Royal Air Force

RAFairmanBritishR.A.F.Air ForceairmenstationRoyal Air Force (RAF)British Royal Air Forcestation commander
The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom's aerial warfare force.wikipedia
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History of the Royal Air Force

RAFRoyal Air ForceAnnual Church Service of the RAF
Since its formation, the RAF has taken a significant role in British military history.
The history of the Royal Air Force, the air force of the United Kingdom, spans a century of British military aviation.

Battle of Britain

Britainair battle with GermanyBattle of Britain Day
In particular, it played a large part in the Second World War where it fought its most famous campaign, the Battle of Britain. In the Battle of Britain in 1940, the RAF (supplemented by 2 Fleet Air Arm Squadrons, Polish, Czecho-Slovak and other multinational pilots and ground personnel) defended the skies over Britain against the numerically superior German Luftwaffe.
The Battle of Britain (Luftschlacht um England, literally "The Air Battle for England") was a military campaign of the Second World War, in which the Royal Air Force (RAF) defended the United Kingdom (UK) against large-scale attacks by Nazi Germany's air force, the Luftwaffe.

Fighter aircraft

fighterfightersjet fighter
This largely consists of fixed-wing aircraft, including: fighter and strike aircraft, airborne early warning and control aircraft, ISTAR and SIGINT aircraft, aerial refueling aircraft and strategic and tactical transport aircraft.
The word "fighter" did not become the official English-language term for such aircraft until after World War I. In the British Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force these aircraft were referred to as "scouts" into the early 1920s.

Operation Shader

air strikesBritish action against ISIS in IraqBritish participation
Most of the RAF's aircraft and personnel are based in the UK, with many others serving on operations (principally over Iraq and Syria) or at long-established overseas bases (Ascension Island, Cyprus, Gibraltar, and the Falkland Islands).
Prior to this, the Royal Air Force had been engaged in a humanitarian relief effort over Mount Sinjar since 8 August 2014, which involved multiple aid airdrops by transport aircraft and the airlifting of displaced refugees.

Military history of the United Kingdom

British military historyBritishmilitary
Since its formation, the RAF has taken a significant role in British military history.
The present-day British Armed Forces encompass the Royal Navy, the British Army, and the Royal Air Force.

Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)

Ministry of DefenceMoDUK Ministry of Defence
The RAF's mission is to support the objectives of the British Ministry of Defence (MoD), 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".
During the 1920s and 1930s, British civil servants and politicians, looking back at the performance of the state during the First World War, concluded that there was a need for greater co-ordination between the three services that made up the armed forces of the United Kingdom—the Royal Navy, the British Army and the Royal Air Force.

RAF Ascension Island

Wideawake AirfieldAscension Island1961 Target Tracking Radar
Most of the RAF's aircraft and personnel are based in the UK, with many others serving on operations (principally over Iraq and Syria) or at long-established overseas bases (Ascension Island, Cyprus, Gibraltar, and the Falkland Islands).
The airfield is jointly operated by the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and the United States Air Force (USAF).

Royal Flying Corps

RFCairmanBritish Royal Flying Corps
Following publication of the "Smuts report" prepared by Jan Smuts the RAF was founded on 1 April 1918, with headquarters located in the former Hotel Cecil, during the First World War, by the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS).
The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) was the air arm of the British Army before and during the First World War, until it merged with the Royal Naval Air Service on 1 April 1918 to form the Royal Air Force.

Joint Helicopter Command

Joint Helicopter ForceJHCJoint Helicopter Force (Iraq)
The majority of the RAF's rotary-wing aircraft form part of the tri-service Joint Helicopter Command in support of ground forces.
Joint Helicopter Command was formed on 5 October 1999, from a recommendation in the 1998 Strategic Defence Review to consolidate the battlefield helicopters of the British Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy under a single command.

RAF Iraq Command

Iraq CommandBritish Forces in IraqIraq
After the war, the service was drastically cut and its inter-war years were relatively quiet, with the RAF taking responsibility for the control of Iraq and executing a number of minor actions in other parts of the British Empire.
Iraq Command was the Royal Air Force (RAF) commanded inter-service command in charge of British forces in Iraq in the 1920s and early 1930s, during the period of the British Mandate of Mesopotamia.

Fleet Air Arm

FAARoyal Navy Fleet Air ArmBritish Fleet Air Arm
Although the RAF is the principal British air power arm, the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm and the British Army's Army Air Corps also deliver air power which is integrated into the maritime, littoral and land environments.
The Fleet Air Arm was formed in 1924 as an organisational unit of the Royal Air Force which was then operating the aircraft embarked on RN ships – the Royal Naval Air Service having been merged with the British Army's Royal Flying Corps in 1918, to form the Royal Air Force – and did not come under the direct control of the Admiralty until mid-1939.

Royal Naval Air Service

RNASRNAS Armoured Car SectionRoyal Naval Air Service Armoured Car Section
Following publication of the "Smuts report" prepared by Jan Smuts the RAF was founded on 1 April 1918, with headquarters located in the former Hotel Cecil, during the First World War, by the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS).
The Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) was the air arm of the Royal Navy, under the direction of the Admiralty's Air Department, and existed formally from 1 July 1914 to 1 April 1918, when it was merged with the British Army's Royal Flying Corps to form the Royal Air Force, the world's first independent air force.

Army Air Corps (United Kingdom)

Army Air CorpsAACBritish Army Air Corps
Although the RAF is the principal British air power arm, the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm and the British Army's Army Air Corps also deliver air power which is integrated into the maritime, littoral and land environments.
The following year, the Battalion was expanded into the Military Wing of the Royal Flying Corps which saw action throughout most of the First World War until 1 April 1918, when it was merged with the Royal Naval Air Service to form the Royal Air Force.

Jan Smuts

SmutsGeneral SmutsJan Christiaan Smuts
Following publication of the "Smuts report" prepared by Jan Smuts the RAF was founded on 1 April 1918, with headquarters located in the former Hotel Cecil, during the First World War, by the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS).
From 1917 to 1919, he was also one of the members of the British Imperial War Cabinet and he was instrumental in the founding of what became the Royal Air Force (RAF).

RAF Mount Pleasant

Mount PleasantMount Pleasant AirfieldMount Pleasant Airport
Most of the RAF's aircraft and personnel are based in the UK, with many others serving on operations (principally over Iraq and Syria) or at long-established overseas bases (Ascension Island, Cyprus, Gibraltar, and the Falkland Islands).
RAF Mount Pleasant is the newest permanent airfield in the Royal Air Force.

RAF Bomber Command

Bomber CommandRoyal Air Force Bomber CommandBomber
The largest RAF effort during the war was the strategic bombing campaign against Germany by Bomber Command.
RAF Bomber Command controlled the RAF's bomber forces from 1936 to 1968.

Article XV squadrons

Article XVArticle XV squadronArticle XV of the Empire Air Training Scheme
Under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan of December 1939, the air forces of British Commonwealth countries trained and formed "Article XV squadrons" for service with RAF formations.
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.

Strategic bombing

air raidair raidsterror bombing
The largest RAF effort during the war was the strategic bombing campaign against Germany by Bomber Command. The RAF developed 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.
These theorists were highly influential, both on the military justification for an independent air force (such as the Royal Air Force) and in influencing political thoughts on a future war as exemplified by Stanley Baldwin's 1932 comment that the bomber will always get through.

Operation Chastise

DambustersDambusters raidDam Busters
The RAF adopted night-time area bombing on German cities such as Hamburg and Dresden, and developed precision bombing techniques for specific operations, such as the "Dambusters" raid by No. 617 Squadron, or the Amiens prison raid known as Operation Jericho.
Operation Chastise was an attack on German dams carried out on 16–17 May 1943 by Royal Air Force No. 617 Squadron, later called the Dam Busters, using a purpose-built "bouncing bomb" developed by Barnes Wallis.

No. 617 Squadron RAF

617 SquadronNo. 617 SquadronDambusters
The RAF adopted night-time area bombing on German cities such as Hamburg and Dresden, and developed precision bombing techniques for specific operations, such as the "Dambusters" raid by No. 617 Squadron, or the Amiens prison raid known as Operation Jericho.
Number 617 Squadron is a Royal Air Force aircraft squadron, based at RAF Marham in Norfolk.

Air force

air forcesairair arm
The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom's aerial warfare force.
The British Royal Air Force was the first independent air force in the world.

Luftwaffe

German Air ForceGermanair force
In the Battle of Britain in 1940, the RAF (supplemented by 2 Fleet Air Arm Squadrons, Polish, Czecho-Slovak and other multinational pilots and ground personnel) defended the skies over Britain against the numerically superior German Luftwaffe.
During the Battle of Britain, however, despite inflicting severe damage to the RAF's infrastructure and, during the subsequent Blitz, devastating many British cities, the German air force failed to batter the beleaguered British into submission.

British Commonwealth Air Training Plan

Empire Air Training SchemeCommonwealth Air Training PlanJoint Air Training Scheme
Under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan of December 1939, the air forces of British Commonwealth countries trained and formed "Article XV squadrons" for service with RAF formations.
BCATP remains as one of the single largest aviation training programs in history and was responsible for training nearly half the pilots, navigators, bomb aimers, air gunners, wireless operators and flight engineers who served with the Royal Air Force (RAF), Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm (FAA), Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) during the war.

Bombing of Dresden in World War II

bombing of DresdenDresdenfirebombing of Dresden
The RAF adopted night-time area bombing on German cities such as Hamburg and Dresden, and developed precision bombing techniques for specific operations, such as the "Dambusters" raid by No. 617 Squadron, or the Amiens prison raid known as Operation Jericho.
In four raids between 13 and 15 February 1945, 722 heavy bombers of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and 527 of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) dropped more than 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices on the city.

Airlift

strategic airlifttactical airliftstrategic airlifter
This largely consists of fixed-wing aircraft, including: fighter and strike aircraft, airborne early warning and control aircraft, ISTAR and SIGINT aircraft, aerial refueling aircraft and strategic and tactical transport aircraft.
In April 1923 aircraft of the RAF's Iraq Command flew 280 Sikh troops from Kingarban to Kirkuk in the first British air trooping operation.