ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE HISTORY
The Canadian Air Force (CAF) was established in 1920 as the successor to
a short-lived two-squadron Canadian Air Force formed during the First World War
in Europe. The new Canadian Air Force was a branch of the Air Board and was
chiefly a training militia that provided refresher training to veteran pilots.
Many CAF members also worked with the Air Board's Civil Operations Branch on
operations that included forestry, surveying and anti-smuggling patrols. In
1923, the CAF became responsible for all flying operations in Canada, including
civil aviation. In 1924, the Canadian Air Force, was granted the royal title,
becoming the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). Most of its work was civil in
nature; however, in the late 1920s the RCAF evolved into more of a military
organization. After budget cuts in early 1930s, the air force began to rebuild.
During the Second World War the RCAF was a major contributor to the British
Commonwealth Air Training Plan and was involved in operations in Great Britain,
Europe, the north Atlantic, north Africa, southern Asia, and with home defence.
By the end of the war, the RCAF had become the fourth largest allied air force.
After the war, the RCAF reduced its strength. Because of the rising
Soviet threat to the security of Europe, Canada joined NATO in 1949, and the
RCAF established No. 1 Air Division RCAF consisting of four wings with three
fighter squadrons each, based in France and West Germany. In 1950, the RCAF
became involved with the transport of troops and supplies to the Korean War;
however, it did not provide RCAF combat units. Members of the RCAF served in
USAF units as exchange officers and several flew in combat. At the same time,
the Pinetree Line, the Mid-Canada Line and the DEW Line radar stations, largely
operated by the RCAF, were built across Canada because of the growing Soviet
nuclear threat. In 1957, Canada and the United States created the joint North
American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). Coastal defence and peacekeeping
also became priorities during the 1950s and 1960s.
In 1968 the Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Canadian Air Force and Canadian
Army were amalgamated to form the unified Canadian Forces. This initiative was
overseen by then Liberal Defence Minister, Paul Hellyer. The controversial
merger maintained several existing organizations and created some new ones: In
Europe, No. 1 Air Division, operated Canadair CF-104 Starfighter nuclear
strike/attack and reconnaissance under NATO's 4 ATAF; Air Defence Command:
operated McDonnell CF-101 Voodoo interceptors, CIM-10 Bomarc missiles and the
SAGE radar system within NORAD; Air Transport Command: provided strategic
airlift for the NATO and UN Peacekeeping missions; and Training Command.
Aviation assets of the Royal Canadian Navy were combined with the RCAF Canadair
CP-107 Argus long-range patrol aircraft under Maritime Command. In 1975, the
different commands, and the scattered aviation assets, were consolidated under
Air Command (AIRCOM).
In the early 1990s, Canada provided a detachment of CF-18 Hornets for
the air defence mission in Operation Desert Shield. The force performed combat
air patrols over operations in Kuwait and Iraq, undertook a number of
air-to-ground bombing missions, and, on one occasion, attacked an Iraqi patrol
boat in the Persian Gulf.
In the late 1990s, Air Command's CF-188 Hornets took part in the
Operation Allied Force in Yugoslavia, and in the 2000s, AIRCOM was heavily
involved in the Afghanistan War, transporting troops and assets to Kandahar.
Later in the decade-long war, AIRCOM set up a purpose-specific air wing, Joint
Task Force Afghanistan Air Wing, equipped with several CH-146 Griffon and
CH-147 Chinook helicopters, CC-130 Hercules and leased CU-170 Heron UAVs in
support of the Canadian Forces and ISAF mission. The wing stood down on 18
From 18 March to 1 November 2011 the RCAF was engaged in Operation
Mobile, Canada's contribution to Operation Unified Protector in Libya. Seven
CF-18 Hornet fighter aircraft and several other aircraft served under Task
Force Libeccio as part of the military intervention.
On 16 August 2011, the Government of Canada announced that the name
"Air Command" was being changed to the air force's original historic
name: Royal Canadian Air Force (along with the change of name of Maritime
Command to Royal Canadian Navy and Land Force Command to Canadian Army). The
change was made to better reflect Canada's military heritage and align Canada
with other key Commonwealth countries whose military units use the royal
designation. The new RCAF adopted a new badge in 2013, which is similar to the
pre-unification RCAF badge (although placed in the modern frame used for
command badges).The Latin motto of Air Command - Sic itur ad astra - which was
the motto of the Canadian Air Force when first formed after the First World War
(before it became the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1924) was retained. There has
been no restoration of the traditional uniforms or rank structure of the
On 17 April 2014, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Canada is
sending six CF-18s and military personnel to assist NATO in operations in
Eastern Europe. (Wikipedia)
FORMERLY AIR COMMAND (AIRCOM) 2010:
1 CAN Air Division, HQ Winnipeg, is
responsible for all CF air op readiness, combat air-spt, air tpt, SAR, MR and
trg. This HQ is the ACC HQ for CANADACOM and CEFCOM. 1 CAN Air Div wgs directly
support land forces (tac avn and UAV), maritime forces (maritime hel and long
range MP), and Special Forces (hel) with OPCOM status. Other wgs undertake
directly related air roles (AD, AT, SAR, trg) while remaining under direct 1
CAN Air Div control.
2 CAN Air Div is responsible for
Air Force doctrine, initial training and education.
13 Wgs: 1 Wg (Kingston); 3 Wg
(Bagotville); 4 Wg (Cold Lake); 5 Wg (Goose Bay); 8 Wg (Trenton); 9 Wg
(Gander); 12 Wg (Shearwater); 14 Wg
(Greenwood); 15 Wg (Moose Jaw); 16 Wg (Borden); 17 Wg (Winnipeg); 19 Wg
(Comox); 22 Wg (North Bay). In addition, an Air Expeditionary Wg (AEW) at
Bagotville (up to 550 personnel) will train and deploy together, and will
comprise a cmd element, an ops support flt and a mission support flt.
1 (NORAD Regional) HQ located at Winnipeg; 1 Sector HQ at North Bay with
10 North Warning System Long Range;
36 North Warning System Short Range; 4 Coastal; 2 Transportable (total
of 52 Radar stn)
1 Cdn Air Div1 Canadian Air Division (1 Cdn Air
Div) is the source of air power provided by the Royal Canadian Air Force to the
operational commands of the Canadian Forces (CF).
Organized, equipped, and maintained to provide
operational - ready
forces for rapid deployment and employment, 1 Cdn Air Div ensures its wings and
units are ready with the right mix of air power to meet our nation’s urgent
aerospace needs and, as a partner in NORAD, are able to counter potential
threats to our sovereignty.
1 Cdn Air Div operates a diverse fleet of aircraft and
also provides an array of command, control, communications and intelligence
systems in support of our nation’s defence priorities at home and abroad.
The Commander of 1 Cdn Air Div serves also as
Commander of the Canadian NORAD Region and as the Joint Force Air Component
Commander (JFACC) for both Canada Command and the Canadian Expeditionary Force
2 Cdn Air Div:2 Canadian Air Division
2 Canadian Air Division a responsive, forward-thinking
and effects-focused Air Force (AF) doctrine, training and education centre of
excellence. We will deliver advanced aerospace knowledge and fundamental core
training capability to achieve maximum effect for the CF. Success will be
realized through continuous learning and innovation ..Organization 2 Canadian
Air Division Units
Wings & Squadrons (Air Force Wings Across Canada)
Thirteen wings are located across Canada, from Gander,
Nfld. to Comox, BC. The Wings conduct Air Force operations under the direction
of 1 Cdn Air Div/CANR. Ten Wings also include a Canadian Forces Base along with
other operational and support units.
Wings vary in size from several hundred personnel,
such as at 9 Wing Gander and 5 Wing Goose Bay, to larger wings, such as, 8 Wing
Trenton, 4 Wing Cold Lake and 14 Wing Greenwood with several thousand
The following Wings report operationally to 1 Cdn Air
Kingston is the home of the Griffon helicopter. It provides airlift support of
troops and equipment anywhere in the world. Its six tactical helicopter and
training squadrons are spread out across the country.
Bagotville is located in Quebec's Saguenay region. It provides general purpose,
multi-role, combat capable forces in support of domestic and international
roles of Canada's Air Force. It also provides search and rescue missions.
4 Wing Cold
Lake is the busiest fighter base in Canada. It provides general purpose,
multi-role, combat capable forces in support of domestic and international
roles of Canada's Air Force. Home of fighter pilot training for the Canadian
Forces, 4 Wing attracts Top Gun crews from all over the world to our annual air
combat exercise, Maple Flag.
5 Wing Goose
Bay is the site of Allied tactical flying training in Canada. It is home to
permanent detachments from Britain's Royal Air Force, the German Luftwaffe, the
Royal Netherlands Air Force and the Italian Aeronautic Militaire. 5 Wing also
serves as a NORAD CF-18 deployed operating base and airfield supporting a mix
of aviation activities, military and civilian, in North-Eastern Canada.
Trenton is the hub of Canada's air mobility forces - from delivering supplies
to the high Arctic (CFS Alert) to airlifting troops and equipment worldwide. It
is also responsible for search and rescue in central Canada and home to the
famous Skyhawks with the Canadian Parachute Centre.
Gander is home of the 103 Search and Rescue (SAR) Squadron, providing full-time
SAR services to Newfoundland and Labrador. When a call for help comes in, SAR
crews at 9 Wing Gander are ready to head out in any direction from their base
in Canada's most easterly province, Newfoundland.
Shearwater is the centre of naval aviation in Canada. Home of the CH-124 Sea
King helicopter, 12 Wing supports the Navy with up to nine helicopter air
detachments for international and domestic operations.
Greenwood is nestled in the heart of Nova Scotia's beautiful Annapolis Valley.
Aurora crews conduct sovereignty and surveillance missions over the Atlantic
Ocean routinely, while search and rescue capabilities are maintained 365 days
of the year.
Moose Jaw is the site of the new NATO Flying Training Program in Canada (NFTC).
This southern Saskatchewan town is also home to the Snowbirds, Canada's world
famous aerobatic team.
Borden is the "Birthplace of the RCAF." The largest training Wing in
the Canadian Forces, 16 Wing's schools offer air force technical training and
Winnipeg comprises three squadrons and six schools. It also provides support to
the Central Flying School. All combined, 17 Wing turns out what are considered
some of the best air navigators and multi-skilled personnel in the world. For
Canadian air force personnel, all roads will lead to 17 Wing Winnipeg.
Comox is based on Vancouver Island. Its Aurora crews keep watch over the
Pacific Ocean while its search and rescue teams regularly locate downed
Aircraft in some of Canada's roughest terrain while another squadron helps
train fighter pilots in tactical procedures.
North Bay , also known as the Canadian Air Defence Sector (CADS), is responsible
for providing surveillance, identification, control and warning for the
aerospace defence of Canada and North America at the Sector Air Operations
Aircraft Note: Canada
made the most extensive break with the programme with its 2012 decision to
suspend its planned procurement of 65 F-35As, originally announced on July 16,
2010 and to be delivered between 2016 and 2022, after revelations that
life-cycle cost figures announced by the government at the time of the original
procurement had been inaccurate.
A new competition, launched in 2012, was intended to put an end to
growing controversy about the government’s decision to buy the F-35 without an
open evaluation comparing it with alternative platforms - Boeing’s F/A-18E/F,
Saab’s Gripen (withdrawn from the competition in June) and Dassault’s Rafale.
Press reports have insisted that the 2010 decision to buy the F-35s was based
on the government deliberately downplaying the costs and risks of the
programme,and that the C$9 billion procurement price would be dwarfed by a
life-cycle cost of C$46 billion over 42 years.
Ascertaining the impact of a cancellation is difficult because of the
high degree of integration of the Canadian aerospace industry with that of the
US – a 2010 industrial offset report indicating Canada would receive about
C$9.8 billion was seen as disappointing – but it is certainly greater than any
other international partner is expecting.
Canada’s most feasible alternative is the F/A-18E/F. With its experience
with the CF-18A/B, interoperability with the US into the 2030s and industrial
participation, this may be the strongest chance for a partner to turn away from