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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Large fly-past to celebrate RAAF centenary

The Royal Australian Air Force will mark 100 years of service to Australia on Wednesday 31 March. The Governor-General will present a new Queen’s Colour for the first time since 1986, and 60 historic and current aircraft will take part in the largest fly-past in decades, over Lake Burley Griffin.

“From modest beginnings in 1921, Air Force has grown into a potent, world-class force which Australia relies upon in both conflict and peace,” Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, AO, DSC, Chief of Air Force, said.

Next week’s events are part of a year of activities to honour the sacrifices and service of the last century; demonstrate the air, cyber, and space capabilities of today’s Air Force; and inspire the next generation’s interest in Air Force and aviation.

On Monday 29 March 9.30am, a centenary welcome event will be held at the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Memorial at the Australian War Memorial (AWM) to acknowledge the RAAF’s connections with Indigenous communities. The RAAF’s first Aboriginal pilot, Len Waters, served in WWII, while Pilot Officer David Paul received the Distinguished Flying Cross for service in North Africa in the same war.

On Tuesday 3pm, the RAAF will hold its annual commemorative ceremony at the Air Force Memorial in Anzac Parade and four historic aircraft will fly past. Last Post Ceremonies at the AWM on Tuesday and Wednesday will honour RAAF members.

On Wednesday, ADFA Air Force training officers will raise the flag in Commonwealth Place at the lake, near the international flags (7am). Warrant Officer Fiona Grasby OAM will raise the RAAF ensign at Blamey Square, Russell Offices (8am).

The Lake Burley Griffin fly-past begins at 10.30am, and ends with a display by the Air Force Roulettes. Planes include the most advanced stealth fighter in the world, the F-35; and Hudson bombers, Boomerangs, Spitfires, and Kittyhawks used in WWII.

The flypast will commemorate the 350,000 people who have served in the RAAF, particularly the 11,000 who died serving Australia – almost 10,000 during WWII.

The Governor-General’s presentation parade is closed to the public.

For more information, visit www.airforce.gov.au/100.

The RAAF was formed in 1921 from the Australian Aviation Corps, the first aviation force of any British dominion. RAAF personnel have served in major conflicts, including World War II, Korea, Malaya, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

The RAAF have also served in peace-keeping operations in Somalia and East Timor; and in disaster relief and humanitarian missions, including the Indonesian tsunami, the Nepali earthquake, and, more recently, bushfires and COVID-19.

RAAF members are currently deployed to the Middle East, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, and support Operation Resolute – protecting Australia’s borders.

“Through the decades, in conflict, peacekeeping, search and rescue, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance, Air Force developed a reputation without our nation and among our global partners for courage, perseverance and overcoming adversity, constantly delivering air power well above the weight of an Air Force our size,” Air Marshal Hupfeld said.

The RAAF is implementing Plan Jericho to protect Australia from technologically sophisticated and rapidly morphing threats by 2025. The RAAF has added P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance and response aircraft, EA-18G airborne electronic attack aircraft, and F-35A (Joint Strike Fighters) to its fleet, and high altitude unmanned aerial systems will enter service in coming years.

For more information, visit https://airforce2021.airforce.gov.au/.

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