RAAF have gone on to attain the position of CDF or equivalent.

List of Royal Australian Air Force Communication Units

During and shortly after World War II the Royal Australian Air Force formed 13 Communication Units. These flight-sized units performed a wide range of support roles including transport, supplying isolated garrisons and supporting training. The Communication Units typically operated small numbers of several types of aircraft.

List of Royal Australian Air Force aircraft squadrons

This is a list of Royal Australian Air Force aircraft squadrons. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) was formed in 1921 and traces its lineage to the previous Australian Flying Corps that served during World War I. The list also includes those squadrons that were under Australian and British operational control during World War II, and squadrons that were operated jointly by the RAAF and the Netherlands East Indies.

List of Royal Australian Air Force groups

This is a list of all the groups the Royal Australian Air Force has organised since it was established.

List of Royal Australian Air Force independent aircraft flights

This is a list of independent Royal Australian Air Force aircraft flights. It includes flights which did not form part of a parent squadron and flying units of less than squadron status.

List of Royal Australian Air Force installations

This is a list of current and previous Royal Australian Air Force airstrips, aerodromes and bases. The air force also owns and maintains "bare bases" in remote areas of Australia. These bases have runways and buildings, but only a caretaker staff. They are generally only used for exercises as there are no units permanently based there.

List of Royal Australian Air Force wings

This is a list of the wings organised by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

No. 26 Squadron RAAF

No. 26 (City of Newcastle) Squadron RAAF is a Royal Australian Air Force Reserve squadron, headquartered at RAAF Base Williamtown in New South Wales, Australia. The squadron's role is to provide trained personnel to regular RAAF units during operations and on exercise.

No. 2 Fighter Sector RAAF

No. 2 Fighter Sector (2FS) was a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) unit formed at New Lambton, Newcastle, New South Wales on 25 February 1942. No. 2 Fighter Sector was responsible for fighter aircraft control and coordination for the Newcastle and Hunter Region.

The RAAF commandeered New Lambton Public School at New Lambton for use as an operations and plotting facility on 9 March 1942. The headmaster's residence at New Lambton Public School was used as No. 2 Fighter Sector Headquarters.

No. 2 Fighter Sector became a Central Training School on 30 May 1942, to train operations room personnel and to conduct refresher courses for personnel from No. 1 Fighter Sector RAAF, No. 3 Fighter Sector RAAF, No. 7 Fighter Sector RAAF and No. 8 Fighter Sector RAAF, as well as the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC).

On 18 October 1943, No. 2 Fighter Sector was renamed as No. 102 Fighter Sector (102FS) and on 3 March 1944 it was again renamed as No. 102 Fighter Control Unit (102FCU). On 27 November 1944, No. 102 Fighter Control Unit moved to Ash Island.

No. 102 Fighter Control Unit was disbanded on 12 February 1945.

No. 4 Squadron RAAF

No. 4 Squadron is a Royal Australian Air Force squadron composed of the air force special forces Combat Controllers, aircrew who operate the Pilatus PC-9A(F) (Forward Air Control variant) aircraft and instructors for the Australian Defence Force Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) course.The squadron was previously a fighter and army co-operation unit active in both World War I and World War II. Formed in late 1917, the squadron operated on the Western Front as part of the Australian Flying Corps until the armistice in November 1918. It was disbanded after the war in mid-1919, but re-raised in 1937 and 1940. In 1942 it deployed to New Guinea, where it supported military forces by spotting for artillery and providing reconnaissance and close air support. As the war progressed, the squadron took part in the Huon Peninsula, New Britain and Borneo campaigns. It was disbanded in early 1948, but was re-formed on 2 July 2009 to provide training to forward air controllers and to support Army Special Operations Command.

RAAF Base Learmonth

RAAF Base Learmonth, also known as Learmonth Airport (IATA: LEA, ICAO: YPLM), is a joint use Royal Australian Air Force base and civil airport. It is located near the town of Exmouth on the north-west coast of Western Australia. RAAF Base Learmonth is one of the RAAF's three "bare bases". No RAAF units are currently based at Learmonth and it is maintained by a small caretaker staff during peacetime.

The RAAF also operates the Learmonth Air Weapons Range which covers about 18,954 ha (46,840 acres) and is located 30 km (19 mi) south-west of the airbase.

RAAF Base Tindal

RAAF Base Tindal (IATA: KTR, ICAO: YPTN) is a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) military air base and civil aviation airfield located 8 nautical miles (15 km; 9.2 mi) east southeast of the town of Katherine, Northern Territory in Australia. The base is currently home to No. 75 Squadron and a number of non-flying units, and also hosts the Katherine Tindal Civilian Airport. First constructed in 1942, it was refurbished in the late 1960s as a "bare base" capable of being utilised when required. It was opened as a permanently manned RAAF base in 1989.

RAAF Squadron Berlin Air Lift

The Berlin Airlift Squadron was a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) transport squadron formed to participate in the Berlin Airlift. The unit operated for one year, between August 1948 and August 1949, and was raised specifically for the operation, drawing crews from two existing RAAF transport squadrons. It flew more than 2,000 sorties during the airlift, without loss.

RAAF Williams

RAAF Williams (ICAO: YMPC) is a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) military air base set across two locations, at Point Cook and Laverton, located approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) south-west of the Melbourne central business district in Victoria, Australia. Both establishments previously existed as separate RAAF Bases (RAAF Base Point Cook and RAAF Base Laverton) until 1989 when they were amalgamated to form RAAF Williams. The name was chosen in honour of Air Marshal Sir Richard Williams, the 'father' of the RAAF.RAAF Williams, Point Cook is the birthplace of the Royal Australia Air Force and is the oldest continually operating military airfield in the world. Since 1994 RAAF Williams (Point Cook) has been the home of RMIT Flight Training.

Royal Australian Air Force Ensign

The Royal Australian Air Force Ensign is used by the Royal Australian Air Force and the Australian Air Force Cadets in Australia and overseas. It is based on the Australian national flag, with the field changed to Air Force blue, and the southern cross tilted clockwise to make room for the RAAF roundel inserted in the lower fly quarter. The roundel is a red leaping kangaroo on white within a dark blue ring. The ensign was proclaimed as a Flag of Australia under section 5 of the Flags Act on 6 May 1982.The southern cross is tilted so that Gamma Crucis stays in the same position as for the Australian National Flag and that Alpha Crucis is moved along the x-axis towards the hoist by one-sixth of the width of the flag. This results in the axis being rotated 14.036° clockwise around Gamma Crucis and each star is rotated in this way, although the constellation as a whole is not simply rotated.

Stanley Goble

Air Vice Marshal Stanley James (Jimmy) Goble, CBE, DSO, DSC (21 August 1891 – 24 July 1948) was a senior commander in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). He served three terms as Chief of the Air Staff, alternating with Wing Commander (later Air Marshal Sir) Richard Williams. Goble came to national attention in 1924 when he and fellow RAAF pilot Ivor McIntyre became the first men to circumnavigate Australia by air, journeying 8,450 miles (13,600 km) in a single-engined floatplane.

During World War I, Goble flew fighters on the Western Front with the British Royal Naval Air Service. He became an ace with ten victories, commanded No. 5 Squadron (later No. 205 Squadron RAF), and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and the Distinguished Service Cross. Returning to Australia, Goble assisted in the formation of the RAAF as an independent branch of the Australian armed forces. On an exchange posting to Britain in the 1930s, he led No. 2 (Bomber) Group RAF.

As Chief of the Air Staff at the onset of World War II, Goble clashed with the Federal Government over implementation of the Empire Air Training Scheme, which he believed would be detrimental to the defence of Australia. He stepped down as leader of the RAAF in early 1940, and spent the rest of the war in Ottawa as Air Liaison Officer to Canada. Goble died in 1948 at the age of fifty-six, two years after retiring from the military.

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
Air Force Ensign of Australia.svg Royal Australian Air Force
Leadership
Personnel
Structure
Operations
Equipment
Installations
History
Culture
Australian Defence Force aircraft serial-number designations
RAAF Series One
1921–34
RAAF Series Two
1935–63
RAN Series1
RAAF Series Three
Tri-Service series
1964–present
Lists
Branches
Leadership
Structure
Personnel
& Training
Intelligence
Strategy
Equipment
Installations
Culture
History
Australia-United States Rank Code Officer Cadet O-1 O-2 O-3 O-4 O-5 O-6 O-7
*
O-8
**
O-9
***
O-10
****
O-11
*****
Royal Australian Navy MIDN ASLT SBLT LEUT LCDR CMDR CAPT CDRE RADM VADM ADML AF
Australian Army OCDT 2LT LT CAPT MAJ LTCOL COL BRIG MAJGEN LTGEN GEN FM
Royal Australian Air Force OFFCDT PLTOFF FLGOFF FLTLT SQNLDR WGCDR GPCAPT AIRCDRE AVM AIRMSHL ACM MRAAF
Australia-United States Rank Code E-1 E-2 E-3 E-4 E-5 E-6 E-7 E-8 E-9 Special
Royal Australian Navy RCT SMN AB - LS PO - CPO WO WO-N
Australian Army REC PTE PTE(P) LCPL CPL SGT SSGT WO2 WO1 RSM-A
Royal Australian Air Force RCT AC/ACW LAC/LACW - CPL SGT - FSGT WOFF WOFF-AF
Air Force Ensign of Australia.svg Military units and formations of the Royal Australian Air Force
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Wing
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