The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) was formed on this day in 1921. It is the second-oldest independent Air Force in the world.
The RAAF traces its history back to the formation of the Central Flying School at Point Cook in Victoria in 1913. By 1914, it was known as the Australian Flying Corps (AFC).On 1 March that year, Lieutenant Eric Harrison made the first military flight in Australia using a Bristol Boxkite, registered CFS 3.
Military aviation came of age during World War I when Australia’s four AFC squadrons were primarily involved in reconnaissance. Many AFC veterans helped lay the groundwork for the future RAAF after the war.
During 1920, the AFC was replaced by the Australian Air Corps, which in turn became the Australian Air Force on 31 March 1921. King George V approved the prefix ‘Royal’ for what became only the second Royal air arm to be formed in the British Commonwealth, following the Royal Air Force.
In World War II, Australian aircrew fought throughout the world including Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, over the North Atlantic, the Indian and Pacific Oceans, India and Asia.
Today, the RAAF employs about 14,000 men and women, supported by 4,000 Air Force Reservists and 800 civilian public servants at a range of offices and 11 major bases across Australia.
Commemorating 100 years of Australian military aviation, this 2014 release portrays an historic Bristol Boxkite, a pusher biplane in which early Australian aviators learned to fly. The design also includes a F/A-18 Hornet, an integral part of Australia’s modern air combat capability.