Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
RAF Timeline 1981 - 2011
To view further details of each main Command development click on the Command title on the right of the timeline
For a summary click here
|January 1981||29 - Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment opened at Cottesmore|
|May 1981||Boeing Vertol Chinook entered service|
|June 1981||Tornado Weapons Conversion Unit formed at Honington.|
|November 1981||30 - Last RAF Whirlwind SAR sortie|
|January 1982||6 - TWCU opened|
|April 1982||2 - Argentina invades the Falkland Islands.
21 - First air drop by RAF to ships of the Task Force.
|May 1982|| 1 - RAF Vulcan bombs Port Stanley.
20 - RAF Harriers attack Port Stanley for the first time.
27 - 'Atlantic Conveyor' sunk together with three RAF Chinooks.
|June 1982||1 - First Tornado (No 9) formed.
14 - Argentina surrenders, Falklands War ends.
|June 1983||BAe 146 used for trials|
|July 1983||BAe VC10 K Mk 2 entered service.
Lockheed Tristar entered service.
|September 1983||RAF Buccaneers operate over Lebonon|
|November 1983||29 - First Fighter Controller brevets awarded|
|February 1984||Chinooks attached to BritLebFor evacuate British personnel from Beirut to Cyprus. First all RAF crewed Tristar flight carried out.|
|March 1984||Avro Vulcan retired from service.|
|June 1984||De Havilland Devon retired from service|
|July 1984||BAe VC10 K Mk 3 entered service|
|September 1984||CFS moves from Leeming to Scampton|
|October 1984||McDonnell Phantom F4J (UK) entered service.|
|November 1984||RAF Hercules aircraft fly out to Ethiopia to
carry out Operation 'Bushell'.
No 216 Sqn re-formed to operate the Tristar.
|January 1985||RAF Hercules aircraft carry out first air drop during Operation 'Bushell'|
|May 1985||Panavia Tornado F Mk 2 entered service.|
|December 1985||Operation 'Bushell' comes to an end|
|January 1986||8 - RAF Marine Branch disbanded|
|March 1986||Lockheed Tristar K Mk 1 entered service.|
|April 1986||BAe 146 CC Mk 2 entered service.|
|April 1987||VC-10 of No 101 Sqn set a new record for a non-stop flight from UK to Australia, 16 hours 90 seconds|
|June 1987||Operation 'Maralinga' started in Australia, Wessex helicopter surveyed atomic test sites.|
|July 1987||Two Phantom F4J (UK)s of No 74 Sqn set a new record from London to Edinburgh, 27 minutes 3.75 seconds.|
|September 1987||24 - A Tornado of the A & AEE made the first
non-stop unrefueled crossing of the Atlantic by a British jet fighter.
Operation 'Maralinga' ended
|April 1988||English Electric Lightning retired from service|
|May 1988||Royal Aircraft Establishment renamed Royal Aerospace Establishment|
|September 1988||Shorts Tucano and BAe Harrier GR Mk 5 entered service.|
|February 1989||No 3 FTS re-formed at Cranwell|
|August 1989||Announcement that women will be recruited for non-combat flying duties.|
|September 1989||The first RAF female navigators begin training at RAF Finningley.|
|December 1989||First course on Tucano starts at No 7 FTS.|
|March 1990||Grob 109B Vigilant entered service with Air Cadet VGS|
|May 1990||First Airborne Technician brevets awarded.|
|July 1990||Secretary of state announces 'Options for
Boeing Sentry AEW Mk 1 entered service (still on trials controlled by Boeing)
|August 1990||2 - Iraq invades Kuwait.
11 - RAF begin Operation 'Granby'
17 - Air Operations against Iraq begin (Operation 'Desert Storm')
|February 1991||28 - Operation 'Desert Storm' ended|
|March 1991||First female navigator qualified at RAF Finningley|
|April 1991||8 - RAF Defence Support Agency formed|
|May 1991||RAF helicopters carry out supply missions to Kurdish refugees in Turkey|
|June 1991||First female pilot received her 'Wings'|
|July 1991||Avro Shackleton AEW Mk 2 and Bristol Bloodhound Mk 2 retired from service.|
|August 1991||Royal Observer Corps stood down.
RAF Tristars carry relief supplies to Chile.
|December 1991||Announcement that female aircrew will be able to undertake combat duties.|
|September 1992||OASC moves to Cranwell|
|April 1993||1 - RAF Germany disbanded
1 - The Queen presents a new colour to the RAF
Operation 'Deny Flight' begun to enforce a No-Fly zone over Bosnia
|January 1994||Airmens' Command School moved to RAF Halton.
First passing out parade held at RAF Halton after Recruit Training
School had moved from RAF Swinderby.
Final Phantom retired by A & AEE at Boscombe Down.
|February 1994||Tornado GR Mk 1B entered service.|
|March 1994||Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer retired from service.|
|April 1994||1 - Womens' Royal Air Force disbanded when all
female personnel absorbed into the RAF.
1 - Personnel and Training Command and Logistics Command formed from RAF Support Command.
|June 1994||RAF Regiment Depot moved to RAF Honington from RAF Catterick|
|July 1994||1 - HQ Allied Forces North Western Europe formed.|
|September 1994||7 - RAF Gatow handed over to the Luftwaffe.
No 7 FTS (No 2 TWU) closed with the role being taken over by No 4 FTS at RAF Valley.
|March 1995||Queen's Flight disbanded.
No 3 FTS closed at RAF Cranwell.
Hawker Siddeley Andover retired from service.
|April 1995||JEFTS moved from Topcliffe to Barkston Heath.|
|August 1993||30 - Operation 'Deliberate Force' begun over Bosnia|
|September 1995||14 - Operation 'Deliberate Force' ended
Air Warfare Centre opened at RAF Waddington
|October 1995||Completion of non pilot training transferred from No 6 FTS at Finningley to No 3 FTS at Cranwell.|
|January 1996||Implementation Force (IFOR) set up in Bosnia.
Operation 'Decisive Edge' begun to enforce a No-Fly zone over Bosnia
|March 1996||De Havilland Chipmunk retired from service.
31 - Nos 11 and 18 Groups merged into 11/18 Group.
31 - Hercules tanker force disbanded
|April 1996||Last RAF HQ on mainland Europe (No 2 Group) closed|
|August 1996||Permanent Joint HQ took over control of Operations Jural and Warden|
|December 1996||Operation 'Decisive Edge' renamed 'Deliberate Guard'|
|April 1997||Defence Helicopter School formed at RAF Shawbury.|
|March 1998||31 - Phasing out of the RAF's last nuclear weapons announced|
|April 1998||Operation 'Deliberate Guard' ended|
|December 1998||16-19 - RAF Tornadoes took part in Operation 'Desert Fox' against targets in Iraq.|
|March 1999||24 - Last graduation ceremony
at No 1 Radio School, Locking.
31 - RAF Manston closed.
31 - TTTE, RAF Cottesmore disbanded
|April 1999||No 17 Sqn disbanded.
Formation of the Defence Logistics Organisation announced.
Operation 'Allied Force' begun
|May 1999||24-27 - Operation 'Engadine' carried out in Kosovo.|
|June 1999||17 - Operation 'Allied Force' ended|
|October 1999||5 - Joint Helicopter Command formed|
|November 1999||Logistics Command disbanded|
|December 1999||7 - First C-130J arrived at Lyneham|
|March 2000||3 - Joint Forces Air Command HQ reached initial operating capability|
|April 2000||1 - RAF/RN Joint Harrier Force established|
|May 2000||Joint Force Harrier operated over Sierra Leone|
|August 2000||Announced that specialisations of Navigator, AEO and Air Signaller to be replaced by Weapons Systems Officers/Operators.|
|10 - Operation ''Barras' conduct d to free hostages in Sierra Leone|
|October 2000||No 74 Sqn disbanded at RAF Valley|
|March 2001||7 - First four EH101 Merlin HC Mk 3s entered service|
|June 2001||No 99 Sqn reformed to operate C-17
RAF Nordhorn (bombing range) in Germany closed
|July 2001||17 - No 28 Sqn reformed at RAF Benson to operate the Merlin|
|August 2001||21 - Last RAF station in Germany, RAF Bruggen, closed|
|September 2001||11 - Terrorists fly hijacked airliners into the World Trade Centre in New York.|
|October 2001||Operation 'Veritas' begun against the Taliban in Afghanistan.|
|March 2002||14 - No 57 (R) Squadron disbanded
RAF Inspectorate of Flight Safety disbanded and a new Defence Aviation Safety Centre formed at Bentley Priory
|July 2002||No 1 FTS Squadrons are redesignated Nos 72 (R) and 207 (R) Squadrons|
|September 2002||No 5 (AC) Squadron disbanded at RAF Coningsby|
|December 2002||Sea Kings of No 203 (R) Squadron deploy to Cyprus to take over the SAR duties of No 84 Squadron, whist the latter re-equips in the UK.|
|March 2003||20 - Operation 'Telic', begun against Iraq|
|April 2003||1 - First deployment by Merlins of No 28
No 56 (R) Squadron relocates from Coningsby to Leuchars
|June 2003||First Eurofighter Typhoon, handed over to No 17 (R) Squadron|
|Juy 2003||Joint Elementary Flying Training School, renamed No 1 Elementary Flying Training School|
|August 2003||1 - ACM Sir Jock Stirrup, becomes CAS|
|December 2003||16 - First two Beech King Air B200s arrive at RAF Cranwell for No 45 Squadron|
|February 2004||9 - First solo flight by a RAF pilot in the
Eurofighter Typhoon (Wg Cdr David Chan - No 17 (R) Squadron
No 1563 Flight reformed in Iraq as part of the Joint Helicopter Force
|March 2004||19 - Last flight by RAF
Air Guided Weapons Operational Evaluation Unit at RAF Valley closed.
|April 2004||1 - No 5 (AC) Squadron reformed at RAF
1 - No 1115 Flight formed in the USA to operate the Predator UAV
Saxa Vord is re-instated as a RAF station
|May 2004||Volunteer Ex-Regular Reservist scheme introduced (VRR)|
|November 2004||RAF aircraft provide QRA fighter cover to
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia for the first time.
RAF Buchan closed
|February 2005||Merlins of No 28 Sqn deployed to Iraq|
|March 2005||No 206 Sqn disbanded at RAF Kinloss|
|April 2005||7 - Brimstone accepted into RAF service at RAF Marham|
|November 2005||Volunteer Gliding Schools renamed Volunteer Gliding Sqns.|
|March 2006||RAF Saxa Vord closed|
|April 2006||1 - No 3 Sqn reformed at RAF Coningsby to become
the first operational Typhoon unit.
1 - Falkland Islands Air Wing renamed No 905 Expeditionary Air Wing.
13 - ACM Sir Glenn Torpy became CAS
13 - ACM Sir Jock Stirrup became CDS
RAF Air Weapon Ranges transferred to the control of the Army
RAF training on the Rapier surface to air missile ceased
|June 2006||23 - Canberra retired from service after 56 years|
|July 2006||1 - No 602 (City of Glasgow) Sqn reformed to
support maritime and ISTAR forces at Kinloss and Waddington
28 - No 39 Sqn (Canberras) disbanded
|October 2006||RAF's new HQ at High Wycombe opened|
|January 2007||1 - Air Command by merging Personnel and Training Command with Strike Command|
|January 2008||3 - No 1115 Flight absorbed into a new No 39 Sqn|
|March 2008||RAF Innsworth closed and handed over to the Army.|
|May 2008||RAF Bentley Priory closed|
1 - No 903 Expeditionary Air Wing stood down in Iraq
The rank of Lance Corporal introduced to the RAF Regiment
|April 2009||ACM Sir Stephen Dalton becomes CAS|
|May 2009||First female pilot, Flt Lt Kirsty Moore, was selected for the Red Arrows|
|June 2009||Tornado GR4s replace Harriers at Kandahar in Afghanistan|
|July 2009||13 - No 43 Sqn disbanded at RAF Leuchars
No 206 Sqn reformed from the Heavy Aircraft and Test Sqn and Air Trainsport & Air-to-Air Refueling OEU.
|August 2009||11 - No 1419 Flight returned from Iraq bring an to operations in the country.|
|September 2009||16 - Typhoon FGR Mk 4s replace Tornado F Mk 3s in the Falkland Islands|
|October 2009||17 - No 230 Sqn left RAF Aldergrove in Northern Ireland bringing an end to 91 years RAF service in the province|
|November 2009||28 - The bombing range at Wainfleet closed|
|January 2010||14 - Chinook HC Mk 3 entered service
15 - No 101 Sqn ceased routine passenger flights in its VC10s
|March 2010||30 - No IV Sqn became No IV (Reserve) Sqn and
assumed the role of the Harrier OCU
30 - No 20 (R) Sqn disbanded
RAF Uxbridge closed
|April 2010||The Fast Jet Test Sqn was disbanded|
|May 2010||19 - Harrier T Mk 12A entered service with No IV (R) Sqn|
|June 2010||Flt Lt Kirsty Moore became the first female to
wear the red flying suit with the Red Arrows
7 - No 58 Sqn RAF Regiment formed at RAF Leuchars
7 - No 8 Force Protection Wing HQ formed at RAF Waddington
RAF Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Operations Sqn redesignated No 26 Sqn RAF Regiment
|September 2010||6 - No 6 Sqn reformed at RAF Leuchars equipped
with the Typhoon FGR Mk 4
8 - No 70 Sqn disbanded
|December 2010||15 - Final flypast by Harriers of Joint Force Harrier|
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