Air Force heritage

The roots of the Royal Australian Air Force extend back to the early days of aviation, and we have made important contributions to defence and peacekeeping initiatives across the globe ever since.

The Defence Values

Personnel in each of the three services live the Defence Values, also known as ‘Our Values’ which underpin everything they do.


The selflessness of character to place the security and interests of our nation and its people ahead of my own.


The strength of character to say and do the right thing, always, especially in the face of adversity.


The humanity of character to value others and treat them with dignity.


The consistency of character to align my thoughts, words and actions to do what is right.


The willingness of character to strive each day to be the best I can be, both professionally and personally.

To live Our Values, our people will:
  • Act with purpose for Defence and the nation;
  • Be adaptable, innovative and agile;
  • Collaborate and be team-focused;
  • Be accountable and trustworthy;
  • Reflect, learn and improve; and
  • Be inclusive and value others.

Over a century of loyal service

The Australian Air Force is the second-oldest independent air force in the world, and one of the most respected. From reconnaissance work in World War 1 to today's national defence initiatives, coalition missions and humanitarian operations, we share a proud tradition of service to Australia, our interests, and our allies.

  • 1914 - 1918: World War I
  • 1921: Australian Flying Corps becomes the Royal Australian Air Force
  • 1939 - 1945: World War II
  • 1948 - 1960: Malayan Emergency
  • 1950 - 1953: Korean War
  • 1955 - 1975: Vietnam War
  • 1963 - 1966: Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation
  • 2001 - present: Afghanistan
  • 2003 - 2009: Iraq

In addition to serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Air Force continues to build on its reputation for assisting with disaster-relief, and supporting peacekeeping and humanitarian missions across the world. In the past these operations have involved service in Bougainville, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Solomon Islands, Somalia and the Sudan.