Royal Australian Air Force
The Royal Australian Air Force
) is Australia
's air force
. It is part of the Australian Defence Force
The RAAF began in March 1914 as the Australian Flying Corps and became a fully independent air force in March 1921.
- 71 F/A-18 Hornet fighters, built in Australia under license from McDonnell Douglas. The F/A-18 fleet has been the subject of various upgrades since it entered service in 1973 and remains capable, but fatigue issues may mean that it will not remain a viable front-line air defence option until the planned retirement date of 2015.
- 35 General Dynamics F-111 bombers, a mixture of the original long-range F-111C type, RF-111 reconnaissance variants, and ex-USAF F-111G attrition replacements.
- 20 Lockheed Orion maritime patrol and strike aircraft.
- 24 Lockheed Hercules C-130H and C-130J transports.
- 14 DHC-4 Caribou tactical transports.
- 33 BAe Hawk lead-in trainers.
- 67 Pilatus PC-9 advanced trainers.
- 50 PAC CT/4 basic trainers - better known as the "Plastic Parrot".
- 5 Boeing 707s: four are dual role tanker/transports, one a pure transport. Because of the electoral cost of spending public funds on new VIP transports for politicians, the 707 fleet remained on VIP duties long after the high ongoing maintenance costs made it uneconomic. At one stage, Australian ambassadors had to make a practice of requesting special waivers of the usual aircraft noise regulations from foreign governments prior to official visits. Since the long-term lease of two Boeing 737s, the elderly 707s are now used for military purposes only.
- 2 Boeing BBJ VIP transports.
Involvement in Hostilities
In World War II Australian squadrons served based in Great Britain. Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor and the beginning of the Pacific war saw the RAAF defending a threatened Australian mainland for the first time.
- The Australian Flying Corps first sent aircraft to assist in capturing German colonies in what is now Papua New Guinea in 1914. These colonies surrendered quickly however, before the planes were even unpacked. The first operational flights did not occur until 27th 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. The Corps later saw action in Egypt, Palestine and on the Western Front throughout the remainder of World War I.
(more to add on WWII, Korea, Vietnam, attack on Iraq)
(Work in progress! Corrections and additions required.)