Our Heritage

Find out about the roots of the RAAF extending back to the early days of aviation; our involvement in world events over the past 100 years; the values we operate by; and our vision for the future.

Proud service built on sound values

A set of values underpins everything we do in the Air Force, from developing military strategy to the way we behave with each other and the communities we serve.


Air Force People always respect the rights of others. Our people are just and inclusive. We recognise diversity is essential to improve our capability.


Air Force People demonstrate professionalism, mastery and continuous improvement in everything we do. Our people are motivated and encouraged to innovate. We are capability focussed, operationally ready and are driven to successfully complete the missions required of us.


Air Force People respond swiftly to challenges. Our people are resilient and quickly adapt to changes in our environment. We are flexible in how we think and act and we use resources wisely.


Air Force People are trusted to defend our country. Our people are courageous and serve with pride and commitment. We cherish our heritage, honour the achievements and sacrifices of those who have gone before us and will create the legacy for the future.


Air Force People have the courage to do what is right. Our people are honest, ethical and demonstrate sound judgement. We hold ourselves and others to account.


Air Force People work together to deliver precision air and space power. Our people collaborate with the Defence Team and our partners. We share the responsibility to ensure a safe environment, everywhere and always.

Over a century of loyal service

The RAAF is the second-oldest independent air force in the world, and one of the most respected. From reconnaissance work in World War 1 to today's national defence initiatives, coalition missions and humanitarian operations, we share a proud tradition of service to Australia, our interests, and our allies.

1914 - 1918
World War I
Australian Flying Corps becomes the Royal Australian Air Force
1939 - 1945
World War II
1948 - 1960
Malayan Emergency
1950 - 1953
Korean War
1955 - 1975
Vietnam War
1963 - 1966
Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation
2001 - present
2003 - 2009

In addition to serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Air Force continues to build on its reputation for assisting with disaster-relief, and supporting peacekeeping and humanitarian missions across the world. In the past these operations have involved service in Bougainville, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Solomon Islands, Somalia and the Sudan.

Looking to the future

As the Air Force continues to develop our professional mastery of airpower; our strategies, doctrine, and training are also being adapted, refined and updated. Technology will continue to evolve, and the personnel of tomorrow will continue their training and acquire new skills to stay ahead.

While the future holds elements of uncertainty, some things are certain. The Royal Australian Air Force will:

  • maintain its tradition of service to the highest standard,
  • continue to embrace emerging technology,
  • provide efficient management of Air Force operations and business, and
  • offer responsive military options to the Government for the defence of Australia, its interests, and its values.