Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

Home Page

Main Menu

Quick Menu

Members' Area

What New?

About this site


Help Needed?



Sign Guest Book

View Guest Book

Link to Amazon

Online Store

Contact Me

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.

Jan 1983  
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 Change'. 

Boeing Sentry AEW Mk 1 entered service (still on trials controlled by Boeing)

August 1990   2 - Iraq invades Kuwait. 

11 - RAF begin Operation 'Granby'

January 1991  

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
Jan 93  
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.

January 1995  
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'
Jan 1997  
April 1997   Defence Helicopter School formed at RAF Shawbury.
Jan 1998  
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.
January 1999  
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
January 2000  
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
January 2001  
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.
January 2002  
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.
January 2003  
March 2003   20 - Operation 'Telic', begun against Iraq
April 2003   1 - First deployment by Merlins of No 28 Squadron.

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
January 2004  


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 Jetstreams

Air Guided Weapons Operational Evaluation Unit at RAF Valley closed.

April 2004   1 - No 5 (AC) Squadron reformed at RAF Waddington.

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

January 2005  
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.
January 2006  
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
January 2009  

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
January 2011  

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

[Top of Page]

Back to 1961 - 1980   Back to 1961 - 1980