Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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RAF Timeline 1961 - 1980

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

February 1961   MEAF re-named Near East Air Force and BFAP re-named Air Forces Middle East.
March 1961   RAF aircraft started famine relief operations in Kenya (until April)
May 1961   1 - UK Air Defence Region formed.
June 1961   20/21 - First non stop flight UK - Australia by a Vulcan flown by Sqn Ldr M G Beavis
July 1961   RAF aircraft assist Kuwait against Iraq.
October 1961   RAF aircraft carry out food drops in Kenya until January (Operation 'Tana Flood')
November 1961   RAF fly supplies to Belize after Hurricane 'Hattie' (Operation 'Sky Help').

 Hawker Siddeley Argosy entered service.

February 1962   Folland Gnat entered service
May 1962   HQ Near East Command disbanded
November 1962   Last Mosquitoes withdrawn from service
December 1962   FEAF aircraft assist in quelling Brunei Revolt. 

Blue Steel entered service.

February 1963   No 617 Sqn began equipping with the Blue Steel stand-off missile.
March 1963   31 - No's 11 and 12 Groups re-named Sectors
April 1963   1 - Directorate-General of Works transferred to Ministry of Public Building and Works.
August 1963   Last Thor IRBM base closed.
December 1963   Operations begin in Malaya and Borneo against Indonesian incursion.
January 1964   15 - BMEWS at Fylingdales goes fully operational. 

Westland Wessex entered service.

April 1964   1 - Ministry of Defence formed. 

New RAF trade structure introduced.

September 1964   RAF assumed responsibility for internal security of British Guiana.
October 1964   Technician and Craft Apprenticeships introduced, replacing Aircraft Apprenticeships and Boy Entrants. 

Kestral Evaluation Squadron set up at West Raynham.

December 1964   Vickers Valiants withdrawn from service owing to fatigue problems.
August 1965   Handley Page Victors take over AAR Tanker role from Valiants.
October 1965   Hawker Siddeley Dominie entered service.
December 1965   RAF undertake operations from Zambia following Rhodesian UDI.
January 1966   3 - RAF Technical College moved to RAF Cranwell. 

Short Belfast entered service.

April 1966   1 - Airfield Construction Branch disbanded. 

BAC VC10 entered service.

August 1966   Operations in Malaya and Borneo cease.
October 1966   Technical Branch re-named Engineer Branch.
November 1966   Hawker Siddeley Andover entered service.
December 1966   RAF operations in Zambia cease.
March 1967   RAF fighters bomb the tanker Torrey Canyon aground off Cornwall.
July 1967   Lockheed Hercules entered service
August 1967   1 - Transport Command re-named Air Support Command
November 1967   8 - British Forces begin final withdrawal from Aden having been under RAF control for 40 years.
January 1968   Handley Page Hastings withdrawn from service as a transport.
April 1968   1 - 50th Anniversary of RAF. 

30 - Strike Command formed by merging Fighter, and Bomber Commands.

June 1968   1 - Training Command formed by merging FTC and TTC. 

14 - Queen attends 50th Anniversary flying display at Abingdon. 

Avro Anson withdrawn from service

August 1968   1 - WRAF officers adopt RAF ranks.
November 1968   28 - Coastal Command absorbed into Strike Command as No 18 (Maritime) Group.
January 1969   Signals Command disbanded.
May 1969   4-11 - Harrier of No 1 Sqn won the London - Ne York air Race

McDonnell Phantom entered service

June 1969   30 - Nuclear deterrent role taken over by Royal Navy.
October 1969   Hawker Siddeley Harrier, Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer and Hawker Siddeley Nimrod entered service.
April 1970   4 - Last RAF Dakota retired from service (until March 1993)
September 1970   Graduate entry replaced Cadet entry at RAF College, Cranwell.
November 1970   RAF took part in flood relief operations in Pakistan (Operation 'Burlap')
June 1971   Aerospatiale Puma entered service
November 1971   31 - FEAF disbanded
December  1971   15 - Air Forces Gulf disbanded
January 1972   Shackleton AEW Mk 2 entered service.  
September 1972   Air Support Command absorbed by Strike Command.  Hawker Hunter re-entered service with Strike Command.
November 1972   RAF Museum at Hendon opened.
March 1973   RAF airlift supplies to Himalayan villages in Nepal (Operation 'Khana Cascade')
April 1973   Scottish Aviation Bulldog entered service.
June 1973   Scottish Aviation Jetstream entered service.
July 1973   Aerospatiale Gazelle entered service
September 1973   Maintenance Command re-named Support Command. 

Sepecat Jaguar entered service.

March 1975   Westland Wessex takes on SAR role. 

RAF assist in evacuation of civilians from Cambodia

June 1975   Comet retired from service
October 1975   RAF assist in evacuation from Angola.
November 1975   RAF take over defence of Belize (formerly British Honduras)
December 1975   Bristol Britannia retired from service.
March 1976   NEAF disbanded
April 1976   1 - RAF Gan in the Indian Ocean closed

Vickers Varsity retired from service.

September 1976   Short Belfast retired from service
June 1977   RAF Support Command formed by merging Support Command and Training Command. 

Handley Page Hastings withdrawn from service

July 1977   29 - Queen's Silver Jubilee Review at RAF Finningley.
December 1977   Westland Sea King HAR Mk 3 entered service
Jan 1978  
October 1978   Canberras of No 13 Sqn left Malta becoming the last RAF unit to be based on the island
Jan 1979  
Jan 1980  

This page was last updated on 08/06/17 using FrontPage 2003 

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