Royal Australian Armoured Corps

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Australian Armoured Corps
Royal Australian Armoured Corps
Emblem of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps
Active 9 July 1941 – present
Country Australia
Branch Armour
Type Corps
Size 4 Regular Regiments
5 Reserve Regiments
Part of Australian Army
Garrison/HQ Puckapunyal
Nickname(s) 'The Black Hats'
Colors Red and gold
March Radetzky March, Opus Number 228 by Johann Strauss Senior
Equipment Armoured Fighting Vehicles
Head of Corps Brigadier Chris Mills
Colonel-in-Chief HRH The Prince of Wales

The Royal Australian Armoured Corps (RAAC) is a corps of the Australian Army which provides the Australian Defence Force's armour capability. Armour combines firepower, mobility, protection and networked situational awareness to generate shock action and overmatch in close combat. Armour is an essential element of the combined arms approach that is employed by the Australian Army.

The RAAC has its origins in the Australian Tank Corps, which was formed in 1928.[1] The Australian Armoured Corps was formed on 9 July 1941 to administer those personnel whose primary function is to operate, instruct or manage Army's Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFV). As a result of the increasing mechanisation of the Army, the Armoured Corps absorbed the Australian Light Horse, Australia's Cavalry of World War One fame, on 8 May 1942.[2] The Armoured Corps was granted the 'Royal' prefix in 1948 in recognition of its service during the Second World War.

Today the RAAC provides administrative support to its members who perform the function of mounted combat in the Army. It has four Regular Army units and five Army Reserve units. The RAAC is the senior arms corps within the Army and the custodian of the customs and traditions of Australia's mounted soldiers.[3]


The role of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps is to locate, identify, destroy or capture the enemy, by day or night, in combination with other arms, using fire and manoeuvre.[4]


To perform this role and associated functions RAAC units are organised as either:[5]

Armoured Cavalry – contains one tank, two cavalry and support squadrons which provide mounted close combat, reconnaissance, surveillance and security to a Combat Brigade.[6]

Light Cavalry – contains light cavalry and protected mobility squadrons which provide mounted and dismounted reconnaissance, surveillance, security and protected mobility to a Combat Brigade.


An Australian M1A1 tank during a training exercise

RAAC units are primarily equipped with the following vehicle types:


The Australian Army will replace or upgrade all of its AFV over the coming decade.[7] The next generation of AFV will be delivered via a number of projects, these are:

  • Land 400 Phase Two: Will replace the ASLAV with a modern Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle and associated family of vehicles. It is currently in the tender evaluation phase with an announcement expected in early 2018.[8]
  • Land 400 Phase Three: This project will replace the M113AS4 armoured personnel carrier and associated family of vehicles with an Infantry fighting vehicle capability which will likely be tracked and turreted with the ability to deploy a full section of infantry.[9]
  • Land 907 Phase Two: This project will upgrade the M1A1 AIM SA main battle tank system to an M1A2 standard and upgrade the M88A2 armoured recovery vehicle system to a more capable variant.[7]
  • Land 8160 Phase One: This project will deliver an armoured engineering system capability to Army. This may include armoured breaching, bridging and engineering systems.[7]


The School of Armour provides mounted combat training to soldiers in the Australian Army and selected individuals from abroad.[10] It designs and executes both tactical and technical training for armoured crew who specialise in either the Armoured (MBT) or Cavalry (CRV) career streams as well as Armoured Mobility (APC) qualifications. Training at the School of Armour is conducted in the following wings:

  • Communications Wing
  • Corps Training Wing
  • Driving and Servicing Wing
  • Gunnery Wing
  • Tactics Wing
  • Combat Command Wing – tactics training to all of the Australian Army's junior combat officers.

Both male and female soldiers and officers can and do serve within the RAAC as armoured crew.

Current units[edit]

Regular Army[edit]

Army Reserve[edit]

Inactive units[edit]

Operational service[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jobson 2009, p. 118.
  2. ^ Hopkins, R.N.L. (1978). As per Army Order AR- AHQ 8811 dated 24 Jul 1941 as quoted in Australian Armour: A History of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps 1927–1972. Puckapunyal, Victoria: Royal Australian Armoured Corps Tank Museum. p. 87. ISBN 0-642-99407-2. 
  3. ^ Dennis (et al) 2008, p. 461.
  4. ^ Australian Army (6 August 2017). "Royal Australian Armoured Corps". 
  5. ^ Department of Defence, Army (August 2014). "The Australian Army: An Aide-Memoire" (PDF). 
  6. ^ McLachlan 2017, p. 7.
  7. ^ a b c Defence Technology Review (September 2016). "Australian Armoured Vehicle Programs to 2030" (PDF). 
  8. ^ Department of Defence, CASG. "Land 400 Phase Two" (PDF). 
  9. ^ Department of Defence, CASG. "Land Combat Vehicle System". 
  10. ^ Buckeye, Lieutenant Colonel T.H (Winter 2016). "Think We're the Best? A Look Down Under Might Change Your Mind Comparing Tactics Training between Armor Basic Officer Leadership Course and Australia's Regimental Officer Basic Course" (PDF). US Cavalry and Armor Journal. Jan–Mar 2016. 
  11. ^ a b c Festberg, A.N (1972). The Lineage of the Australian Army. Melbourne.: Allara Publishing PTY LTD. p. 37. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Handel, Paul (2003). Dust, sand & jungle : a history of Australian Armour during training and operations, 1927–1948. Puckapunyal: Royal Australian Armoured Corps Museum. ISBN 1876439750. 
  13. ^ Mckay, G. and Nicholls, G. (2001). Jungle Tracks: Australian Armour in Vietnam. St Leonards: Allen and Unwin. ISBN 1876439750. 
  14. ^ Breen, Bob (2000). Mission Accomplished, East Timor: The Australian Defence Force Participation in the International Forces East Timor (INTERFET). Crows Nest: Allen and Unwin. ISBN 1865084980. 


  • Breen, Bob (2000). Mission Accomplished, East Timor: The Australian Defence Force Participation in the International Forces East Timor (INTERFET). Crows Nest, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1865084980.
  • Dennis, Peter; Grey, Jeffrey; Morris, Ewan; Prior, Robin; Bou, Jean (2008). The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History (Second ed.). Melbourne: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195517849. 
  • Handel, P. (2003). Dust, Sand & Jungle: A History of Australian Armour During Training and Operations, 1927-1948, Royal Australian Armoured Corps Museum, Puckapunyal. ISBN 1876439750.
  • Hopkins,R.N.L (1978). Australian Armour: A History of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps 1927–1972. Royal Australian Armoured Corps Museum, Puckapunyal. ISBN 0-642-99407-2.
  • Mckay, G. and Nicholls, G. (2001). Jungle Tracks- Australian Armour in Vietnam. Allen and Unwin, St. Leonards. ISBN 1876439750.
  • Jobson, Christopher (2009). Looking Forward, Looking Back: Customs and Traditions of the Australian Army. Wavell Heights, Queensland: Big Sky Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9803251-6-4. 
  • McLachlan, MAJGEN Angus, AM (2017). "SITREP: from Commander Forces Command". Ironsides: The Journal of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps. Hopkins Barracks, Puckapunyal, Victoria: The Royal Australian Armoured Corps: 7. OCLC 808384287. 
Preceded by
Corps of Staff Cadets
Australian Army Order of Precedence Succeeded by
Royal Australian Artillery