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The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF; french: Aviation royale canadienne, ARC) is the
air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together compose about 0.043391% of the atmosphere (0.04402961% at April 2019 concentration ). Number ...
and
space force A space force is a military branch Military branch (also service branch or armed service) is according to common standard a subdivision of the national armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily arme ...
of Canada. Its role is to "provide the Canadian Forces with relevant, responsive and effective airpower". The RCAF is one of three environmental commands within the unified
Canadian Armed Forces The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF; french: Forces armées canadiennes; ''FAC'') is the unified military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typ ...
. As of 2020, the Royal Canadian Air Force consists of 12,074
Regular ForceIn the Canadian Armed Forces, a Regular Force unit or person is part of the full-time military, as opposed to being part of the Primary Reserve The Primary Reserve of the Canadian Armed Forces (french: Première Réserve des Forces Canadiennes) i ...
and 1,969
Primary Reserve The Primary Reserve of the Canadian Armed Forces (french: Première Réserve des Forces Canadiennes) is the first and largest of the four sub-components of the Canadian Forces reserves, followed by the Canadian Forces Supplementary Reserve, Suppl ...
personnel, supported by 1,518 civilians, and operates 258 manned aircraft and 9
unmanned aerial vehicle , a hunter-killer surveillance UAV , rotorcraft A rotorcraft or rotary-wing aircraft is a heavier-than-air aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to flight, fly by gaining support from the Atmosphere of Earth, air. It counters th ...

unmanned aerial vehicle
s. Lieutenant-General
Al Meinzinger Lieutenant-general (Canada), Lieutenant-General Alexander Donald Meinzinger is the current Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force and Chief of the Air Staff. Career Meinzinger joined the regular Canadi ...
is the current
commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force The Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force ( French: ''commandant de l'Aviation royale canadienne'') is the institutional head of the Royal Canadian Air Force , image = Royal Canadian Air Force Badge.svg , image_size ...
and chief of the Air Force Staff. The Royal Canadian Air Force is responsible for all aircraft operations of the Canadian Forces, enforcing the security of Canada's airspace and providing aircraft to support the missions of the
Royal Canadian Navy , march = "Heart of Oak" , mascot = SONAR (Newfoundland dog) , battles = , website = , commander1 = , Monarchy of Canada, of Cana ...
and the
Canadian Army ) , colors = Rifle Green and Gold , colors_label = Colors , march = "The Great Little Army "The Great Little Army" is a Music of the United Kingdom, British March (music), military ...
. The RCAF is a partner with the
United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together compose about 0.043391% of the atmosphe ...

United States Air Force
in protecting continental airspace under the
North American Aerospace Defense Command North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD ), known until March 1981 as the North American Air Defense Command, is a Combined operations, combined organization of the United States and Canada that provides aerospace warning, air sovereig ...
(NORAD). The RCAF also provides all primary air resources to and is responsible for the
National Search and Rescue Program The National Search and Rescue Program (NSP) is the name given by the Government of Canada to the collective search and rescue (SAR) activities in Canada. Until 2015, the NSP was administered by the National Search and Rescue Secretariat (NSS). Al ...
. The RCAF traces its history to the
Canadian Air Force , image = Royal Canadian Air Force Badge.svg , image_size = 250px , caption = Badge of the Royal Air Force#Related badges, Badge of the Royal Canadian Air Force , start_date ...
, which was formed in 1920. The Canadian Air Force was granted royal sanction in 1924 by King
George V George V (George Frederick Ernest Albert; 3 June 1865 – 20 January 1936) was King of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy A co ...

George V
to form the Royal Canadian Air Force. In 1968, the RCAF was amalgamated with the
Royal Canadian Navy , march = "Heart of Oak" , mascot = SONAR (Newfoundland dog) , battles = , website = , commander1 = , Monarchy of Canada, of Cana ...
and the
Canadian Army ) , colors = Rifle Green and Gold , colors_label = Colors , march = "The Great Little Army "The Great Little Army" is a Music of the United Kingdom, British March (music), military ...
, as part of the
unification of the Canadian Forces The unification of the Canadian Armed Forces took place on 1 February 1968, when the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army, and Royal Canadian Air Force were merged to form the Canadian Armed Forces. History A white paper was table (verb), tabled in ...
. Air units were split between several different commands:
Air Defence CommandAir Defence Command was a command Command may refer to: Computing * Command (computing), a statement in a computer language * COMMAND.COM, the default operating system shell and command-line interpreter for DOS * Command key, a modifier key on Ap ...
(ADC; interceptors),
Air Transport Command :''For the current active command, see Air Mobility Command'' Air Transport Command (ATC) was a United States Air Force unit that was created during World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW ...
(ATC; airlift, search and rescue), Mobile Command (tactical fighters, helicopters), Maritime Command (anti-submarine warfare, maritime patrol), as well as Training Command (TC). In 1975, some commands were dissolved (ADC, ATC, TC), and all air units were placed under a new environmental command called simply Air Command (AIRCOM; ). Air Command reverted to its historic name of "Royal Canadian Air Force" in August 2011. The Royal Canadian Air Force has served in the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved —including all of the great powers—forming two opposing s: the and the . In a total war directly involving m ...
, the
Korean War The Korean War (see § Names) was a war fought between North Korea North Korea (Korean language, Korean: /, McCune–Reischauer, MR: ''Chosŏn''; literally /, McCune–Reischauer, MR: ''Pukchosŏn'', or /, Revised Romanization ...

Korean War
, the
Persian Gulf War The Gulf War was a war waged by coalition forces The term "coalition" is the denotation for a group formed when two or more people, factions, states, political parties, militaries etc. agree to work together temporarily in a partnership t ...
, as well as several
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for har ...

United Nations
peacekeeping missions and
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 30 European and North American countries. Th ...
operations. As a NATO member, the force maintained a presence in
Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continental landmass of with both and , and is bordered by the to the ...

Europe
during the second half of the 20th century.


History


1920–1945: Pre-unification

The
Canadian Air Force , image = Royal Canadian Air Force Badge.svg , image_size = 250px , caption = Badge of the Royal Air Force#Related badges, Badge of the Royal Canadian Air Force , start_date ...
(CAF) was established in 1920 as the successor to a short-lived two-squadron
Canadian Air Force , image = Royal Canadian Air Force Badge.svg , image_size = 250px , caption = Badge of the Royal Air Force#Related badges, Badge of the Royal Canadian Air Force , start_date ...
that was formed during the
First World War World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a that began on 28 July 1914 and ended on 11 November 1918. It involved much of , as well as , the and , and was also fought ...
in Europe. Wing Commander John Scott Williams was tasked in 1921 with organizing the CAF, handing command over later the same year to Air Marshal Lindsay Gordon. The new Canadian Air Force was a branch of the Air Board and was chiefly a training militia that provided refresher training to veteran pilots. Many CAF members also worked with the Air Board's Civil Operations Branch on operations that included
forestry Forestry is the science and craft of creating, managing, planting, using, conserving and repairing forest A forest is an area of land dominated by s. Hundreds of definitions of forest are used throughout the world, incorporating fac ...
,
surveying Surveying or land surveying is the technique, profession, art, and science of determining the terrestrial or three-dimensional positions of points and the distances and angles between them. A land surveying professional is called a land surveyo ...
and anti-smuggling patrols. In 1923, the CAF became responsible for all flying operations in Canada, including civil aviation. In 1924, the Canadian Air Force, was granted the royal title, becoming the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). Most of its work was civil in nature; however, in the late 1920s the RCAF evolved into more of a military organization. After budget cuts in the early 1930s, the air force began to rebuild.


World War II

During the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved —including all of the great powers—forming two opposing s: the and the . In a total war directly involving m ...
, the RCAF was a major contributor to the
British Commonwealth Air Training Plan British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and common culture * British English, t ...

British Commonwealth Air Training Plan
and was involved in operations in
Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the British Isles, the List of European islands by area, largest European island, and the List of i ...

Great Britain
, Europe, the north Atlantic,
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...
, southern Asia, and with home defence. By the end of the war, the RCAF had become the fourth largest allied air force. During WWII the Royal Canadian Air Force was headquartered in 20-23 Lincolns Inn Fields, London. A commemorative plaque can be found on the outside of the building.


1945–1968

After the war, the RCAF reduced its strength. Because of the rising
Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to as a workers' state or workers' republic, is a sovere ...
threat to the security of Europe, Canada joined
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 30 European and North American countries. Th ...
in 1949, and the RCAF established No. 1 Air Division RCAF consisting of four wings with three fighter squadrons each, based in
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its extends from the to the and from the to the and the ; overseas territories include in , in the N ...

France
and
West Germany ) , capital = Bonnf , largest_city = Hamburg en, Hamburgian(s) , timezone1 = Central European Time, CET , utc_offset1 = +1 , timezone1_DST = Central Eu ...
. In 1950, the RCAF became involved with the transport of troops and supplies to the
Korean War The Korean War (see § Names) was a war fought between North Korea North Korea (Korean language, Korean: /, McCune–Reischauer, MR: ''Chosŏn''; literally /, McCune–Reischauer, MR: ''Pukchosŏn'', or /, Revised Romanization ...

Korean War
; however, it did not provide RCAF combat units. Members of the RCAF served in USAF units as exchange officers and several flew in combat. Both auxiliary and regular air defence squadrons were run by
Air Defence CommandAir Defence Command was a command Command may refer to: Computing * Command (computing), a statement in a computer language * COMMAND.COM, the default operating system shell and command-line interpreter for DOS * Command key, a modifier key on Ap ...
. At the same time, the
Pinetree Line The Pinetree Line was a series of radar Radar is a detection system that uses radio waves to determine the range, angle, or velocity of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to flight, fly ...
, the
Mid-Canada Line The Mid-Canada Line (MCL), also known as the McGill Fence, was a line of radar Radar is a detection system that uses radio waves to determine the range, angle, or velocity of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft An aircraft is ...
and the
DEW Line The Distant Early Warning Line, also known as the DEW Line or Early Warning Line, was a system of radar Radar is a detection system that uses radio waves to determine the range, angle, or velocity of objects. It can be used to detect air ...
radar stations, largely operated by the RCAF, were built across Canada because of the growing Soviet nuclear threat. In 1957, Canada and the United States created the joint
North American Air Defense Command North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD ), known until March 1981 as the North American Air Defense Command, is a combined organization of the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as th ...
(NORAD). Coastal defence and peacekeeping also became priorities during the 1950s and 1960s.


1968–present: Unification

In 1968, the
Royal Canadian Navy , march = "Heart of Oak" , mascot = SONAR (Newfoundland dog) , battles = , website = , commander1 = , Monarchy of Canada, of Cana ...
, Royal Canadian Air Force and
Canadian Army ) , colors = Rifle Green and Gold , colors_label = Colors , march = "The Great Little Army "The Great Little Army" is a Music of the United Kingdom, British March (music), military ...
were
amalgamated Amalgamation is the process of combining or uniting multiple entities into one form. Amalgamation, amalgam, and other derivatives may refer to: Mathematics and science * Amalgam (chemistry), the combination of mercury with another metal ** Pan am ...
to form the unified
Canadian Forces The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF; french: Forces armées canadiennes; ''FAC'') is the unified military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare ...
. This initiative was overseen by then Liberal Defence Minister,
Paul Hellyer Paul Theodore Hellyer (born 6 August 1923) is a Canadian engineer, politician, writer, and commentator. He is the longest serving current member of the Privy Council of Canada Privy is an old-fashioned term for an outdoor toilet, often known a ...
. The controversial merger maintained several existing organizations and created some new ones: In Europe, No. 1 Air Division, operated
Canadair CF-104 Starfighter The Canadair CF-104 Starfighter (CF-111, CL-90) is a modified version of the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter supersonic fighter aircraft built in Canada by Canadair under licence. It was primarily used as a ground attack aircraft, despite being designe ...
nuclear strike/attack and reconnaissance under NATO's 4 ATAF; Air Defence Command: operated
McDonnell CF-101 Voodoo The McDonnell CF-101 Voodoo was an all-weather interceptor aircraft operated by the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Canadian Forces between 1961 and 1984. They were manufactured by the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation of St. Louis, Missouri for ...
interceptors,
CIM-10 Bomarc The Boeing CIM-10 BOMARC (Boeing Michigan Aeronautical Research Center) (IM-99 Weapon System prior to September 1962) was a supersonic ramjet powered long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) used during the Cold War for the air defense of North ...
missiles and the SAGE radar system within NORAD; Air Transport Command: provided strategic airlift for the NATO and UN Peacekeeping missions; and Training Command. Aviation assets of the Royal Canadian Navy were combined with the RCAF Canadair CP-107 Argus long-range patrol aircraft under Maritime Command. In 1975, the different commands, and the scattered aviation assets, were consolidated under Air Command (AIRCOM). On 9 November 1984,
Canada Post Canada Post Corporation (french: Société canadienne des postes), trading as Canada Post (french: Postes Canada), is a Crown corporations of Canada, Crown corporation which functions as the primary Postal administration, postal operator in Canad ...
issued "Air Force" as part of the Canadian Forces series. The stamps were designed by Ralph Tibbles, based on an illustration by William Southern. The 32¢ stamps are perforated 12 x 12.5 and were printed by Ashton-Potter Limited. In the early 1990s, Canada provided a detachment of CF-18 Hornets for the air defence mission in
Operation Desert Shield The Gulf War was a war waged by coalition forces from 35 nations led by the United States against Iraq Iraq ( ar, ٱلْعِرَاق, '; ku, عێراق '), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِر ...
. The force performed
combat air patrol Combat air patrol (CAP) is a type of flying mission for fighter aircraft Fighter aircraft are fixed-wing aircraft, fixed-wing military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat. In military conflict, the role of fighter aircraft is ...
s over operations in Kuwait and Iraq, undertook a number of air-to-ground bombing missions, and, on one occasion, attacked an Iraqi patrol boat in the Persian Gulf. In the late 1990s, Air Command's
CF-18 Hornet The McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornet (official military designation CF-188) is a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) variant of the American McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet fighter aircraft. In 1980, the F/A-18 was selected as the winner of the New Figh ...
s took part in the
Operation Allied Force The NATO bombing of Yugoslavia was the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's (NATO) military operation against the Serbia and Montenegro, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War. The air strikes lasted from March 24, 1999 to June 10 ...
in
Yugoslavia Yugoslavia (; sh, Jugoslavija / ; sl, Jugoslavija ; mk, Југославија ;; rup, Iugoslavia; hu, Jugoszlávia; Pannonian Rusyn Image:Novi Sad mayor office.jpg, 250px, Mayor office written in four official languages used in the ...

Yugoslavia
, and in the 2000s, AIRCOM was heavily involved in the
Afghanistan War War in Afghanistan, Afghan war, or Afghan civil war may refer to: * Conquest of Afghanistan by Alexander the Great (330 BC – 327 BC) *Muslim conquests of Afghanistan The Muslim conquests of Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto/Dari languag ...
, transporting troops and assets to Kandahar. Later in the decade-long war, AIRCOM set up a purpose-specific air wing, Joint Task Force Afghanistan Air Wing, equipped with several
CH-146 Griffon The Bell CH-146 Griffon is a multi-role utility helicopter A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by horizontally-spinning rotors. This allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hove ...
and helicopters, CC-130 Hercules, CU-161 Sperwer and leased CU-170 Heron
UAV , a hunter-killer surveillance UAV , rotorcraft A rotorcraft or rotary-wing aircraft is a heavier-than-air aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to flight, fly by gaining support from the Atmosphere of Earth, air. It counters th ...

UAV
s in support of the Canadian Forces and
ISAF ' ps, کمک او همکاري ' , allies = Afghanistan Afghanistan (; /: , Pashto: , Dari: ), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a at the crossroads of and . Afghanistan is bordered by to the east and ...

ISAF
mission. The wing stood down on 18 August 2011. From 18 March to 1 November 2011, the RCAF was engaged in
Operation Mobile Operation Mobile (french: Opération Mobile) was the name given to Canadian Forces activities in the 2011 military intervention in Libya. The United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or ...
, Canada's contribution to
Operation Unified Protector Operation Unified Protector was a NATO operation in 2011 enforcing United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendl ...
in Libya. Seven CF-18 Hornet fighter aircraft and several other aircraft served under Task Force Libeccio as part of the military intervention. On 16 August 2011, the Government of Canada announced that the name "Air Command" was being changed to the air force's original historic name: Royal Canadian Air Force (along with the change of name of Maritime Command to Royal Canadian Navy and Land Force Command to Canadian Army). The change was made to better reflect Canada's military heritage and align Canada with other key
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existenc ...

Commonwealth
countries whose military units use the royal designation. The RCAF adopted a new badge in 2013, which is similar to the pre-unification RCAF badge (although placed in the modern frame used for command badges). The Latin motto of Air Command – ''Sic itur ad astra'' – which was the motto of the Canadian Air Force when first formed after the First World War (before it became the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1924) was retained. Though traditional insignia for the RCAF was restored in 2015, there has been no restoration of the traditional uniforms or rank structure of the historical service (apart from a rank of "Aviator", which replaced that of "Private" in 2015). On 17 April 2014, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...

Canada
was dispatching six
CF-18 The McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornet (official military designation CF-188) is a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) variant of the American McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet fighter aircraft. In 1980, the F/A-18 was selected as the winner of the New Figh ...
s and military personnel to assist
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 30 European and North American countries. Th ...
in operations in Eastern Europe.


Equipment


Aircraft

The Royal Canadian Air Force has about 391 aircraft in service, making it the sixth-largest air force in the
Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North America, North and South America. The Americas make up most of the land in Earth's Western Hemisphere and comprise the New World. Along with th ...

Americas
, after the
United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together compose about 0.043391% of the atmosphe ...

United States Air Force
,
United States Navy ), (unofficial)."''Non sibi sed patriae''" ( en, "Not for self but for country") (unofficial). , colors = Blue and gold  , colors_label = Colors , march = "Anchors Aweigh" , mascot = , equipment = List of equipment of the United St ...
,
United States Army The United States Army (USA) is the land Land is the solid surface of Earth that is not permanently submerged in water. Most but not all land is situated at elevations above sea level (variable over geologic time frames) and consists ma ...
,
United States Marine Corps The United States Marine Corps (USMC), also referred to as the United States Marines, is the Marines, maritime land force military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for conducting expeditionary warfare, exped ...
, and
Brazilian Air Force "Wings that protect the country" , colours = , colours_label = , march = s:Hino dos Aviadores, Hino dos Aviadores , mascot = , anniversaries ...

Brazilian Air Force
.


Fixed-wing


Rotary wing


Leased and contractor aircraft

The Canadian Forces have leased aircraft from vendors to help transport troops and equipment from Canada and other locations in the past decade. Transport aircraft have been leased as required. ; Beechcraft B300 Super King Air * Two aircraft leased from Transwest Air Limited. Used by the Multi-Engine Utility Flight (MEUF) in
CFB Trenton Canadian Forces Base Trenton (also CFB Trenton), formerly RCAF Station Trenton, is a Canadian Forces base located within the city of Quinte West, Ontario Quinte West is a city, geographically located in but List of Ontario separated municipal ...
. Flown by RCAF pilots, they are used for light transport of personnel and equipment within North America. ; Dornier Alpha Jet Type A * Twelve civil aircraft are operated by Discovery Air Defence Services for CATS (Contracted Airborne Training Services) and are based at
CFB Cold Lake Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake , abbreviated as CFB Cold Lake, is a Canadian Forces Base in the City of Cold Lake, Alberta Cold Lake is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography' ...
and
CFB Bagotville Canadian Forces Base Bagotville , commonly referred to as CFB Bagotville, and also known as Bagotville Airport or Saguenay-Bagotville Airport, is a Canadian Forces base located west of Bagotville in the city of Saguenay. Located in the centre ...
; * Twelve civil aircraft are operated by Lortie Aviation, formerly Northern Lights International Airlines Ltd.. Based in
CFB Cold Lake Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake , abbreviated as CFB Cold Lake, is a Canadian Forces Base in the City of Cold Lake, Alberta Cold Lake is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography' ...
;"Tactical combat training provided to the armed forces of Canada, France and the United States."
''Lortie Aviation.'' Retrieved: 26 September 2011.
ex-
Swiss Air Force The Swiss Air Force (german: Schweizer Luftwaffe; french: Forces aériennes suisses; it, Forze aeree svizzere; rm, Aviatica militara svizra) is the air component of the Swiss Armed Forces The Swiss Armed Forces (German: ''Schweizer Armee, ...
jets


Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)


RCAF UAS

; SAGEM Sperwer :Designated CU-161; entered service in 2003, retired ;
IAI Heron The IAI Heron (Machatz-1) is a medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle being tested in California. , a hunter-killer surveillance UAV An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or uncrewed aerial vehicle, also known as unmanned a ...
:3 leased in 2009 for use in Afghanistan; turned over to the
Royal Australian Air Force "Through Adversity to the Stars" , colours = , colours_label = , march = Royal Australian Air Force March Past (Eagles of Australia) , mascot = , anni ...
in 2011


Canadian Army/RCN UAS

; BAE Systems Silver Fox :Acquired in 2004 by the Canadian Forces Experimentation Centre ;
Boeing Insitu ScanEagle The Boeing Insitu ScanEagle is a small, long-endurance, low-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) built by Insitu, a subsidiary of Boeing, and is used for reconnaissance. The ScanEagle was designed by Insitu based on the Insitu SeaScan, a commer ...
:Designated CU-165; operated by the
Canadian Army ) , colors = Rifle Green and Gold , colors_label = Colors , march = "The Great Little Army "The Great Little Army" is a Music of the United Kingdom, British March (music), military ...
2008-2014 ; Elbit Skylark :Designated CU-168; operated by the Canadian Army ;
AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven The AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven is a small hand-launched remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicle being tested in California. , a hunter-killer surveillance UAV An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or uncrewed aerial vehicle, also known as unman ...
:Operated by the Canadian Army ;
AeroVironment RQ-20 Puma The AeroVironment RQ-20 Puma is a small, battery powered, American, hand-launched unmanned aircraft system produced by AeroVironment based in California. Primary mission is surveillance and intelligence gathering using an electro-optical sensor, e ...
:Acquired in 2018; operated by the
Royal Canadian Navy , march = "Heart of Oak" , mascot = SONAR (Newfoundland dog) , battles = , website = , commander1 = , Monarchy of Canada, of Cana ...
; Prioria Robotics Maveric :Operated by the Canadian Army ; Saab Skeldar :Acquired in 2019; operated by the Royal Canadian Navy and CANSOFCOM ;
Boeing Insitu RQ-21 Blackjack The Boeing Insitu RQ-21 Blackjack, formerly called the Integrator, is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United State ...
:Designated CU-172; 5 acquired in 2016, operated by the Canadian Army


Weapons and other equipment

Weapons systems are used by the CF-18 Hornet, CP-140 Aurora, CH-146 Griffon and the CH-148 Cyclone.


Retired weapons


Structure

The
commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force The Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force ( French: ''commandant de l'Aviation royale canadienne'') is the institutional head of the Royal Canadian Air Force , image = Royal Canadian Air Force Badge.svg , image_size ...
, located at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, commands and provides strategic direction to the Air Force. The commander of 1 Canadian Air Division and Canadian NORAD Region, based in Winnipeg, is responsible for the operational command and control of Royal Canadian Air Force activities throughout Canada and worldwide. The RCAF's other Air Division, 2 Canadian Air Division, was established in June 2009, and consists of training establishments. There are 13
wing A wing is a type of fin A fin is a thin component or appendage attached to a larger body or structure. Fins typically function as foils that produce lift or thrust Thrust is a reaction (physics), reaction force (physics), force describ ...
s across Canada, 11 operational and 2 used for training. Wings represent the grouping of various
squadron Squadron may refer to: * Squadron (army), a military unit of cavalry, tanks, or equivalent subdivided into troops or tank companies * Squadron (aviation), a military unit that consists of three or four flights with a total of 12 to 24 aircraft, dep ...
s, both operational and support, under a single tactical commander reporting to the operational commander. Ten wings also include a Canadian Forces base along with other operational and support units. The rank of
general A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines Marines or naval infantry, are typically a military force trained to operate on Littoral Zone, littoral zone in suppo ...
is held when an
air officer An air officer is an air force officer of the rank of air commodore or higher. Such officers may be termed "officers of air rank". While the term originated in the Royal Air Force The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom's Air force ...
is serving as chief of the Defence Staff. The commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force holds the rank of
lieutenant-general Lieutenant general (Lt Gen, LTG and similar) is a three-star military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed con ...
. Divisions are commanded by major-generals. Brigadier-generals are typically second-in-command of a division. Wings are commanded by colonels. Squadrons are commanded by lieutenant-colonels. Majors are typically second-in-command of squadrons, or flight commanders. Captains, lieutenants and second lieutenants are the junior level leaders in RCAF squadrons and headquarters.


Ranks


Commander-in-Chief


Officers


Non-commissioned members

On 1 April 2015, the rank structure and insignia changed."New Royal Canadian Air Force uniform unveiled."
''CTV Ottawa''1 April 2015.
The rank of private was replaced with that of aviator. The previously used term "
leading aircraftman Leading aircraftman (LAC) or leading aircraftwoman (LACW) is a junior rank in some air forces. It sits between aircraftman and senior aircraftman, and has a NATO rank code of OR-2. The rank badge is a horizontal two-bladed Propeller (aircraft) ...
" was considered not to be gender neutral."DND Backgrounder."
''news.gc.ca'', April 2015.
Insignia were also changed from golden yellow to a pearl-grey colour similar to that worn before unification of Canada's armed forces in 1968. A revival of the former rank titles of the RCAF did not occur, however, as such an extensive change was considered "too complicated and confusing". Instead, the current rank titles were retained (with the exception of aviator). The
Royal Flying Corps "Through Adversity to the Stars" , colors= , colours_label= , march= , mascot= , anniversaries= , decorations= , battle_honours= , battles_label=Wars , battles=First World War , disbanded=merged with RNAS The Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) ...
, considered to be a predecessor of the RCAF, used rank titles similar to the existing rank titles of the RCAF.


Symbols


Badge

The
badge A badge is a device or accessory, often containing the insignia An insignia () is a sign or mark distinguishing a group, grade, rank, or function. It can be a symbol of personal power or that of an official group or governing body. On its ...
of the Royal Canadian Air Force consists of: *
St Edward's Crown St Edward's Crown is the centrepiece of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom The Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom, originally the Crown Jewels of England, are a collection of royal ceremonial objects kept in the Tower of London The ...

St Edward's Crown
* An eagle superimposed on a circlet * A compartment of maple leaves * Motto: ''Sic Itur Ad Astra'' (Latin for "Such is the pathway to the stars")


Roundels

Roundels used from 1920 until 1945 were usually the same as
Royal Air Force roundels The air forces of the United Kingdom – the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm, the Army's Army Air Corps (United Kingdom), Army Air Corps and the Royal Air Force use a roundel, a Circle, circular identification mark, painted on aircraft to identify the ...
although not all variations were used and colours were matched to locally available paints. File:RCAF Type1 Roundel.png, 1945–1946 File:Roundel of the Royal Canadian Air Force (1946-1965).svg, 1946–1965 File:RCAF Centennial Roundel.svg,
Canadian Centennial The Canadian Centennial was a yearlong celebration held in 1967 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. Celebrations in Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a ...

1967 variant File:Roundel of Canada.svg, 1965–current File:Roundel of Canada - Low Visibility.svg, Current
low-vis


See also

* Planned Canadian Forces projects * Royal Canadian Air Force VIP aircraft


References


Further reading

* Douglas, W. A. B. ''The Creation of a National Air Force: Official History of the Royal Canadian Air Force, v. 2.'' Toronto: University of Toronto Press (in co-operation with the Department of National Defence), 1986. . * * Larry Milberry, Milberry, Larry, ed. ''Sixty Years: The RCAF and CF Air Command 1924–1984''. Toronto: Canav Books, 1984. . * Piggott, Peter. ''Flying Canucks: Famous Canadian Aviators.'' Toronto: Hounslow Press, 1996. . * Piggott, Peter. ''Flying Canucks II: Pioneers of Canadian Aviation.'' Toronto: Hounslow Press, 1997. .


External links

*
Canadian Air Force aircraft and equipment of Canada(Air recognition)

"Roundel Round-Up" – Vintage Wings of Canada's history of British and Canadian roundel styles from 1914 through and into the 21st century

''The Royal Canadian Air Force in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic'' Manuscript
at Dartmouth College Library {{Authority control Royal Canadian Air Force, Federal departments and agencies of Canada 1924 establishments in Canada Military units and formations established in 1924 Organizations based in Canada with royal patronage 1968 disestablishments in Canada Military units and formations disestablished in 1968