25 Facts About RAF


Since its formation, the RAF has taken a significant role in British military history.

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RAF's mission is to support the objectives of the British Ministry of Defence, which are to "provide the capabilities needed to ensure the security and defence of the United Kingdom and overseas territories, including against terrorism; to support the Government's foreign policy objectives particularly in promoting international peace and security".

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The RAF was founded on 1 April 1918 by the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service, as recommended in a report prepared by Jan Smuts.

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The RAF was put in charge of British military activity in Iraq, and carried out minor activities in other parts of the British Empire, including establishing bases to protect Singapore and Malaya.

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RAF adopted the doctrine of strategic bombing, which led to the construction of long-range bombers and became its main bombing strategy in the Second World War.

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The RAF adopted night-time area bombing on German cities such as Hamburg and Dresden.

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Much of the Cold War the primary role of the RAF was the defence of Western Europe against potential attack by the Soviet Union, with many squadrons based in West Germany.

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In June 1948 the RAF commenced Operation Firedog against Malayan pro-independence fighters during the Malayan Emergency.

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The RAF played a minor role in the Korean War, with flying boats taking part.

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RAF pilots flew missions using the Royal Navy's Sea Harriers in the air-to-air combat role, in particular Flight Lieutenant Dave Morgan the highest scoring pilot of the war.

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Since 1990, the RAF has been involved in several large-scale operations, including the 1991 Gulf War, the 1999 Kosovo War, the 2001 War in Afghanistan, the 2003 invasion and war in Iraq and the 2011 intervention in Libya.

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From March 2020, as part of Operation Rescript, the RAF has been assisting with the response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom.

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Under Operation Broadshare, the RAF has been involved with COVID-19 relief operations overseas, repatriating stranded nationals and delivering medical supplies and vaccines to British Overseas Territories and military installations.

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Management of the RAF is the responsibility of the Air Force Board, a sub-committee of the Defence Council which is part of the Ministry of Defence and body legally responsible for the defence of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories.

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The Chief of the Air Staff chairs the Air Force Board Standing Committee which decides on the policy and actions required for the RAF to meet the requirements of the Defence Council and His Majesty's Government.

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Administrative and operational command of the RAF is delegated by the Air Force Board to Headquarters Air Command, based at RAF High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire.

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An RAF station is ordinarily subordinate to a group and is commanded by a group captain.

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Control and Reporting Centre at RAF Boulmer is tasked with compiling a Recognised Air Picture of UK air space and providing tactical control of the Quick Reaction Alert Force.

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RAF Schools consist of the squadrons and support apparatus that train new aircrew to join front-line squadrons.

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The commanding officer of No 2 FTS holds the only full-time flying appointment for a Group Captain in the RAF, and is a reservist.

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Figures provided by the International Institute for Strategic Studies from 2012 showed that RAF pilots achieve a relatively high number of flying hours per year when compared with other major NATO allies such as France and Germany.

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The titles and insignia of other ranks in the RAF were based on that of the Army, with some alterations in terminology.

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All Warrant Officers in the RAF are equal in terms of rank, but the most senior Non-Commissioned appointment is known as the Warrant Officer of the Royal Air Force.

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Shorter range, tactical-airlift transport is provided by the Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules, known as the Hercules C4 and Hercules C5 in RAF service, based at RAF Brize Norton and flown by No 47 Squadron.

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AgustaWestland AW109 Grand New of No 32 Squadron based at RAF Northolt provides the VIP transport Command Support Air Transport role.

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