Talk:Royal Air Force

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April 20, 2005 Peer review Reviewed
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WikiProject icon Royal Air Force is included in the Wikipedia CD Selection, see Royal Air Force at Schools Wikipedia. Please maintain high quality standards; if you are an established editor your last version in the article history may be used so please don't leave the article with unresolved issues, and make an extra effort to include free images, because non-free images cannot be used on the DVDs.

Taranis UCAV[edit]

IMO the Taranis project should be included under "Future Aircraft". This will be the main focus of the RAF in terms of new aircraft development for the next 30+ years.


—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:04, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

The BAE Taranis project is just an MoD funded programme to demonstrate the technology. Adding to future aircraft would be pure speculation as this is only a demonstrator and we dont know if it is any good yet or if the RAF will buy the technology. MilborneOne 20:07, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

Can I ask why my see also linkl is getting deleted?[edit]

It seems that a user called "MilborneOne" seems fit to delete a link to an RAF Online community. I thought that wikipedia was a public editable encyclopedia but no matter what we do it keeps getting deleted.

I see that the British Army are allowed a link to their online community and even allowed a wiki entry ARRSE even though our websites are the same.

Can I please ask MilborneOne to contact me at webmasterATe-goatDOTcoDOTuk so that I can begin to understand why it is that we are not allowed a link but the Army are allowed to do whatever they like on wikipedia.

Many thanks

Wobblyman 15 Jan 2008 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wobblyman (talkcontribs) 08:44, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia is a not a directory or a list of websites the link to e-goat has been deleted because it does not meet the criteria for inclusion, refer to Para 11 in Links normally to be avoided at WP:EL. This is just a policy guideline and nothing to do with army-bias. The British Army Rumour Service link on the Army page is to a Wikipedia article - not an external link. Their is nothing to stop anybody creating an article about e-goat and then linking it from here under See also. MilborneOne (talk) 12:42, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Rewriting the WW2 History section[edit]

Going to rewrite the section on bombing because at the moment it's a bit of a mess. I invite comments on the changes.IxK85 (talk) 14:12, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Could the contributor of the beautiful picture of the Spitfire please include in the text the mark and date? I understand I'm being pedantic but there are so many pictures around of Spitfires with Griffon engines built in 1945 which also seemed to have fought in 1940, that it's nice to see one that's right. For once! (talk) 12:10, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Assuming that the picture you refer to is the one there today - 2014 - then it's the Supermarine Spitfire IX, MH434, built in 1943, flown in the photo by the late Ray Hanna, shown pictured in same aircraft here:
Ray Hanna in the cockpit of Spitfire MH434 at Biggin Hill, 2004

RAF Deployments[edit]

The deployments section is a bit of a mess. It contains details of current operational deployments (some very out of date), recent and some historic operations, as well as some long-standing training deployments. I would suggest paring this down to current operations (and possibly current overseas comitments eg Falklands, Asi?). Past ops belong in the history article. There is already a footnote to a section of the RAF website giving current deployments which would help. Sc147 (talk) 08:42, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

I'm in agreemeent with this. The historical ops should go to History of the Royal Air Force and they need considerable expansion. However, we will need to think about where we draw the line. For example, is Baltic Air Policing is past or present op from an RAF perspective? Greenshed (talk) 13:48, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Copy edit?[edit]

Now that a Copyedit tag has been placed on the article, I would be helpful to know what the problems are so that we could work on them. Comments welcome. Greenshed (talk) 23:39, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

Old news[edit]

RAF is 90 years old today, shouldn't that get front page mention on —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:00, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Even the blovesheik revolution didnt get first page appearence so why raf. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:55, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

Categories nominated for deletion[edit]

Category:Footballers who served in the RAF - (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs)

This above category has been nominated for deletion. Does anybody here have any opinion on subject Djln --Djln (talk) 22:41, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

Whats so special about Footballers? , should we also include Rugby players JS1 (talk) 09:01, 21 April 2008 (UTC)


Did I miss something! has move of all the aircraft images been discussed? MilborneOne (talk) 18:30, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

Wings - missing[edit]

I added a bit to Prince William's article, about him earning his wings at Cranwell. I linked wings, and being a good little boy, checked the link to disambiguate it and make sure it was to the right place. But! We have no article about the wings that RAF/Commonwealth pilots earn and proudly display. For the yanks there's a great article at Aircrew Badge. We need something similar. Anyone? Kaiwhakahaere (talk) 23:06, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

Try Aircrew brevet. Greenshed (talk) 23:56, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
Aaaaarrrrggghhhhhh. Ta. I've wikied his wings. Kaiwhakahaere (talk) 00:14, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

roundel colours[edit]

The roundel red displayed in the picture is NOT the correct one -- too purplish. However, the fin flash has the right 'post office red' colour. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:26, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Who is the authority? The RAF or wikipedia?[edit]

Regarding the most recent edit which changed the motto from Through struggles to the Stars to Through adversity to the Stars, do we ignore the official RAF website which says it is the former? See Kaiwhakahaere (talk) 07:24, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

from that link its recorded as :

What is the RAF Motto? It is 'Per Ardua ad Astra'. Although difficult to translate, it is generally said to be "Through Struggle to the Stars".

from this site its translated as What does the RAF motto "Per Ardua Ad Astra" mean? The College of Arms has stated that "no authoritative translation is possible" but the usual translation is "Through adversity to the stars".

from the article Royal Australian Air Force The motto on the RAAF's coat of arms is the Latin phrase Per Ardua ad Astra, which means "Through Struggle to the Stars", The Royal Air Force uses the same motto but translates it as "Through Adversity to the Stars".

I changed the motto to "Througth Adversity to the stars" believing that was the correct translation, but there does seem to be different translations Jim Sweeney (talk) 07:50, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Yes, there are. I think the clincher is what the RAF itself says in the reference, and that is "struggle". So I changed it accordingly. Kaiwhakahaere (talk) 03:36, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Hmm, this is pedancy on translation. If adversity and struggle are considered synonyms that both translate back into Latin as "Ardua". Then take your pick as to which one is correct. English has far more syonoyms than Latin and most lving languarges so this type of thing will occur freqently. When meeting someone who had recently returned from conducting a survey of orangutans my comment of "how is the old man of the woods then" was abruptly corrected with "you mean forest" This was a little obtuse since woods and forest translate equally in "hutan" from which the second part of the ape's name is derived (and rather pleasingly for me woods googles more than forest in this context too) Splitting hairs in terms of the RAF motto being about adversity or struglle is equally rridiculous unless we are aiming to quote a specific individual or sources own translation. Dainamo (talk) 23:12, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

We dont need to do original research the RAF website says It is 'Per Ardua ad Astra'. Although difficult to translate, it is generally said to be "Through Struggle to the Stars". and the RAF website is a reliable source. MilborneOne (talk) 23:31, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
The usual and original translation is "Through Adversity to the Stars". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:38, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
Not that I suggest replacing the version in the article, but the version which I heard from my father (who served in WW2) was "To the stars through bolts and bars". This translation is used by a number of other organisations which share the motto. --David Biddulph (talk) 11:43, 17 March 2017 (UTC)

RAF Deployments[edit]

Grumbo (talk) 01:03, 28 July 2008 (UTC)I notice that Op WARDEN is missing from the Deployment section. Based at Incerlik AB in Turkey, the operation enforced the Northern no-fly zone over Iraq. Perhaps someone could do the needful?

Eustace Lander's whereabouts?[edit]

Dear RAF veterans of the China-Burma-India theater, pls tell me the whereabouts of Eustace John Cunningham Lander, the pilot who was cited in Gazette of India according to link He joined service in 1944 along with my granddad Babu Kang Singh. Pls, can anybody help me locate Flying Officer Lander. Did he return to England or did he go to Rhodesia, South Africa or Canada or US? There is a famous Lander cosmetic industry in New York which I use. Are they related? I want to request the House of Windsor and the Duke of Edinburgh to help me find this family. FO Lander's birthday is on Monday, November 24 this year. i want to know what kind of missions did he accomplish and did he survive the onslaught of Imperial Japanese interceptors like Hayabusas, Reisens and Hayates.

I am contemplating a Hollywood movie on Mr. Lander's exploits. I want to direct this movie as I am passionate about knowing more about my own granddad's exploits in the Second World War. I think young people today are naive about the exploits of the past generation. I am paying my homage to Eustace Lander, Terence Healy and my granddad Babu Singh who were veteran pilots. My granddad later left Indian service to join Nepal's royal flight. His Dakota either a DC-3 or C-47 Skytrain is the object of my dreams. I want to immortalize their heroism. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Prittwitz791 (talkcontribs) 05:13, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

This is not really the place to ask as this page is to discuss the article about the Royal Air Force but if it helps Eustace John Cunningham Lander died in England in 1978. MilborneOne (talk) 13:44, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

RAF in popular culture[edit]

Is this the kind of section which could be added? Would it be relevant or valuable to have a section mentioning identifying some aspects of the way the RAF has been presented in popular culture throughout the years? I know, for example, that Wikipedia is stuffed with articles about moustaches which all reference the RAF, but there's nothing on this page to discuss what the RAF or the image of the RAF has meant for culture or anything like that. If this is a section which could be valuable, what kind of things would be best to put in it?

I suspect it would attract loads of trivia! dont think anything should be added to this article but if somebody feels strongly about it then it could be created as a seperate article but note we have nothing on the USAF in popular culture for example, perhaps for good reasons. MilborneOne (talk) 21:24, 1 December 2008 (UTC)


The article says "Unlike the UK Civil Police, the RAF Police are armed as needed." Aren't the civvy police also armed "as needed"? Kaiwhakahaere (talk) 01:21, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Civvy please are armed "as needed" but is is not a common occurance and normally only by specialised teams, the normal policeman on the street is not armed which is the point being made. MilborneOne (talk) 15:02, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Couldn't we just avoid the issue by not trying to draw a comparison with civilian police? Where's the ref that says the RAFP are "armed as needed" anyway? Letdorf (talk) 15:17, 16 January 2009 (UTC).
Good point, not really needed in an overview article. I have removed the sentence. MilborneOne (talk) 15:26, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Royal Air Force ranks, specialisms and insignia[edit]

Hello, I was wondering if there could be a grid made up of images for ranks etc much like on the page for the British Army, I personally find them informative and add that extra flair of detail to the page, thanks. SuperDan89 (talk) 18:06, 06 April 2009 (UTC)

Have a look at RAF officer ranks and RAF other ranks for such tables. Greenshed (talk) 15:51, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

Junior Technician does not exist any more. It's now called Senior Aircraftsman Technician (SAC Tech). (Disgruntled RAF SAC (T)...) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:23, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

There are still some Junior Technicians serving, as they have not been promoted ye.t It is however a rank that current serving airman are no longer awarded and has been replaced by SAC Tech. The same goes for Chief Technicians (a better informed SAC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:54, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

For anyone interested[edit]

Yeah I know, only discuss the article blah, blah blah, but I'm sure there will be a few here interested in 70 years of RAF history.


Autochthony wrotes - Sound Stuff. Am I paranoid, but there is no mention of current numbers of planes [or personnel] anywhere? I realise this may be of use to an enemy [no - NOT France - they are our Siblings in Europe] - but aren't there Defence Estimates, etc.? Autochthony 21-59Z 4 July2009 (talk) 21:59, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

I presume you have read the lead The RAF operates almost 1,100 aircraft and, as of 31 March 2008, had a projected trained strength of 41,440 regular personnel and the same in the infobox. Is that the infomation you are looking for? MilborneOne (talk) 22:19, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

The 'Aircraft' section[edit]

Could we invest more into this section?

It seems.. limited.

A picture of a Harrier and Sea King would also be good.

Thanks, Flosssock1 (talk) 00:43, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

I agree, those aircraft should be on there, maybe put the images in a large grid? SuperDan89 (talk) 17:38, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Cant see much wrong with the aircraft section which does include a picture of a Sea King! It is limited because it is a summary of the current situation the detail is in the related articles like List of active United Kingdom military aircraft. What it doesnt need is a large grid with images on it which would unbalance the article. So I would vote for leaving it alone as it is OK. MilborneOne (talk) 18:32, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
Images: Just added a Harrier GR9 as noted the Sea King was already in the article. MilborneOne (talk) 18:37, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, I didn't notice the Sea King image. And thanks, thats great. Just the Harrier is such an icon image of the Royal Air Force. Flosssock1 (talk) 22:36, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
Very good, thanks for adding the Harrier, its ours so deserves recognition :) SuperDan89 (talk) 00:51, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

I'd like to see a section on iconic planes of the RAF. (talk) 18:27, 20 August 2009 (UTC)


The note 1 reads:

Sometimes it is erroneously stated that the RAF as an independent service was preceded by the Finnish Air Force, which was created on March 6 1918. Actually, on this day only the Finnish Army Corps of Aviation received its first airplane. The Finnish Air Force as a separate service was only established on May 4 1928.

This is sourced to ""FINNISH AIR FORCE AIRCRAFT HISTORY TIMELINE". Pentti Perttula. April 8 2008." Retrieved 29 August 2009." However, the source does not give this information. The only thing it notes is On 4 May 1928 Finnish Aviation Force was re-named to Finnish Air Force. Should we perhaps delete this note which is based on faulty use of references? --MPorciusCato (talk) 19:59, 3 October 2009 (UTC)

The citation is a source for the 4 May 1928 date not the whole sentence so it appears to be OK. MilborneOne (talk) 20:05, 3 October 2009 (UTC)
Actually, the source here does not give any information on anything else than the name change. There is no source for Finnish Army Corps of Aviation and by making a simple Googlesearch, I can't find any non-Wikipedia hits for this name. So also the point about Finnish Army Corps of Aviation is orginal research.
In Finnish, the name of the organization was, at first, Suomen valkoisen armeijan ilmailuvoimat. (Literally, "the Aviation Forces of the Finnish White Army"). This does not translate as "Finnish Army Corps of Aviation". In Finnish, the word armeija does not mean "army" but "armed forces" in general. So, in Finnish language, even the Finnish Navy is part of Suomen armeija. (This is comparable with the usages of People's Liberation Army.) --MPorciusCato (talk) 10:58, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
The reference expressly states that "Finnish Aviation Force or Air Corpse [sic] at the time was established under the Army Command and led by a Swedish officer." So therefore:
1. The original Finnish aviation force was not independent of the the Army.
2. There is a non-Wikipedia source for calling the original aviation force a corps (note mispelling above).
Greenshed (talk) 23:45, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
The reference states that Finnish Aviation Force was established under the Army Command, which means Päämaja, the High Command of the White Forces. As this was not only the command of the ground forces but the national command organ, the FAF was immediately subordinated to the national command. When the Finnish Navy was founded later in 1918, it was similarly placed directly under the General Staff, not under the regional commanders.
You should note that in the Finnish system, the general staff has been for the most time responsible for the Air Force, the Navy and the division level Army commands. The Finnish Army has existed as a separate service only in 1940–41 and from 2008 onwards. So, while Finland has had an "independent Air Force" and an "independent Navy", it has not had an Army. (Again, I'd like to note that armeija is not the Finnish translation of Army.) --MPorciusCato (talk) 14:21, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

Reset indent. From all that has been written, it seems that in 1918 the Finnish Armed Forces were overwhealmingly a land force headed by the Päämaja. This is in stark contrast to the British arrangement whereby the British Army and Royal Navy had long had separate higher command arragements and in 1918 the newly created Royal Air Force was, in administrative terms, placed in a comparable situation, with its own head who no longer reported to an Army or Navy superior but rather to a political master. To whom did Capt John-Allan Hygerth (the first head of the Aviation Forces) report? The head of the Päämaja? In 1918, was the head of the Päämaja a Finnish officer overwelmingly concerned with land force activities? In any event, the so-called Finnish air force of 1918 only consisted of one aircraft which can hardly be considered an air force in the common-sense English meaning of the term. I made similar points at the discussion at Talk:Air_force#World's First Independent Air Force?. Greenshed (talk) 17:27, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

Compared to RAF of today, the FAF with its 63 fighter planes is still a minor entity, and the Finnish Defence Forces are still ground force dominated. I suggest using the same formulation as the site in reference 2: "the oldest airforce of any significant size". About your question: AFAIK, Hygerth reported to the Chief of Intelligence in Päämaja. --MPorciusCato (talk) 18:30, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
I would suggest that something along the lines of "In 1918 the RAF was established and placed under direct ministerial control. In this sense it is the world's first air force to become independent of Army or Navy control." Greenshed (talk) 00:15, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Here, again, we come into the difficulty that the Finnish Defence Forces have never operated under "ministerial control". The Chief of Defence has, throughout Finnish independence, been an immediate subordinate of the President of Finland. The commanders of the Air Force and the Navy have been immediate subordinates of the Chief of Defence. On the other hand, until 2008, there was no Commander of the Army. The commanders of Division, Command or Corps level were directly subordinated to the Chief of Defence. In this system, the Air Force had a position similar to the Finnish navy from the very beginning. --MPorciusCato (talk) 14:57, 30 January 2010 (UTC)
That is why I chose the words "direct ministerial control" - because the origins of the Finnish Air Force stand very little comparison to those the Royal Air Force. Given that many, many, English-language sources state that the RAF is the world's first independent air force, it is useful to qualify this with another verifiable fact (direct ministerial control). This then is clearly true even taking the Finnish case into account. Of course the RAF is no longer under direct ministerial control but it continues to be established on a basis which, at least organizationally, puts it on a par with the British Army and Royal Navy.
The reasons why I do not favour the "of significant size" qualification are because:
1. An organisation with only one aircraft does not fall within the commonly understood meaning of what an air force is. It may well be that the modern FAF traces its origins to 1918 but in March 1918 it was not an air force; it grew into one later.
2. On the creation of the Air Council, a number of senior British Army and Royal Navy commanders were assigned to RAF duties in London on 3 January 1918. Their air force service was later recorded as starting on 3 January 1918. This was in preparation for the formal merging of the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Services on 1 April 1918 when hundreds of thousands of men and tens of thousands of aircraft were transferred. On the 3 January 1918 basis, the RAF pre-dates the FAF.
3. The fact that, until 2008, there was no Finnish Commander of the Army and that the head of the Air Force and the commanders at division, command or corps level were directly subordinated to the Finnish Chief of Defence suggests that the Finnish Air Force was not treated as being organizationally equal to the Finnish Army. Rather, it seems it was treated more an Finnish Army formation - not an entirely dissimilar situation to the relationship of the Royal Flying Corps to the British Army in 1917. Greenshed (talk) 00:42, 6 February 2010 (UTC)
The RAF in 1918 had its own government department - the Air Ministry - analogous to the British Army's War Office and the Royal Navy's Admiralty. The RAF also had its own Secretary of State for Air too.
And in four years time - April 2018 - the RAF celebrates its Centenary. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:34, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Greenshed. The Finnish Defence Forces are a single unified service, like Canadian Forces or IDF. The FDF has much lower boundaries between the services than US or British services. There are evewn today naval officers commanding army units or army officers serving as unit commanders in the air force and an army officer, General Valve, served once as the commander of the Finnish Navy. The concept of service independence is different in the Anglo-Saxon world, and comparison makes little sense. In the Finnish sense of word, the FAF has been at its current level of independence since 1918 (coequal with the Navy), but for a Briton, it is still not really an independent service. MPorciusCato (talk) 13:59, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
The clue is in the official titles of the relevant air services. The only one titled an "Air Force" was the British one. The others were all services or arms of their country's respective army or naval services.
An "Air Force" is entirely separate from any army or navy. That's the point. The RAF was the first.
A 1918 announcement in Flight here: [1].
When WW I ended in 1918 the RAF had a personnel count of nearly 300,000 officers and men, and had more than 20,000 aircraft: [2] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:21, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

First in the world?[edit]

The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom's air force, the oldest independent air force in the world.[2][nb 1]

There is no source to support this.

In the reference provided (, it is stated: "The Royal Air Force is the world’s oldest air force of any significant size to become independent of army or navy control."

I changed this because it is false, not because I wanted to make vandalism, Spain had an air force that was independent from the army in 1910, just to put an example. I guess that maybe the number of planes they had was not enough to be counted as a real air force.. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Fireinthegol (talkcontribs) 14:33, 28 January 2010 (UTC)

If you have any reliable source stating that Spanish Servicio de Aeronáutica Militar was an independent service since 1910 (or prior to April 1 1918), then change the article.
For example es:Historia del Ejército del Aire de España article on history of Ejército del Aire de España on Spanish language Wikipedia says that:
Este servicio, que está a las órdenes del Coronel Pedro Vives Vich, depende únicamente del Ministro de Defensa, estando vinculado todavía a la Sección de Ingenieros del Ejército. - This service [military aviation] under command of colonel Pedro Vives Vich, was subordinated solely to Ministry of Defence, [but] still linked to the Army Branch of Engineers.
Tras el establecimiento del Ministerio del Aire en agosto de 1939, el 7 de octubre de 1939 es creado el Ejército del Aire, que alcanza por fin el grado de Ejército. - After the establishment of the Ministry of Air in August 1939, on October 7 1939 Ejército del Aire was created, which finally reached the same status as the Army/reached the status of armed service.

I don't understand Spanish particularly well, may be you can translate this better.--ja_62 (talk) 16:22, 28 January 2010 (UTC)

There were quite a few aircraft in military service in various parts of the world before 1918 - among them those in service with the (very large indeed) Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service. All such aircraft were however the property of either the army or the navy. No one, so far as I know, even considered the possibility of a truly independent service before 1918 - and in fact there was a great deal of opposition to the idea even then. That the Finnish air force was separated from the army and navy in 1927 and the Spanish, apparently, in 1939 is simply not notable in the context of this article - or no more than the fact that American air power throughout the Second World War was subordinated to the army and navy (even the marine corps!) - the United States Air Force actually dates from 1947! --Soundofmusicals (talk) 20:51, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
This is becoming an edit war, oh dear! IF we need an example of an "air force" that was actually formed well after 1918 - although aircraft formed the equipment of army and naval units in its nation's armed forces before this date - then what's wrong with the USAF, which was not formed until 1947? This might be notable in an article entitled "Air Forces of the world" or something like that - it really has very little to do with the RAF as such. Would a new footnote to replace the "Finnish" one - explaining just what "independent" means in this context - and giving several examples (including the USAF, but probably NOT the Finnish or Spanish Airforces) - be acceptable? Unless this is vetoed by consensus I may write one.--Soundofmusicals (talk) 03:55, 30 January 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, but I'm not aware that the USAF has ever claimed to have been formed before the RAF. Americans may be stupid, but even we aren't that stupid! - BilCat (talk) 04:11, 30 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm sorry - I had no idea that stupidity (American or otherwise) had anything to do with the question! The point is that while many nations' "Air force traditions" (including those of Britain) were well established before they had "Air Forces" as such - the RAF (as formed in April 1918) is none the less the oldest such service not directly linked to its national army or navy, but administered and operated as a separate service. There may very well be a place for a footnote making this clear - but the case of the small Finnish airforce (with all due respect for its feats in the 1940s) is almost the very last I would choose to illustrate this! --Soundofmusicals (talk) 05:11, 30 January 2010 (UTC)
It wasn't an illustration - several users have tried to make the claim that the Finnish air force was independent before the RAF, and apparantly this is a widespread claim in Finland. Hence my edit summary "this is a common dispute, and was placed here to help deter contiual revision". It had nothing to do with illustrating anything, as, again, the USAF does not claim to have been independent before the RAF. - BilCat (talk) 05:25, 30 January 2010 (UTC)
A useful footnote would treat it as an illustration - this time it may be the Finns, next time the Spanish, and very possibly the time after that the Americans (since after all the American army was the very first to acquire an aircraft). The confusion between the first official acquisition of an aircraft and the establishment of a separate and independent air force is not stupid" (however mistaken it may be) - nor is it "Finnish specific" - but exists even in Britain. I think you will agree, on consideration, that this the value, if there is one, for an explanatory footnote at this point - even if we are more concerned with avoiding "continual revision" rather than presenting the facts clearly and concisely. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 06:12, 30 January 2010 (UTC)
  • SoM, I think you might wanna read this → Wikipedia:You do need to cite that the sky is blue & WP:FACTS, which I'm sure Bill had before he made that input which you've disagreed. To make things impossible for people to misunderstand, Bill just made it a clear statement for all to read and comprehend and maybe you didn't get what he was trying to accomplish. But from what I've seen thus far, there are a lot of non-English speakers who like to come to English language Wikipedia (meaning here), from other language Wikipedia such as Italian and Spanish, to push their view. Many of them do things and rub people here the wrong way (their sometime trollish behaviour further reinforced my view on them) and yet they have the audacity to expect us to be understanding towards them at the same time. So what Bill had done was nothing more than a simple statement to avoid such POV-pushers taking up "arms" with us again and I'd suggest we leave it as such. Thoughts? --Dave ♠♣♥♦1185♪♫™ 15:27, 30 January 2010 (UTC)
To be clear, i didn't actually write the footnote, but was just defending the previous consensus that it be there. And SoM is right that I have no interest in presenting facts clearly and consisely - why would I be on WP if I did?! ;) Sheesh! - BilCat (talk) 16:11, 30 January 2010 (UTC)
Just to support BilCat he was defending a previous consensus on this talk page to include the statement, you are of course welcome to gain a new consensus to remove or change it. MilborneOne (talk) 17:39, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

I don't think this can be described as an existing consensus, either way - it's hardly been there a minute, and several different people (NOT just me) considered it to be non-notable and reverted it on the spot. In any case there isn't a consensus established "on this talk page". In fact we're trying to get a consensus now. Personally I wouldn't have a note like this here at all - if only people would read past the lead, the point is explained a little later in the text anyway! As a compromise, all I'm asking is that people consider making the footnote just a little more relevant.

The Finns themselves are NOT the point. It is not worth putting in a footnote that only addresses the Finnish objection to the RAF being the first independent air force - because the next similar objection will probably not be Finnish (maybe Spanish, Chinese, French or Argentinan!). We could theoretically end up with a myriad of footnotes all explaining how each major and minor power actually formed an independent air force (if they ever did so - some never did) x years after the army (and/or navy) formed its air corps or division. The British themselves did the same thing - (viz. the RFC and the RNAS coming before the RAF).

What would be wrong with having one footnote giving a couple of instances? Possibly even including the Finns - but such a small nation, with very small, army dominated armed forces (the Finns don't even seem to have have an independent navy, much less an air force!) seems to be a pretty lousy example. I'm sure even BilCat would agree that clear concise presentation of the facts is even more important than heading off the ignorant at the pass, the point is that assuming we DO need to head off this particular mob - we need to get them all, not just those that happen to be Finnish. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 10:46, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

I think you need to assume good faith on other editors it did have a consensus and the hardly been there a minute when it has been in the article for over six months and has not been challenged in that time. It is not that important to the article but at that the Finnish case had a strong argument to be the first hence the note. I dont have a problem with you removing the note as long as we have a reliable reference but you need to remember it was done for good reason at the time. Do we have an article on the development of air power as a separate force? MilborneOne (talk) 11:57, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
Going back though the history it seemed much more recent than that - point taken if it has been there a while. But a "consensus" is more than "not being deleted for six months" - it implies a point has been formally agreed. So far as I can see everyone here is assuming good faith. I would be happier if the simple point I have been trying repeatedly to make could be actually addressed, but apart from that the "debate" has been reasonably courteous and sensible on both sides, I think. Like what in particular have the Finns got to do with it, when the U.S. is so much a better example?--Soundofmusicals (talk) 23:33, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

You wrote ; "The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom's air force, the oldest independent air force in the world.[2] Formed on 1 April 1918,[3] the RAF has taken a significant role in British military history ever since, playing a large part in World War II and in more recent conflicts.

The RAF operates 1,109 aircraft and, as of October 2009, had a total man power strength of 44,300 regular,[4] and 2,500 part time personnel. These 46,800 active personnel make it the largest air force in the European Union, the second largest in NATO and fifth largest in the world."

That's all false mate, The first world air force was french, as the first world squadron, english were using french aircrafts in WWI as americans, adla got 62000 air forces crews, RAF falls apart with 46000, French got 402 combat aircrafts "when seizing an air force strenght don't add the trainer" even with navy harries the RAF got less and less capable combat aircrafts , maybe you should stop making yourself foul to wide audience spewing BS on wikiped, as in WWII RAF amazing force and poor ADLA, Dewoitine 520 had more victory while battle of france on mesershmits than no existant spitfire! ;) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jim G. Smtih (talkcontribs) 11:13, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

No, that's why it was called (and still is called) the Armée de l'air - 'air army' see. That didn't become independent from the French Army until 1934. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:15, 15 September 2016 (UTC)

Reasons for founding the RAF[edit]

The RAF was expressly formed for the strategic bombing of Germany, and as-such it was thought that independence from any army or naval control was desirable, the new medium of the air being thought to give the new service little in common with either service. The RAF was therefore setup as primarily a bombing force and not for the purpose of supporting either an army or a navy, which is what it's predecessors, the RFC and RNAS, and all other countries air arms were for. The whole point of the RAF was that it signified a new era in warfare, whereby the fight could be brought to an enemy without involving either of the two other forces, i.e., an army or a navy. This was quite new, and was why the RAF was given complete independence as a service of its own. This is also why RAF ranks are completely different from British Army ranks, whereas many other countries air forces use army or naval ranks.

Although originally intended for the bombing of Germany, the First World War ended shortly after the RAF was formed, so it wasn't initially used for its intended purpose, however, the bomber aircraft that were ordered after the war and in the 1920s and 1930s should give the reader some idea of what the RAF's true purpose was, in the NIVO-doped Handley Page 0/400, Vickers Vimy, Handley Page V/1500, Vickers Virginia, Handley Page Hinaidi, Handley Page Hyderabad, Handley Page Heyford, Fairey Hendon, etc. These were NOT tactical bombers for the support of ground or naval forces. This is what made the RAF different from any other countries air arm, the RAF was capable of attacking an enemy without any involvement of the ground or sea forces, and that made the RAF a separate Force in its own right.

Please sign your contributions to talk pages - just so we know who we're talking to. The article currently says nothing at all about WHY the RAF was founded - which probably is a deficiency. What you have to say on the subject is just a little bit simplistic, and would need a fair bit of qualification if it were to be added, however. Have a look at the RFC and RNAS articles. The initial movement towards the foundation of the RAF was influenced by other factors, such as the deletrious effects of inter-service rivalry (the navy cornering the production of the vital Sopwith works, for instance - when most of these were land based fighters rather than naval aircraft), and the need to coordinate defence against GERMAN strategic bombing of the Briish Isles - to which the British bombing was essentially a reaction. The IAF was actually raised within the RFC, and remained a separate organisation within the RAF. And I don't follow your "that was why" about air force ranks at all. This matter was not fully settled until the early 1920s, by which time the RAF had shrunk to a fraction of its wartime size, and was fighting for its continued existence (the army, and especially the navy, wanted their aeroplanes back!). In fact, during the war, and even after the official gazetting of the new rank structure in 1919 RFC (i.e. army) ranks remained in widespread "informal" use for some time.--Soundofmusicals (talk) 00:23, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
The reasons for founding the RAF, while immediately prompted by Germany's bombing of London, are complex and open to different interpretations. This would be a good topic to cover in detail at the History of the Royal Air Force article. Clearly the Smuts Report would need its own article and the origins of the Air Ministry are also of note in this regard. Greenshed (talk) 20:27, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the replies. Actually I have an account but I stopped using it a couple of years ago, as I was getting p****d off with some of the people on here. As regards the simplifications I accept that, but I was simply trying to convey the 'Raison d'être' of the founding, the RAF, unlike other air arms, was specifically envisaged as being a separate force for strategic bombing, hence the large bomber types I mentioned earlier. It was NOT founded for air defence, Trenchard intending the force to be used offensively from the start, and because the new 'battlefield' of the air meant that bombers could fly long distances behind enemy lines, independence from army or naval control was thought essential. This was new, and I was trying to make this point. This is also why the new ranks were implemented, to emphasize the distancing from the older services. I agree that army ranks were sometimes still used, Capt. W.E. Johns, for example. The RAF was the first independent air Force, the use of the term 'force' being unusual at the time, most other air services were under the control of the various army or naval arms, e.g., the Luftwaffe, USAAC, etc. In the RAF's case the deliberate use of the term 'force' in the name meant something different form earlier organisations, i.e., that it was meant to be used in its own right. This is NOT what other air arms were intended for, and although many have since been reorganised into separate air 'forces' this was not what they started out as. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:35, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
See Independent Air Force (IAF) - that's why the RAF was formed as a separate (and independent) arm no longer under army or navy control.
The RAF was founded expressly as a strategic air arm as a logical follow-on to the IAF, and so was not under army or navy control but was in fact an arm of the Air Ministry - this was new and the first such in the world. The air arms of all the other countries were tactical air arms under the control of their respective armies or navies.
The clue is in the RAF uniforms, which differed from the army and navy ones. Most of the other non-independent air arms wore the same uniforms as their respective armies or navies, and continued the same rank structure.
" ... we were at last given that separate Air Service, apart from the Army and Navy, which alone could be capable of carrying on an independent war against the enemy's home front. Working under its own command and its own administration, its strategy could be co-ordinated with that of the fleets at sea and the armies in the field ; It was able to sustain a part in the war almost equal to that of the other two services ... " - a 1919 Flight article here [3]— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:10, 15 September 2016 (UTC)

Template overload[edit]

Currently the article is festooned with:

  • An infobox
  • A command structure template
  • The RAF template
  • The RAF lists template
  • The Royal Air Force template

Plus several more templates at the foot of the article.

The infobox and the Royal Air Force template at the foot of the article conform to the standard Wikipedia look and feel. I suggest that the RAF template provides duplicate information, is visually similar to the RAF lists template and clutters the article. I intend to remove the RAF template unless the consensus of any following discussion is to the contrary. Greenshed (talk) 22:40, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

The command structure is duplicated in the RAF template and I suspect both could be rolled into the Royal Air Force template at the bottom and deleted. MilborneOne (talk) 22:47, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
The RAF lists template has been nominated for deletion. See Greenshed (talk) 16:52, 21 March 2010 (UTC)


The article talks about the Harrier as if it is still in service, and says it is due to be withdrawn in 2011 - which seems to suggest "not yet out of service", but the aircraft has already been removed from the infobox. Is there a contradiction here or can both be right? thanks and best wishes, DBaK (talk) 14:25, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

The official out-of-service date is April 2011, however, the last planned operational flight was on 15 December 2010, so it is probably effectively, if not officially, out of service now. Regards, Letdorf (talk) 18:54, 16 December 2010 (UTC).

Does the "prehistory" of the RAF need more mention?[edit]

Of course there IS an article on the History of the Royal Air Force - but do we need more info here on the RNAS, the RFC - and the military (and naval?) air activities that predated the formation of these services? I mention this as a question because someone was keen the add the Royal Engineers air battalion - but I honestly don't think - given we have an article specifically on the history, that this is really needed here. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 12:40, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

Agree, I think the current text in the origins section is all that it needed anything else relevant can be in the history article. MilborneOne (talk) 14:41, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

School of Music[edit]

Where is the Royal Air Force School of Music? (.. and don't say Uxbridge!) Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 20:08, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

Google is your friend see which says Northolt. MilborneOne (talk) 20:13, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. But why isn't Wikipedia my friend too (.. or even just this article)? Martinevans123 (talk) 20:38, 10 March 2012 (UTC)o
Is the School of Music really not worth one single mention in this whole article? Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 22:02, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
I don't know martinevans, I guess its up to you. Is it notable? Is its notability on par with the rest of the content? If yes to both and you have suitable sources then by all means feel free add it. Thom2002 (talk)
I think it's fair to say that there is only one, in the world, regardless of what the rest of the article may or may not contain. But I'm really not sure where it might be placed. Martinevans123 (talk) 22:34, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
I guess a new section on "Ceremonial functions" or something similar could potentially cover the School of Music, as well as the Red Arrows, who are not otherwise covered in this article. Thom2002 (talk) 07:26, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Bravo martin very nice! Thom2002 (talk) 18:42, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
"Per Askaules ad Astra" (as they say in Scotland?) Martinevans123 (talk) 19:32, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

1004 aircraft[edit]

Seems like quite a lot of aircraft. Anyone know the source of this fact in the infobox? Thom2002 (talk) 00:16, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

I'd suggest it seems a bit low, numbers fairly quickly mount up when one considers the training fleet, communications fleet etc.
ALR (talk) 08:01, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
Thanks ALR. The best source seems to be this 30 January 2012 entry in Hansard: . This appears to include training aircraft etc. Using WP:CALC I made the total 781 aircraft. I did this by simply adding up all the entries listed as RAF. Thom2002 (talk) 08:07, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
I make it 827 RAF aircraft from that list, including gliders. Letdorf (talk) 20:06, 4 April 2012 (UTC).
My addition may well be wrong.. I was doing it late at night in contravention of various wikipedia rules.. would you be so kind as to post a breakdown of the RAF components? Thom2002 (talk) 23:19, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
PS I note that an IP address has put it back to 1004 - this figure cannot be right. Lets try to agree on the actual figure using WP:CALC. Thom2002 (talk) 23:23, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
OK I've had another try. Based on the Hansard entry we have:

BAE 146 2; BAE 125 6; C-17 7; Chinook 2/2a/3 46; Hawk T1/T1A/T1W 129; Hawk T2 28; Hercules C130K 8; Hercules C130J 24; King Air 5; Merlin Mk 3/3a 28; Puma 31; Sea King 3/3a 25; Sentinel 5; Sentry 6; Tornado GR4 136; Tri-Star 8; Tucano T1 91; Typhoon 86; VC10 9; Vigilant T1 65; Viking T1 82;

TOTAL: 827

So Letdorf was correct. Thom2002 (talk) 14:49, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

Some of those figures aren't accurate, but the PQ response process does tend to encourage a "close enough" approach, although some of the discrepancy may be down to what the respondent saw as "in service", aircraft in level 3 maintenance may not have been counted. That said the difference will not account for the difference between the two figures.
Given that there is something to support it then 827 is probably as close as you're going to get to accurate.
ALR (talk) 16:25, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
  • The list is a bit out of date, the RAF does not operate any Harriers or Tornado F3s so it is at least 107 to many. MilborneOne (talk) 19:34, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
It seems an IP modified the previous count adding wrong information. I reverted that change (although not sure that was the right procedure).--McSly (talk) 19:38, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
Thanks McSly! I was pretty confused there for a minute. Thom2002 (talk) 19:41, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
Bit of original research indicates that some of the numbers may be a bit high and it does miss a number of types (Islander, Griffon, Squirrel, Shadow and Tutor) (125 3, 146 2, Chinook 46, Globemaster 7, Griffin 13, Hawk 110, Hercules 31, Islander 3, King Air 10, Merlin 26, Puma 34, Reaper 5, Sea King 25, Sentinel 5, Sentry 7, Shadow 5, Squirrel 24, Tornado 131, Tristar 9, Tucano 56, Tutor 119, Typhoon 89, VC10 9, Viking 81, Vigilant 65. This is OR and just for information but gives a total of about 918. MilborneOne (talk) 21:07, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes I rather agree, and with ALR above. Its a shame the MOD seems to be a little bit sloppy in PQ answers which 'should' be authoritative. As ALR says, the PQ answer is probably the best single source for now but we should look out for a better one. I'm particularly puzzled that the Reapers were not included. Thom2002 (talk) 21:15, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
The RAF Islanders appear to be included under the Army Islander entry (note that Northolt is listed as a base); The Shadows are listed as King Airs (note Waddington base); the DHFS helos and Tutors (and 45 Sqn King Airs) are civilian-owned - this is probably why they're not included in the inventory. Letdorf (talk) 22:22, 8 April 2012 (UTC).
Thanks Letdorf that's helpful Thom2002 (talk) 00:01, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

More pedantry I'm sure, but I note that the article states that the RAF is "the second largest airforce in NATO" after the USAF. Is this strictly true? The US Navy Airforce is much larger (3,500 aircraft), and I suspect even the US Marines operate more aircraft (although numbers are even harder to obtain for them). Should this be amended to read "second largest independent airforce", or am I being silly here? Routlej1 (talk) 10:54, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

I suppose that comes down to your definition of 'air force'; whether you define it as 'a military force with military aircraft' regardless of its primary mission or 'military force with a primarily aerial mission'. I'd tend to favour the latter, and suggest that the lead needn't be qualified. --IxK85 (talk) 12:02, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

The US Navy Airforce is neither much larger nor does it operate that ridiculous stated amount of 3,500 aircraft. That is just a page that has not been monitored well at all, is in dire need of cleaning up and uses an unreliable source for that number. To presume that the Marine arm of the US military operates more aircraft than the RAF is unsubstantiated and preposterous. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:19, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

Well, I guess its probably best to bring up the question of the number of US Navy aircraft on the appropriate talk page, rather than here. Either way, it's kind of a moot point if we take 'airforce' to mean 'military force with a primarily aerial mission' as per lxK85's entry above. Thom2002 (talk) 21:15, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
PS to really put the cat among the pigeons, the RAF is only larger than the French Airforce because the inventory includes a large number of gliders used by RAF cadets. If we only count aircraft with an engine, then the French airforce would be larger. The French also operate more combat aircraft, as well as a larger number of powered aircraft overall. Thom2002 (talk) 21:35, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
Sorry I have challenged the addition of 222 fighters to the infobox as not really relevant, you need to gain a consensus to add it again, thanks. MilborneOne (talk) 22:00, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
Well, I'm certainly prepared to discuss it, Milborne. Is there any reason why you haven't deleted this information from the USAF page? The reason I think this information is relevant is because 'size' is not a terribly useful way of measuring the combat strength of an airforce. The number of offensive aircraft (ie bombers and interceptors) is a much more relevant measure of military strength than the total number, which includes unpowered gliders used by school children etc. Therefore I think it would be useful to have both figures in the infobox, as per the USAF page, which is rather better developed as an encyclopedia article than the RAF page at present. Thom2002 (talk) 22:14, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
Well for one this is not the USAF page so we dont have to do the same, the infobox is a quick guide to the number of aircraft, breaking it down is giving a non-neutral point of view, why are "fighters" more important than other types like reconnaissance or transports. All the different types are listed further down the infobox and all the figures are listed on the active aircraft sub-article. According the the same infobox only the Typoon F2 is a "fighter" and the RAF only has four of them so correctly it should be "4 fighters" which is true but doesnt mean anything. Also fighters are not the only combat type, but you still need a consensus to add any number of fighters" from the other editors. MilborneOne (talk) 22:26, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
I'm perfectly happy to use the term 'combat aircraft' rather than 'fighter aircraft', I agree that this is a better term. I do think that the number of combat aircraft is significant, because the purpose of the airforce is to project military strength from the air. Other missions (including training children in gliders etc) are in support of that central force-projection objective. Therefore I believe that the number of combat aircraft is significant enough to go into the infobox, alongside the total number of aircraft. Thom2002 (talk) 22:38, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
Which is where you get into original research, some editors wouldnt add the SAR Sea Kings in any combat total but they have a combat search and rescue role. It is probable that some of the Hawk trainers have a combat role but how many? what about the Herks are they all combat tasked but the C-17s are not? so we are just going deeper into original research and presenting a non-neutral point of view. Nothing wrong with explaining this is in the text but the infobox is not the place. I will see if anybody else support you adding "combat" or "fighter" aircraft to the infobox total. MilborneOne (talk) 22:45, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
I never contribute original research, and none is necessary here. I have no particular point of view about the RAF, except to the extent of stating that the number of combat aircraft is highly significant to the topic (ie a military force). Both the Typhoon and the Tornado are described as combat aircraft in the very first sentence of their respective Wikipedia entries. The entry for Westland Sea Kings (for example) does not describe it as a combat aircraft. The RAF Hawks are clearly not in a combat role as they are all described in the article as being used for training. Therefore it is not OR to state that the combat aircraft in service with the RAF are the Typhoons and the Tornados, which together total 222. This fact is both accurate and sufficiently relevant to merit inclusion in the infobox. Thom2002 (talk) 23:00, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
PS The term used by the RAF themselves on their website is 'offensive' aircraft, see [4]. The two types of aircraft described as 'offensive' are the Typhoon and the Tornado. I'm also happy to use this term. Thom2002 (talk) 23:04, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
For any realistic assessment of combat effect then pure numbers of aircraft in an arbitrary category isn't all that useful. Combat effectiveness depends on the joint force makeup and the opposing force. So the main use of fast air in Afgh at the moment is as a sensor carrier, with a secondary role in terms of weapon delivery. Similarly in Sierra Leonne the use of both Sea Harrier and GR7 was principally around sensor positioning and show of strength, psychological.
I would be hesitant to use the category around aerial purposes above as it's a bit meaningless in practical terms. Aircraft of any flavour are always used to deliver an environmental effect, and in general that effect is delivered in the land/ maritime. Control of the air or Air Superiority allow land or maritime forces to operate without a threat from the air, equally bot CotA and AS depend on much more than just aircraft, but the ability to develop a common air picture, establish C2 over the air assets available and exploit the opportunity that gives.
Unfortunately by subcategorising we make a value judgement about the combat effect of different types of aircraft. Different customers have a different view on what air assets are valuable, for someone like me it's about ISR aircraft and utility helo, for others it's about SEAD.
ALR (talk) 12:30, 18 April 2012 (UTC)
Well, its an interesting debate. My main fear is of an innate bias among a sizable sub-population of the editors to over-state the military strength of the RAF, by including unpowered gliders flown by school children as a significant part of the military strength of the RAF. I can tell that I'm not going to talk anyone out of this, because I suspect that a major part of their motivation in editing articles on wikipedia is to 'support' the RAF etc in some way, perhaps because they once served in the forces, or because they feel an emotional attachment of some sort. This makes it very difficult to have a serious encyclopedic discussion of the issues because it is clear that there are a lot of emotions in the way. I really don't care either way, which is why I'm going to step back from this, but I am vaguely concerned that the overall impact is that those with an emotional commitment overwhelm the disinterested editors. I guess this is the nature of wikipedia! Thom2002 (talk) 01:38, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
I wouldn't have any issue with differentiating the gliders from the rest of the fleet, my comments were related to further sub-categorisation.
I don't see it as entirely useful to speculate on the motivations of other editors.
There are a number of issues with Wikipedia, in part a consequence of the lack of any coherent ontology and the piss poor approach to source quality. There is no rigour around source quality, how sources are used and how we address the relatedness of sources and their relative value. This is the area where the non-specialist and the specialist can reasonably work together productively, subject to both being prepared to approach the debate recognising that each has a legitimate position. Particularly in the Brit military articles there is an over-reliance on news media sources that pieces together an unrepresentative picture. To an extent that's indicative of a wider issue where there are very few specialist and well informed defence correspondents and most outlets are content to publish speculation. That's particularly prevalent in the Special Forces area where a number of us spend a lot of time reining in some of the more outlandish nonsense and puffery.
In this instance there is a reasonable degree of sub-categorisation highlighting that from the total fleet some 145 are un-powered trainers. You could then add that a number are allocated to training duties, but there is a grey area, the Hawk fleet has been highlighted, where the aircraft are weaponised and could very quickly be re-roled. In practice the Hawk fleet does have a secondary role as offensive air but I don't envisage a circumstance where that would really happen, and fwiw I'm not aware of a suitably recent secondary source to confirm that.
Clearly it's in all of our interests to find a way to reasonably reflect the operational capability of the force. My thought is that a simplistic tailcount doesn't do that as the RAF, as with the other two services, is part of a joint environment and operational effectiveness nowadays is delivered from all three services working in concert. So how do we reflect that?
ALR (talk) 07:41, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps a more neutral way would be to list helicopters/powered fixed-wing aircraft/gliders, only problem is it would take forever to gain consensus for a term other than "powered fixed-wing aircraft"! MilborneOne (talk) 18:35, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
If readers want the detail breakdown they can find it at List_of_active_United_Kingdom_military_aircraft#Royal_Air_Force, but if you want a single number which would be comparable between different air forces across the world an interpretation would need agreeing within the relevant project (WP:MILHIST?), and a note adding to Template:Infobox military unit. My guess is that it wouldn't be easy to come up with a one-size-fits-all solution. - David Biddulph (talk) 18:50, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
I think you are right we dont really want a local solution as the aim is for a quick comparison, perhaps it is best left as is. MilborneOne (talk) 19:05, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
The proposal is not to remove the 827, merely adding another line or two of information underneath it to help the reader understand, which certainly would not require any sort of project approval (and already existed at USAF, which is a much better article). I'm not going to press the point, although if you are conceding that the 827 number is not a proper basis for serious comparison, then the line in the lead, "operated 827 aircraft, making it the largest air force of a European Union country..." doesn't really make sense and should be sourced. Thom2002 (talk) 07:32, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I can't help myself, one more thought (a suggestion): I think the real problem (from my perspective) is the inclusion of the 'cadet' aircraft in the total, as the cadets are often children. They are not really part of the military strength of the RAF, and are a rather unique concept, so how about a second line beneath the 827 figure specifying the number of cadet aircraft? That would not require any OR/definition difficulties. Thanks Thom2002 (talk) 07:57, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
That would be the same as my suggestion above to sub-categorise the unpowered trainers. The gliders are trainers, and they're used as such by the regular service as well as the cadet organisation.
ALR (talk) 06:30, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
OK, I'll take your word for it, although that means that List of active United Kingdom military aircraft is a bit misleading. How about then, 827 aircraft (including 147 gliders)? Thom2002 (talk) 18:58, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

School of Music - possible copyvio[edit]

Hi. I don't want to upset anyone but is the section on the School of Music not rather close to ? Best wishes DBaK (talk) 14:15, 8 May 2012 (UTC)

I think you may be right, Knacks. As soon as I find out who's responsible for such comtemptible behaviour I'll make sure he gets what's coming to him. An indefinite block springs to mind. He probably added it very rapidly and was expecting other, more experienced editors, to give it the once over, forgetting to make a public request for such. In the mean time, however, I think any copy-editing to reduce risk would be very welcome! Martinevans123 (talk) 14:38, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
Ha! I feel that I should treat you to tea and crumpets to ease your troubled mind. Thanks for the nice reply. Don't indef the poor guy - I am sure he was doing his best and I hope - whoever he is - that he was not too insulted by my, er, nasturtiums. I will try and have a look but I also would like to be rescued by these "experienced editors" (who they?) before I make a complete Horlicks of it ... :) Best wishes DBaK (talk) 15:12, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
Chocks away, ginger! Martinevans123 (talk) 15:25, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
Tally Ho!! DBaK (talk) 21:15, 8 May 2012 (UTC)

'Oldest independent air force in the world'[edit]

I'm not sure this information is accurate : if the RAF was created in 1918, as the article claims, then it is only second to the French Air Force, which was founded in 1909 (see [5]). May I correct this error or should I wait for someone to do it ? -- (talk) 23:28, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

According to the French Air Force article

"It was formed in 1909 as the Service Aéronautique, a service arm of the French Army, then was made an independent military arm in 1933"

Therefore it does not make it the oldest indepedent air force as it was part of the French Army until 1933.

Gavbadger (talk) 23:32, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Some information on the founding of the RAF in an April 1918 issue of Flight here: [6]
The same issue also has the announcement of the award of James McCudden's VC. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:27, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
This subject has already been discussed in a previous thread (see "First in the world" above). There is a difference between an army (or navy) air corps and an air force. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 05:14, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Hercules C-130J to be replaced by Airbus A400M?[edit]

The articles currently reads as such; "Shorter range, tactical-airlift transport is provided by the Hercules, the fleet including both older C-130K (Hercules C1/C3) and newer C-130J (Hercules C4/C5) variants, based at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. All C-130's will be withdrawn by 2022." I notice this doesn't appear to be sourced. However this from July of this year reads; "Atlas, together with the C-17 Globemaster, C-130J Hercules and the new Voyager aircraft now entering service with the RAF, will give us the ability to rapidly move people and equipment around the globe for military and humanitarian operations for decades ahead." Its from the Mod and therefore fairly authoritative.

By 2022 the C-130J will still be well under 20 years old with around 10 - 15 years of service left. Undoubtedly the Airbus A400M will eventually replace the C-130J but not before 2022. It is reasonable to expect at least another order of 12 - 14 additional A400Ms post 2022 to replace the 24 C-130Js by around ~ 2032. TalkWoe90i 16:14, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

I doubt that the C-130Js will last that long the youngest is 12 years old now and they have been worked to death in Iraq and Afghanistan so you would be lucky to get more than a few more years out of them before they need to be replaced. MilborneOne (talk) 18:17, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

Overseas deployments[edit]

I have noticed that a user has recently added Iraq to the Overseas deployments section. Is the section designed to be just for current overseas deployments or does it include former overseas deployments? I think that some time ago the article had a section for former overseas deployment but it has since disappeared.

Or are the Royal Air Force still in Iraq and i'm getting this wrong? Gavbadger (talk) 21:45, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Overseas deployments[edit]

I have noticed that a user has recently added Iraq to the Overseas deployments section. Is the section designed to be just for current overseas deployments or does it include former overseas deployments? I think that some time ago the article had a section for former overseas deployment but it has since disappeared.

Or are the Royal Air Force still in Iraq and i'm getting this wrong? Gavbadger (talk) 21:46, 22 August 2012 (UTC)


Came to this page expecting to see some mention of the WAAF/merger into the RAF but no mention of it? Tip.Stall (talk) 15:42, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

I would have expected it to be at History of the Royal Air Force, probably worth adding it to that article this is just an overview. MilborneOne (talk) 18:17, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

CFB Goose Bay[edit]

Are the RAF still using CFB Goose Bay because the following link says they were planning to leave in 2005 yet both this article and the Goose Bay article say otherwise with both unreferenced and i'm surprised that it hasn't been removed if the RAF did leave (the link: British air force to leave Goose Bay)? Gavbadger (talk) 21:42, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

I believe that Royal Air Force Unit Goose Bay closed on 31 March 2005. MilborneOne (talk) 10:46, 12 January 2013 (UTC)

counter-intuitive statement[edit]

I was just quoting off the given ref: Officials point out that the UK ISTAR assets are regular users of USAF tankers based in Europe. British E-3D Sentry airborne early warning aircraft routinely top-up their tanks from USAF KC-135s based at RAF Mildenhall in the UK or from aircraft detached to the NATO base at Geilenkirchen in Germany which support the E-3As flown by NATO’s E-3A Component.

The RAF simply bought the wrong aerial tankers, which should not be counter-intuitive for anyone who is familiar with their purchase history. Hcobb (talk) 18:26, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

Of course the RAF didn't "buy the wrong tankers". Do you know anything about aviation, much less aerial refuelling?

There are a hand full of KC-135s as part of a tenant unit at RAF Mildenhall, nothing to do with refuelling the RAF. RAF tankers refuel the RAF ISTAR fleet. (talk) 17:19, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Not aware of another aircraft in the Royal Air Force that requires tankers equipped with boom. It is not uncommon for USAF aircraft based in the UK to rondevu with RAF tankers, so lets not jump to conclusions just because "UK ISTAR assets are regular users of USAF tankers".Antiochus the Great (talk) 18:54, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
Not sure what the problem is the NATO tanker assets are available for anybody to use it is not normally restricted to just your own nationals. One of the main customers for RAF tankers during recent operations is the US Marine Corps who as far as I know dont have any big tankers and dont see it as an issue. MilborneOne (talk) 19:30, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
Exactly! Antiochus the Great (talk) 20:56, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

From the same article:

During coalition operations, RAF aircraft regularly take fuel from U.S. tanker aircraft, and vice-versa, but questions remain about what happens if the Rivet Joints are required for use in a non-coalition operation which does not involve the U.S., for example an operation in the South Atlantic and the Falkland Islands.

Hcobb (talk) 01:34, 9 July 2013 (UTC)

And a contradictory source of course... The HSVDD will be retained for use on the centerline hose-drogue (HDU) unit for the three-point RAF Voyager tankers and will also be used to refuel larger types such as the Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules and the Boeing E-3D Sentry. The Sergeant-Fletcher drogue will be fitted to the wing-tip HDUs, which are most commonly used for the refueling of fast-jet aircraft. Tests with the C-130J have been successfully completed, while refueling tests for the E-3D are scheduled to take place in 2014.

Hcobb (talk) 03:41, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

The RAF do not have to use American tankers other suitable aircraft are available from other air forces or civil contractors. MilborneOne (talk) 13:38, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

Red Army Faction[edit]

A bit of back and forth recently about whether the Red Army Faction should have a specific DAB link at the top of this article. I would say "yes". What do others think, and why? --John (talk) 22:59, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

Why do you think yes? I have already explained why I don't think so, especially if "terrorist organization" is being inserted, its adds unnecessary controversy. The top already links to the disambiguation page for other uses of RAF. Why prioritise Red Army Faction over the others? Antiochus the Great (talk) 23:04, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
Probably not, I'd say. We don't have Russian Air Force and that's a real air force. I think an entry for all things non-air force at the RAF (disambiguation) page is enough. Martinevans123 (talk) 23:06, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
Agree with User:Martinevans123. MilborneOne (talk) 23:55, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
It's irrelevent as to whether it's an air force. The ambiguous phrase is "RAF", "air force" has nothing to do with it. Red Army Faction is the third google search result after and this page. Possibly it should be prioritised. The Russian Air Force is not know by the acronym "RAF", so I'm not even sure why it's listed at RAF (disambiguation). Rob984 (talk) 02:20, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
I think air force does have "something to do with it", since this article is about an air force. I assume other variants of RAF are included at the top for those who search for RAF and come here via the redirect. If those other uses of "RAF" really are that common, maybe RAF should redirect to the disambiguation page? (I get 27 pages of Google results for RAF without any entry for Red Army Faction, but then Google learns what you've previously searched for, doesn't it?) Martinevans123 (talk) 11:30, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I get nothing when I use:
Non-geographic, non-personalised result.
First page:
Rob984 (talk) 12:42, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
No, in the context of the hatnote, this has nothing to do with air forces, but with the fact that this article (through redirection) occupies the place of the abbreviation "RAF" – widely known as the name of a German terrorist organization (per below). The alternative solution is to make RAF a disambiguation page. Tadeusz Nowak (talk) 00:14, 6 January 2015 (UTC)
The iconic logo of RAF

As long as RAF redirects here, this article needs to have a link to the other famous RAF. In much of Europe, the name "RAF" is primarily associated with the terrorist organization which called itself simply "RAF", or at the very least, the two RAFs are equally well known. The number of interwikis, the extent of the many articles on the terrorist organization, clearly demonstrates that it needs a direct link from any page on the abbreviation RAF or the page RAF redirects to. RAF the terrorist organization is clearly far more prominent than Oman's air force (which already has a direct link in the hatnote), judging by Wikipedia's coverage of it (incl. interwikis), and has ten times as many readers on an average weekday. Tadeusz Nowak (talk) 05:42, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

The link to RAF (disambiguation) is enough. Get rid of the Royal Oman link - don't know why that article is singled out. --NeilN talk to me 06:04, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

Nope, it's not enough at all, as has been clearly demonstrated. The link needs to stay as long as the abbreviation RAF redirects here, or the abbreviation RAF needs to be a disambiguation page. Tadeusz Nowak (talk) 06:07, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

If I disagree are you going to slap me with an only warning for vandalism too? --NeilN talk to me 06:13, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
Oh, I love the faux hypocrisy of editors pushing British chauvinism, who themselves were the ones who vandalized my talk page by posting false warnings for making correct good faith edits to a hatnote to improve article navigation (NeilN has himself been active on both my and Antiochus the Great's talk pages and even participated in the notice harrassment activity himself, so he is obviously aware that Antiochus the Great is the person who goes around posting faux vandalism warnings for constructive edits to hatnotes, while himself (much less constructively) reverting constructive edits based solely on WP:IDONTLIKEIT). Tadeusz Nowak (talk) 00:17, 6 January 2015 (UTC)
Neat trick of yours, knowing what I'm "obviously aware" of, given that I was away from editing for a couple weeks. Yes, Antiochus the Great's warning to you was also inappropriate. A search of Google News, which has a wide variety of English language source, turns up many, many stories containing RAF for me. None of them are about the Red Army Faction. And I'm not even British, imagine that! --NeilN talk to me 02:03, 6 January 2015 (UTC)
What a lovely logo. I expect the Rapid Action Force is very well known in India and Road Accident Fund is very well known in South Africa. But this is English wiki, not Euro wiki. Martinevans123 (talk) 08:56, 5 January 2015 (UTC) p.s. isn't it actually called Rote Armee Fraktion in Germany, where it originated?
Um, it's irrelevant what it's called in Germany, this is not the German Wikipedia, it's widely known throughout Europe as RAF and known in English as the Red Army Faction, whether some people like it or not. Tadeusz Nowak (talk) 00:20, 6 January 2015 (UTC)
You're saying the organisation is widely known as "the RAF" in UK? Quite agree this is not German Wikipedia. Martinevans123 (talk) 09:02, 6 January 2015 (UTC)
International google search results ( don't return any results for Red Army Fraction. The fourth result is Road Accident Fund. Overall traffic for Red Army Fraction doesn't tell us anything about the usage of the term "RAF". For example, the Royal Navy is rarely referred to as "RN", although has the most overall traffic. It needs to be demonstrated that "RAF" is commonly used to refer to Red Army Fraction, or any other topic for that matter. Rob984 (talk) 12:00, 6 January 2015 (UTC)
I hope you mean "Faction", not "Fraction"? --David Biddulph (talk) 12:06, 6 January 2015 (UTC)
... unless you're German, of course. And in French and Spanish it's not even "RAF": fr:Fraction armée rouge and es:Fracción del Ejército Rojo Martinevans123 (talk) 12:50, 6 January 2015 (UTC)
Yes. Rob984 (talk) 17:45, 6 January 2015 (UTC)

I hope you realize that a news search is not the place to look for coverage of an historical organization that was active in the 1970s. Lots of notable historical topics, individuals and organizations won't return many results in a news search. The fact remains that RAF, the Red Army Faction, has ten times as many readers as Oman's air force, which has already had a direct link in the hatnote for an extended period, so the only reason to not give the ten times more notable RAF such a link would be political and not encyclopedic/navigational in nature. Red Army Faction has had around 700 daily readers in the last few days, compared to 1300 for Royal Air Force – especially considering the fact that the air force exists today and the terrorist organization is historical, and the vast difference in their resources, a readership of more than 50% of the air force's readership is a significant readership. Because there are two widely known organizations called RAF and with significant readership, there are only two acceptable options per normal disambiguation/hatnote practice:

  1. RAF is made into a disambiguation page
  2. The other famous organization which called itself RAF has a direct link in the hatnote from the page RAF redirects to (which is currently this article),

I think the second option is a good option that both takes into account that the air force is somewhat more well known, and that the terrorist organization is also a well known organization with a significant readership that merits a direct link from the abbreviation RAF (or more precisely, that the terrorist organization is the second most well known RAF, and the only other RAF with a significant readership and notability, a huge amount of Wikipedia coverage/interwikis and so forth). Tadeusz Nowak (talk) 02:20, 7 January 2015 (UTC)

I think the Red Army Faction does not belong. It was not usually called the RAF in English, and this is the English Wikipedia. Rjensen (talk) 04:40, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
I wasn't searching news. I get 27 pages of Google results for RAF without any entry for Red Army Faction. Martinevans123 (talk) 08:51, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
When Tadeusz Nowak first editied the article to include a link to the Red Army Faction, I did not only find it to be totally unnecessary, but was also alerted to his use of "terrorist organisation". While I do not have any personal interest in the Red Army Faction, I believe such a description is highly controversial and best avoided. I noticed too that the Wikipedia article describes the Red Army Faction as a "far-left militant group". My feeling from Tadeusz Nowak's edit and his comments here, it that he has some sort of personal interest in this matter and wishes to over state the importance of the Red Army Faction so it gets "advertised" (as it were) at the top of the article, probably with his original "terrorist organisation" POV too.
Such comments as these below are obvious attempts to over state the importance of the Red Army Faction, and then, as always happens with POV pushers, he resorts to petty accusations as he become distressed that nobody agrees with him:
  • "In much of Europe, the name "RAF" is primarily associated with the terrorist organization which called itself simply "RAF""
  • "RAF the terrorist organization is clearly far more prominent than Oman's air force"
  • "Oh, I love the faux hypocrisy of editors pushing British chauvinism"
Regardless, consensus above looks to be against Tadeusz Nowak's edit. Antiochus the Great (talk) 13:40, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
Actually, he has a point. A google books search (international, non personalized) 1st and 3rd result is about the terrorist organization. Rob984 (talk) 13:44, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
Oh no! A bit like a red rag to a bull (in a British china shop, that is)? Martinevans123 (talk) 13:45, 7 January 2015 (UTC)

The notion that a terrorist organization, universally described as such and considered as such under German law, that murdered dozens of people in a western European country, is somehow not a terrorist organization is certainly one that is politically extreme and leads me to the conclusion that User:Antiochus the Great has a personal interest/politically extreme POV regarding this issue. A link to the RAF that has a readership of more than 50% of that of the air force belongs and will stay in the hatnote, unless the page on the abbreviation itself is made into a disambigution page. Tadeusz Nowak (talk) 23:15, 8 January 2015 (UTC)

It would be instructive to know, would it not, how many of those "more than 50%" reached the Red Army Faction article "directly" (or at least via Google) and how many reached it via this article header? Martinevans123 (talk) 23:36, 8 January 2015 (UTC) ...maybe the residual 50% only came to this article because they were looking for the Red Army Faction?
The page view statistics for a now obscure group are surprisingly high and seem to have been so since September. They have then dropped over the holiday season. This may indicate that the faction is on a school syllabus and so getting more attention than usual. This will be a temporary situation and the people searching will more likely be entering Red.... If not they soon will. I think it should be on the dab page.Charles (talk) 10:15, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
Still surprised that an organisation that was active only between 1970 and 1998 should be deemed to have the same "status" (in terms of its abbreviation) as a very much larger national organisation, with very many more assets, and hundreds of years of history and which is still actively part of the defence of the UK and part of NATO. Martinevans123 (talk) 12:21, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

New Zealand?[edit]

Why does this Talk Page have three New Zealand Categories while the article itself makes no mention? Martinevans123 (talk) 13:33, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

Am I missing something obvious? Martinevans123 (talk) 19:30, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
Probably related to the fact that NZ personnel and squadrons were serving with the RAF in the Second World War. MilborneOne (talk) 22:09, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestion. I had assumed all Comonwealth personnel may have served "alongside" the RAF. It seems odd to have these Categories without any explanation in the article. Martinevans123 (talk) 22:24, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

Total aircraft figure and source?[edit]

I am not entirely keen or even see the need for some arbitrary figure of total aircraft. However Shaw Knowledge seams insistent that one is needed. Therefore, I believe that at beast, any such figure should be as reliable and as authoritative as we can get. I notice that consensus on this talk page back in 2012 was to use Hansard, because it is easily the most authoritative source going for British military aircraft figures.

Though Shaw Knowledge appears to disregard the above, and instead says (in his edit summary) that the Flight Global citation is better, because it supports the idea the RAF has a smaller fleet than the French Air Force, and therefore Hansard is "contradictory". In my view, Shaw Knowledge's argument is riddled in POV, tossing aside Hansard simply because it does not conform to his own personal opinions.

Note that Shaw Knowledge is doing the same over at People's Liberation Army Air Force, deleting the IISS World Military Balance source (highly reliable and authoritative), simply because it shows the PLAAF as larger than the Russian Air Force.Antiochus the Great (talk) 11:21, 7 June 2015 (UTC)

Although flightglobal is clearly a reliable source it doesnt list for example the fleet of training gliders which is why the totals differ, so flight is OK for individual totals I would stick to Hansard for the "Official" total. MilborneOne (talk) 11:32, 7 June 2015 (UTC)

MilborneOne (talk) You could have been courteous to ask me this on my talk page. I am not doing this because it doesn't conform with my personal opinion but to make sure that a neutral claim on aircraft inventory is applied. Flightglobal gives the total aircraft figure not just for RAF but for all the World's Air Forces as well as Army & Naval Air Arms, thus clearly being a neutral claim.

I think Hansard used for reference which indeed gives official figure also includes the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm and Army Air Corps aircraft inventory. For example Boeing AH-64 Apache is only operated by Army Air Corps of British Army and not RAF but is included in the Hansard reference and maybe you guys are inadvertently adding that up in RAF's aircraft strength.

FYI: RAF indeed has a smaller aircraft inventory than French Air Force and PLAAF indeed has a smaller aircraft inventory than Russian Air Force. Have no doubts about that, and this is not my personal opinion.

FYI: If you have looked closely at the Flightglobal document, it clearly gives data for training aircrafts/helicopters as well.
BTW: What do you mean by "training gliders"? Gliders are not used to train pilots for flying 3rd, 4th or higher generation aircrafts. Gliders are only used for basic first hand lessons at flying in Air Force Academies for the cadets. I think what you actually mean is dedicated training aircraft modules (trainers) of the combat aircraft and helicopters.

Well majority is not always true, but if you guys have consensus on hansard figures or IISS ones, then be it though please check your totalling and do not mix up the Army and Naval Air Arms aircraft inventory with that of the Air Force.

Sometimes it is good to listen to what others have to say as well. Don't be hegemonic just because you are much experienced at editing and thus will negate whatever is suggested by others.
I hope you will take it in the right spirit.

cc - Antiochus the Great (talk)
- Shaw Knowledge (talk) 13:06, 7 June 2015 (UTC)
The RAF takes an annual census of airframes and armoured vehicles for international treatment obligations. That will I am sure be the figure used by Hansard, so it is likely to be the best source.Charles (talk) 13:57, 7 June 2015 (UTC)
Shaw K I am not sure why I should reply to a question from User:Antiochus the Great on your talk page, but I have had a look at the Hansard/Flight totals. Hansard mainly ignores contractor operated aircraft and Flight has ignored the Training Gliders so neither is wrong or right. I need to do a bit more research on why some of the other types differ but most agree. The Hansard total in the article does look wrong by a few but I believe we should still use it as a source in this article, the differences can be covered in the active aircraft article. Any errors in the table are probably my bad maths! Note that since these totals were done the 125 has been retired and more Merlin HC3s have been transferred to the Navy. MilborneOne (talk) 14:28, 7 June 2015 (UTC)
Type Hansard Total Flight Total Note
Voyager 8 8
Atlas 2 1
BAe 146 CC2/C3 4 2
BAe 125 CC3 5 5
Globemaster 8 8
Sentry AEW1 6 6
F-35B 3 3
Hawk T1 and T1A 52 (125) 49
Hawk T2 28 28
Hercules 28 (24) 23
Islander CC2/CC2A 3 3
King Air 7 8
RC-135W Rivet Joint 1 1
Reaper 10 0
Sentinel R1 5 5
Shadow R1 5 5
Tornado GR4/4A 98 81
Tucano T1 43 (82) 40
Typhoon FGR4 / T3 127 103
Vigilant T1 65 0
Viking T1 81 0
Chinook HC4/6 (HC3) 43 (51) 49
Merlin HC3/3A 27 15
Puma HC2 30 19
Sea King HAR3/A 20 14
Bell 412 0 4
Tutor 0 119
AW109 0 3
Totals 709 (825) 602

MilborneOne, thanks very much for the table, though according to the Hansard citation Hawk T1 numbers are 125 (not 52), Hercules is 24 (not 28) and the Tucano is 82 (not 43) - I took the liberty of tweaking your table if you don't mind. Therefore, and including Merlin, the total according to Hansard is 817. However, when I originally made the calculation, I did not include Merlin for the reasons you have already stated, so without Merlin, I now come to 790 (I have no idea where the extra 8 came from when I originally calculated it?). Cheers.Antiochus the Great (talk) 17:36, 7 June 2015 (UTC)

No problem User:Antiochus the Great with the tweaks they were my mistakes, just wanted to show others why the two sources differ. MilborneOne (talk) 18:31, 7 June 2015 (UTC)
I know where the extra 8 came from now, it the the 8 Chinook HC3s. Oddly, they are not included in the Hansard table, they are instead included in the notes on Chinook below (regarding their future upgrade to HC5 standard). So including the 8 HC3s, but excluding the Merlins, I get my original figure of 798. However I guess we should also exclude the BAE 125's as-well, considering they have been withdrawn.Antiochus the Great (talk) 12:28, 8 June 2015 (UTC)

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57 Squadron Disbandment[edit]

Is 57(R) sqn still operating? I can't find any details online regarding its disbandment, but the RAF website (never the best of sources) doesn't mention it. Waterwings91 (talk) 14:44, 3 November 2015 (UTC) this seems to indicate they still existed at RAFC Cranwell in July 2015. MilborneOne (talk) 19:39, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. Although that document does refer to the 'Royal Naval Air Service' so not entirely sure they know their stuff :P. A secondary question that FOI request poses is that it says 674, 703 and 57(R) are based at Cranwell, not at Barkston Heath, so that would imply Barkston is no longer their primary base but has reverted to a primary role as satellite airfield. With the move of 16(R) and 115(R) to Wittering, it makes sense for DEFTS to be actually based at Cranwell. I was there for OASC last week and there were certainly tutors flying from there. I was going to edit the pages relating to defts and barkston heath to reflect that, but apart from the letter I have no idea whether they've moved or not. Waterwings91 (talk) 20:51, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
Just to add on 57 Following an announcement by the Ministry of Defence on 25th March 2013, which announced that all flying at RAF Wyton would cease, and the airfield earmarked for closure, all military flying ceased in February 2015. As part of regionalising Elementary Flying Training in the RAF, 57(Reserve) Squadron relocated to RAF Cranwell in October 2014. Cambridge and London University Air Squadrons, together with No. 5 Air Experience Flight, relocated to RAF Wittering in February 2015. The units, part of No. 3 Elementary Flying Training School provide basic flying training, using Grob Tutor aircraft. Not sure but as only the contract-operated Fireflies were based at Barkston so when they were retired the aircrew/instructors moved to Cranwell. I am sure an expert will be along soon! MilborneOne (talk) 21:01, 3 November 2015 (UTC)

Novel Air Concept -- just a concept?[edit]

I don't think this has been considered at all, definitely not in SDSR 2015.Cantab1985 (talk) 03:56, 18 April 2016 (UTC)

373 Aircraft?[edit]

The infobox states a size figure of 373 aircraft. The source can be viewed here:

However, on counting the figures for RAF aircraft within that source, I arrived at a total of 596 aircraft. Here's the same data with non-RAF aircraft omitted.

Platform Forward Sustainment Storage
Voyager 8 0 0
A400M 2 0 0
BAE 146 CCMk2 4 0 0
BAE HS125 CCMK3 4 1 0
C-17 Globemaster 7 1 0
E-3D Sentry AEW1 3 3 0
F-35B 0 0 0
Hawk T1/T1A 66 7 52
Hawk T2 24 4 0
Hercules C-130J 20 4 0
RC-135W Rivet Joint 1 0 0
Reaper - - -
Sentinel R1 3 2 0
Shadow R.1 - - -
Tornado GR4/4A 59 28 11
Tucano T1 28 11 43
Typhoon 89 38 0
Vigilant T1 - - -
Viking T1 - - -
Chinook HC4 23 14 0
Chinook HC5 0 0 6
Chinook HC6 5 1 0
Puma HC2 10 13 0
  • The Hawk figures include aircraft owned by the Royal Navy.
  • Reaper, Shadow, Vigilant and Viking numbers are not included. Had they been included, the total would have been higher.

If somebody could kindly explain how the total size is only 373 aircraft, I would greatly appreciate it. TheArmchairSoldier (talk) 10:31, 31 May 2016 (UTC)

The question being answered in the source only relates to certain specific type of aircraft, not the total fleet size. No mention of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight for example. IMO there is a potential problem with using the source for a total in that nowhere does it directly mention total figures 373, 981, 596 or even 589 or 919. All have to be arrived at by interpreting the written answer, the aircraft platforms table, the notes to the aircraft platforms table, and even so are only a snapshot at 26 March 2015. Too much for what should be a simple info box figure without explanation in the body of the article. Should there be a section giving strengths or aircraft on charge over the years? Do the details of who owns what matter? SovalValtos (talk) 12:18, 31 May 2016 (UTC)
The annual World Air Force 2016 published by Flight gives 592 aircraft (which includes contractor provided aircraft but not gliders, which are currently grounded). MilborneOne (talk) 20:57, 31 May 2016 (UTC)

RAF and disambiguation[edit]

Why does "RAF" redirect to this article, rather than to a disambiguation page? Under which criteria is the Royal Air Force more relevant than, for example, Red Army Faction? Sideshow Bob 10:01, 9 June 2016 (UTC)

RAF redirects here because the Royal Air Force is considered the primary topic for RAF in the English language. - BilCat (talk) 10:53, 9 June 2016 (UTC)


RAF Transjordan and Palestine, based in Jerusalem,[1]--Kintetsubuffalo (talk) 06:29, 1 November 2016 (UTC)

  1. ^ "Royal Air Force: Appointments". Flight. XXIII (1174): 615. 26 June 1931. Retrieved 14 November 2014.