Canada   Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) • Aviation Royale Canadienne (ARC)

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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 August 2011.


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 historical service.[10]


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)





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.


Strategic Surveillance

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 Command (CEFCOM).


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 personnel.


The following Wings report operationally to 1 Cdn Air Div:


    1 Wing 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.

    3 Wing 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.

    8 Wing 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.

    9 Wing 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.

    12 Wing 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.

    14 Wing 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.

    15 Wing 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.

    16 Wing 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 professional development.

    17 Wing 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.

    19 Wing 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.

    22 Wing 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 Centre.



  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 the F-35.

Canada AF

   Canada AF News:

Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) 50 years of tradition

• Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) 50 years of tradition  (6.08.2021)

Announcing the Royal Canadian Air Force 2024 Logo

• Announcing the Royal Canadian Air Force 2024 Logo  (6.07.2021)

Canadian Air Force accepts first new SAR plane despite issue with manuals

• Canadian Air Force accepts first new SAR plane despite issue with manuals  (24.12.2019)

• Top Aces sees expanded role for red air as Air Force training  (9.06.2019)

• Canada seeks to address U.S. complaints about bidding process for fighter jets  (8.05.2019)

• Sky Lease Cargo Boeing 747-412F runway excursion accident at Halifax /Canada  (7.11.2018)

• Canada doesn’t need Fighter-capable aircraft

• Improvements in store for Canadian SAR system

• Canada: Experts compare new aircraft delay to F-35 planes controversy

• Canada: Experts compare new aircraft delay to F-35 planes controversy

• Canadian Improvements to search and rescue pledged after auditor complaints

• Maintenance contract for Canadian military Hercules planes goes to BC company

• Analyzing the pros and cons of the Boeing Super Hornet as Canada’s next generation fighter.


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