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Celebrating 100 years of defending the country

Wednesday, 31 March 2021 will mark 100 years since the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) was formed and local personnel from RAAF Base Amberley will take part in the Queen’s Colour Presentation Parade and flypast in Canberra.

Ipswich has played a major role in the Air Force story as home to RAAF Base Amberley, the largest air base in Australia.

Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding encouraged the community to reflect on Ipswich’s own contribution to the Air Force’s security and humanitarian missions.

“Since RAAF Base Amberley’s inception in 1940 it has developed into a super base employing about 6,000 military personnel, public servants and contractors,” Mayor Harding said.

“As a veteran and someone who managed the maintenance and later the decommissioning of the F-111 aircraft, I can speak to the high level of training, professionalism and service to the nation achieved by the personnel at the RAAF Base Amberley.

“The defence sector is crucial to our city’s economy, generating over $1.4 billion in annual export value, opportunities for small and medium businesses, and 10 per cent of Ipswich jobs.”

“On behalf of the Ipswich community I would like to congratulate the Royal Australian Air Force on their centenary year and look forward to our continued collaboration into the future.”

Senior ADF officer RAAF Base Amberley Group Captain Iain Carty said it is an honour and privilege to represent Ipswich defence people and their families.

“On the 31 March the RAAF will celebrate its 100th year of service as an independent Air Force and together with industry, government, council and, most importantly our people,” Group Captain Carty said.

“I look forward to commemorating our history, our achievements and our future.”

Air Force will conduct a flypast of more than 60 current and historic aircraft on Wednesday, 31 March, 10.30am to noon (ACT time) at Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra.

The parade and flypast will be broadcast on ABC TV and online from 9am to 11am (Queensland time).

This flypast will be the largest Air Force has conducted in decades, a rare opportunity to see such a wide range of aircraft.

The flypast will commemorate the more than 350,000 men and women who have served in Air Force during the first 100 years, and the 11,100 RAAF members who’ve died serving the nation.

For details visit: airforce.gov.au/100.

For the last 81 years RAAF Amberley has played a major role in supporting and being home to squadrons helping the Air Force to become an expeditionary force across the world not only engaging in wars but undertaking a range of peace keeping and humanitarian missions which continues today.

Officer in Charge of the RAAF Amberley Aviation Heritage Centre Wing Commander Clive Wells will be sharing his experiences as well as the history of the Air Force as part of the Chasing Our Past At Home series by Ipswich Libraries.

This event will be held on Tuesday, 30 March from 6pm until 7pm online via Zoom.

Registrations essential: https://tinyurl.com/2b4fh234. Registrations close Tuesday, 30 March at 9am.

You must be an Ipswich Libraries member to register, it’s easy and free to sign up here.

For assistance, contact 3810 6815.

Informal group portrait of RAF ground staff with RAAF and Royal New Zealand Air Force air crew of a Mitchell bomber squadron, 180 Squadron RAF with the Second Tactical Air Force during WWII. Image taken on 19 July 1944. Image: Australian War Memorial

RAAF heritage

Australia’s air power began with the Australian Flying Corps which fought with distinction in the Middle East and Western Front in WWI. 

Since then, generations of Air Force members have provided outstanding service to the nation – including in WWII, Korea, Malaya, Vietnam, East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Since 1921, more than 11,100 Air Force members have lost their lives while serving Australia – including 9,870 during WWII.

The Australian Medical Assistance Team unload the first vaccines with the assistance of Australian Defence Force staff based in Papua New Guinea. Image: Defence

RAAF today

Currently Air Force members are deployed to the Middle East, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan and supporting Operation Resolute – protecting Australia’s borders.

In the Middle East, RAAF are conducting operations with a KC-30A MultiRole Tanker Transport supported by C-17A Globemasters and C-130J Hercules.

Air Force works collaboratively with Navy, Army and foreign military partners made up more than 14,000 permanent members, 4,500 Reservists and 700 Australian public servants.

A Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II aircraft. Image: Defence

RAAF future

RAAF are transitioning to a networked force capable of delivering air and space power effects for the integrated Joint Force in support of government objectives.

The focus moving forward is the implementation of Plan Jericho and more ‘next generation’ platforms into service.

Plan Jericho is focussed on creating a networked and integrated force, with particular focus on the development of an innovative workforce.

P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance and response aircraft and EA-18G airborne electronic attack aircraft have arrived.

F-35A (Joint Strike Fighters) are now operating in Australia, and in coming years high altitude unmanned aerial systems will enter service. 

Ipswich plays a role in the operation of the F-35A and the creation of the unmanned aerial aircraft.

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