Aircrew brevet

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For the American equivalent, see Aircrew Badge.
For other uses, see Brevet.
Royal Air Force pilot brevet
British Army Air Corps pilot brevet
British Fleet Air Arm aircrew brevet

An aircrew brevet (officially known as an aircrew badge) is the badge worn on the left breast, above any medal ribbons, by qualified aircrew in the Royal Air Force, British Army, Indian Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force, South African Air Force and Sri Lanka Air Force.

United Kingdom[edit]

In the RAF, pilots wear the letters "RAF" in a brown wreath, surmounted by a crown, with a wing on each side (pilots' brevets are often referred to as "wings"). UAV pilots have similar wings except with a light blue wreath. From April 2003, Weapons Systems Officers/Operators are awarded a similar brevet with a single wing. Other aircrew wear a letter or letters (denoting speciality) in a wreath, with a single wing. The only other brevets currently worn are "E" (Air Engineer), "AT" (Airborne Technician), "IA" (Imagery Analyst) and "FC" (Fighter Controller). Parachute Jumping Instructors (PJIs) wear an open parachute instead of a letter. Brevets prior to 2003 (when roles became represented by the single WSO brevet) include "N" (Navigator), "LM" (Air Loadmaster), "AE" (Air Electronics Operator), "B" (Bomb Aimer), "AG" (Air Gunner), "AS" (Air Steward) which was replaced with a brevet with CC (Cabin Crew), this brevet was unusual for aircrew as it is worn on the right sleeve in the same location as paracute qualification, has two up turned wings, similar to RN rating's aircrew badges and has cream stitching for the wings, lettering and laurels (other brevets the laurels are bronze or blue for the remotely controlled aircraft such as reaper, where the laurels are blue), "M" (Meteorological Observer), "QM" (Air Quartermaster), "S" (Air Signaller), and "RO" (Radio Observer). Observers wore a single wing attached directly to the letter "O". Some of these now obsolete brevets can still be worn (LM, E, S, AS and AE) by serving aircrew however, provided it was the brevet with which they were initially awarded with the exception of the Observers Brevet which was replaced by the Navigator's Brevet in 1942, AG and B have also been obsolete for several decades, where as M and QM were phased out in the 1970s or 1980s.

The Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm has its own wings design, featuring albatross wings instead of the wings of a swift, as per the RAF design. For Observers, a clipped version is used featuring shorter wings, possibly from a different sea-bird. The Fleet Air Arm wings badges feature albatross wings, a crown and anchor, reflecting the naval aspect of the flying undertaken. They are worn on the sleeve of naval aviators, above the rank "rings" as opposed to on the left breast of RAF uniforms. They are awarded after the completion of all aspects of flight training, and on gaining a position in a frontline squadron.

Australia[edit]

Royal Australian Air Force Loadmaster Brevet

Royal Australian Air Force brevets differ from those in the RAF mainly in having a crown on all brevets (not just on Pilot's wings) and in normally having blue wreaths. The Pilot's Brevet has the letters "RAAF". A similar twin-wing brevet, bearing the Southern Cross, was introduced for Officer Aircrew in 1998, replacing various single-wing brevets previously worn by Commissioned Officers;[1] however NCO aircrew continue to wear the old single-wing brevets.

Most RAAF Pilots signed a petition in 1998/1999 in protest of non-Pilot "Officer aircrew" receiving a double wing. For the most part this was supported by serving Navigators and war veterans who had previously held the soon to be abolished 'half' wing. The petition was unsuccessful. To this day RAAF non-pilot Officer aircrew such as Navigators who served in World War II are left with the same emblem as a modern Air Defence operator who has never seen active service or deployed (this is incorrect, a new emblem was created in 1998 for Air Defence Operators; who now along with Navigators are known as Air Combat Officers). Whether a person has deployed or not has nothing to do with the number of wings on their brevet.[2]

Australian Army Brevets

New Zealand[edit]

New Zealand uses similar insignia to the United Kingdom, except the Pilot's wings bear the letters "NZ" instead of "RAF" and the single wing of other aircrew still have the letters of the trade they represent. Currently these are Air Warfare Officer and Specialist (AW), Air Engineer (E), Air Loadmaster (LM), Helicopter Crewman (HC), Flight Steward (FS), Air Ordnanceman (AO), and Parachute Jump Instructor (a parachute). Air Electronics Operator (AE) is obsolete.


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