Counting down to the RAAF Centenary

With only four weeks to go until the 100th Anniversary of the Royal Australian Air Force, we thought this was a good opportunity to look back at the some of the most iconic aircraft’s. Starting with one that plays a significant role in the Cairns region rich military history – the Catalina.

The steady drone of a Catalina taking off from the waters of Trinity Bay became an all too familiar sound off Cairns from late 1942. RAAF Catalina No.11 and 20 Squadron base camp were set up on the Cairns Esplanade from Kerwin to Minnie Street, where the orderly room, medical, dental, radio and operations rooms were situated.

Originally intended as a long range patrol bomber, the Catalina was one of the most versatile aircraft in service during the Second World War, used for everything from reconnaissance missions to air-sea rescues.

Catalina Air Craft 100th Anniversary of the RAAF

Next up is Avro 504K, the first aircraft built in Australia for the Royal Australian Air Force. The Avro 504K was used as an elementary trainer by No. 5,6,7 and 8 (Training) Squadrons Australian Flying Corps at Minchinhampton and Leighterton in England during the First World War. Production during the war totaled 8,970 and continued for almost 20 years, making it the most-produced aircraft of any kind that served in any military capacity during the First World War.

Avro 504 Air craft 100th Anniversary of the RAAF

Following the first RAAF air craft, is the latest aircraft to join the RAAF fleet – the F-35A Lightning II Aircraft. It is intended to perform both air superiority and strike missions. It also has electronic warfare and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities. The aircraft creates significant opportunities for Australian Defence industry in delivering the first ever operational conversion course for fast jet pilots here in Australia.

Next up is the radar superstar in the sky: the E-7A Wedgetail. With one of the most advanced air battle-space management capabilities in the world, the Wedgetail is able to monitor a 4 million square kilometre area and coordinate more than 60 aircraft over a single 10 hour mission. The Wedgetail is easily recognised by its Multi-Role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) radar at the top of the fuselage. It is a highly advance aircraft, providing an airborne early warning and control platform that can gather information from a wide variety of sources, analyse it, and distribute it to other assets.

E7A wedgetail

To wrap things up, a true icon of our skies, with nearly 35 years of service and an integral part of Australia’s air combat capability – the F/A-18A/B “Classic” Hornet. The Hornets are multi-role fighter aircraft, capable of air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. The Hornet was developed for the US Navy and Marine Corps, and has been a very successful aircraft. It can undertake: air interception, air combat, close air support of ground troops and interception of enemy supply lines including shipping.


Join us on Saturday 27th March as we look back over the past 100 years and celebrate the people and planes that have formed our Royal Australian Air Force. Tickets are on sale in our shop > Click here to purchase now.



Submit a Comment