RAAF Base Amberley

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RAAF Base Amberley
F-111 F-A-18F.jpg
F-111 (left) and F/A-18F (right)
Airport type Military
Operator RAAF
Location Ipswich, Queensland
Elevation AMSL 91 ft / 28 m
Coordinates 27°38′26″S 152°42′43″E / 27.64056°S 152.71194°E / -27.64056; 152.71194Coordinates: 27°38′26″S 152°42′43″E / 27.64056°S 152.71194°E / -27.64056; 152.71194
YAMB is located in Queensland
Location in Queensland
Direction Length Surface
m ft
04/22 1,523 4,997 Concrete/Asphalt
15/33 3,047 9,997 Concrete/Asphalt
Sources: Australian AIP and aerodrome chart[1]

RAAF Base Amberley (ICAO: YAMB) is a Royal Australian Air Force base located 8 km (5.0 mi) southwest of Ipswich, Queensland and 50 km (31 mi) southwest of Brisbane. It is currently home to No. 1 Squadron and No. 6 Squadron (operating the F/A-18F Super Hornet), No. 33 Squadron (taking delivery of the Airbus KC-30A) and No. 36 Squadron (operating the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III jet transport). Amberley is also home to Army units making up the 9th Force Support Battalion (9FSB). RAAF Amberley is the largest operational base in the Air Force, employing over 5,000 uniformed and civilian personnel. There are a variety of other formations on the base such as training colleges and maintenance areas. Amberley's largest squadron in terms of personnel is No. 382 Expeditionary Combat Support Squadron RAAF (ECSS) providing both garrison and deployed combat support. Amberley was one of only two airfields in Australia (the other being Darwin International Airport) that were listed as a Transoceanic Abort (TOA) landing site for the Space Shuttle.[2] Amberley is currently undergoing a A$64 million dollar re-development program. The RAAF has plans to have Amberley operating as its "superbase" with flights of F/A-18F Super Hornets, F-35 Lightning II, KC-30A, C-17 Globemaster. No. 35 Squadron (Operating C-27J Spartan) is planned to move to the base from RAAF Base Richmond after it is fully equipped with the C-27J.


The need for an RAAF base in Brisbane was identified in the 1930s. 882 acres (357 ha) of land near Ipswich was gazetted for defence purposes on 12 December 1938. The base was initially planned to house a general purpose squadron with 300 officers and men. At the outbreak of World War II the handful of brick buildings were still incomplete and many extra buildings were constructed quickly using wood and fibro. The base opened in June 1940 with the first unit based there being No. 24 Squadron. From May 1942 the base changed roles from flying operations to mainly assembly and repair of aircraft.

The base became a major United States Army Air Forces base during 1942 and 1943. Known Fifth Air Force units assigned to "Amberley Field" were:

The US facilities were transferred to Australia in 1947.[3] After the war it became the base for the RAAF's heavy bombers operated by No. 1, No. 2 and No. 6 squadrons. The reserve No. 23 (City of Brisbane) Squadron relocated from RAAF Station Archerfield to Amberley in 1955.

In 1965, the US extended a "Joint Research Program for Measuring the Physical Effects of Disturbances in the Atmosphere or in Space with particular emphasis on their effect on Radio Communications" from RAAF Base Pearce to the base at Amberley.[4]

A F-111 taxiing past the aircraft shelters at RAAF Base Amberley

Current units[edit]

Unit    Full name    Force Element Group    Aircraft   
HQ82WG Headquarters No. 82 Wing Air Combat Group
1SQN No. 1 Squadron Air Combat Group F/A-18F
6SQN No. 6 Squadron Air Combat Group E/A-18G
No. 5 Flight Surveillance and Response Group UAV training
278SQN DET AMB No. 278 Squadron Detachment Amberley Air Combat Group
33SQN No. 33 Squadron Air Mobility Group KC-30A
36SQN No. 36 Squadron Air Mobility Group C-17 Globemaster III
452SQN AMB FLT No. 452 Squadron Amberley Flight Surveillance and Response Group
HQCSG Headquarters Combat Support Group Combat Support Group
HQ 95WG Headquarters No. 95 Wing Combat Support Group
1CCS AMB FLT No. 1 Combat Communications Squadron Amberley Flight Combat Support Group
382SQN No. 382 Squadron (Contingency Response Squadron) Combat Support Group
1ATS DET AMB No. 1 Air Terminal Squadron Detachment Amberley (disbanded) Combat Support Group
HQAFDW Headquarters Airfield Defence Wing Combat Support Group
2AFDS No. 2 Airfield Defence Squadron Combat Support Group
3AFDS (Disbanded) No. 3 Airfield Defence Squadron (Disbanded) Combat Support Group
HQ 96WG Headquarters No. 96 Wing Combat Support Group
23SQN No. 23 (City of Brisbane) Squadron Combat Support Group
HQHSW Headquarters Health Services Wing Combat Support Group
1EHS No. 1 Expeditionary Health Squadron Combat Support Group
HQRTW Headquarters Reserve Training Wing Air Force Training Group
RAAFSFS RAAF Security and Fire School Air Force Training Group
HALSPO Heavy Air Lift Systems Program Office Defence Materiel Organisation
SRSPO Strike Reconnaissance Systems Program Office Defence Materiel Organisation
9FSB 9th Force Support Battalion 17th Combat Service Support Brigade
ARDU Aircraft Research and Development Unit Detachment Amberley Aerospace Operational Support Group

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to RAAF Base Amberley at Wikimedia Commons