Royal Air Force Uniform

The Royal Air Force uniform is the standardised military dress worn by members of the Royal Air Force. The predominant colours of Royal Air Force uniforms are blue-grey and Wedgewood blue. Many Commonwealth air forces' uniforms are also based on the RAF pattern, but with nationality shoulder flashes. Cadets of the British ATC and CCF (RAF) Sections wear similar uniforms.

Official numbering

The RAF currently numbers the various uniforms which may be worn. The following table summarizes the numbering:

Number Name Notes on use
No 1 Service Dress In temperate regions.
No 2 Service Working Dress In temperate regions.
No 3 Operational Clothing Different patterns for different climates.
No 4 Interim Mess Dress For personnel without No 5 dress.
No 5 Mess Dress In temperate regions.
No 6 Service Dress In warm weather regions. In stone colour, except for 6A (full ceremonial) which is white.
No 7 Service Working Dress In warm weather regions. In stone colour.
No 8 Mess Dress In warm weather regions. Jacket in white.
No 9 RAF Music Services uniform For Directors of Music, bandmasters and musicians
No 10 RAF Music Services uniform For Directors of Music, bandmasters and musicians
No 11 RAF Music Services uniform For Directors of Music, bandmasters and musicians
No 12 Physical Training Instructor Dress Various patterns
No 13 Physical Training Instructor Dress - Parachute Jump Instructor Duties With helmet or beret
No 14 Flying Clothing Various patterns. Consists of a flight suit and optional jacket

Royal Air Force Uniform: Service dress

The RAF's service dress is worn on formal and ceremonial occasions. In temperate regions, it is the most formal uniform in use at present. It remains essentially unchanged from the service dress uniform adopted in the early 1920s. It consists of a blue-grey jacket and trousers (or skirt for female personnel). A great coat may be worn at ceremonial events when the weather is cold.

In 1947, the temperate officers' services dress jacket was altered. The lower side pockets were removed and the single slit was replaced by two hacking jacket style slits. The lower button was moved up to a position behind the belt and silk embroidery flying badges were replaced with ones in bullion embroidery. These changes were unpopular and in 1951, with the exception of the lower button move, the former uniform style was re-adopted.

Service dress takes the following forms:

  • No. 1 Service Dress, for temperate regions. Blue-grey colour.
  • No. 1A Service Dress (Ceremonial Day Dress), for temperate regions and for air officers only. As per No. 1 Service Dress. Air vice-marshals and above wear a ceremonial sash and shoulder boards. Entitled air commodores only add the ceremonial sash.
  • No. 6 Service Dress, for tropical regions. Stone colour.

Royal Air Force Uniform: Service working dress

Service working dress, officially designated Number 2 Dress, is the routine uniform worn by most RAF personnel not on operations. It is analogous to the Army's barrack dress. RAF service working dress comes in a number of variations:

  • No 2: Long sleeve shirt with jumper, tie optional
  • No 2a: Long sleeve shirt with tie, jumper not worn
  • No 2b: Short sleeve shirt without tie, jumper optional
  • No 2c: Long sleeve dark blue shirt without tie, jumper optional (certain trades only)

The RAF stable belt may be worn with all forms of service working dress.

Royal Air Force Uniform: Flying duties

Aircrew-specific uniforms are officially designated as Number 14 Dress by the RAF. Aircrew on flying duties wear an olive drab flying suit in temperate regions or a khaki flying suit in desert regions. A leather flying jacket, purchased at individual expense, may be worn with the flying suit but only while the wearer is on the ground.

Royal Air Force Uniform: Ground duties

RAF personnel either on operations, on exercise or in certain formed units wear a disruptive pattern material uniform which is essentially the same as the British Army's operational uniform. In temperate regions Combat Soldier 95 uniform is worn and in desert regions, Desert Combat Clothing is worn.

In order to distinguish RAF personnel from Army personnel, in 2006 an operational clothing identity patch was introduced with the text "ROYAL AIR FORCE" in black capitals on a green background. The patch is worn over the right chest pocket, the Desert Combat DPM dress also features this "ROYAL AIR FORCE" text but it is not mandatory to have this patch whilst operationally deployed.

Also in 2006 a 45mm squared tactical recognition flash was introduced for all personnel to wear on their operation clothing.

Royal Air Force Uniform: Mess dress

In the RAF mess dress, officially designated Number 5 dress, is worn at formal evening functions. All regular officers possess mess dress whereas warrant officers and senior non-commissioned officers wear mess dress if they choose to purchase it. The current mess dress for men consists of a high waisted blue-grey single-breasted jacket fastened at the front by a single link of two RAF buttons connected by a link clip, white marcella shirt, bow tie, waistcoat or cummerbund and blue-grey trousers. Rank, for officers, is indicated in gold braid on the lower sleeve.

The first RAF mess dress was introduced in 1920 and it featured a high waisted single-breasted blue-grey jacket which tapered to a point at the front below the waist. A blue-grey waistcoat, trousers and black shoes were also worn. Rank was indicated on shoulder boards in gold lace. This uniform was modified in 1928 when the shoes were replaced by boots and overalls with gold lace and bright blue stripes were introduced. This modified form of the uniform lasted until 1934 when it was replaced by a version similar to the current men's mess dress. The wearing of mess dress was suspended during World War II.

For women, mess dress currently consists of the same style high waisted blue-grey single-breasted jacket and white marcella shirt as men, a small bow tie and cummerbund and a straight ankle length blue-gray skirt, worn with patent-leather court shoes and barely-black tights or stockings. From the 1970s and prior to the introduction of current women's mess dress in 1996, female officers wore a royal blue "Empire line" dress made of crimplene material with a loose mandarin neck, long sleeves and an ankle length hem. Rank was indicated on a small enamelled brooch worn near the neck.

Officers serving at Scottish stations may wear the RAF tartan with their mess dress. The tartan was designed in 1988 and it was officially recognised by the Ministry of Defence in 2001. The tartan is also worn by the RAF's voluntary pipes bands, although not as part of an official RAF uniform.

RAF personnel without No 5 dress, such as airmen, junior officer cadets and some non-regular officers, wear No 1 dress with the blue shirt and tie replaced with a white marcella shirt and black bow tie should the need to wear mess dress arise. This dress pattern is officially designated Number 4 Dress and was previously known as (Interim) Mess Dress.

RAF Operation Ellamy

Operation ELLAMY is the codename for the United Kingdom participation in the 2011 military intervention in Libya. The operation is part of an international coalition aimed at enforcing a Libyan no-fly zone in accordance with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 which stipulated that "all necessary measures" shall be taken to protect civilians. UK sorties are under the operational command of the United States. The Canadian participation is Operation MOBILE and the French participation is Opération Harmattan. The coalition operation is designated by the United States Department of Defense by the code name Operation Odyssey Dawn.

The no-fly zone was proposed during the 2011 Libyan uprising to prevent government forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi from carrying out air attacks on rebel forces. Several countries have prepared to take immediate military action at a conference in Paris on 19 March, 2011.

Background to operation

The UN Security Council Resolution 1973 passed on the evening of 17 March 2011 gave a mandate to countries wishing to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya militarily. A conference involving international leaders took place in Paris on the afternoon of Saturday 19 March 2011. International military action commenced after the conference finished, with French military fighter jets being the first to participate in the operation only a few hours after the conference finished in Paris with the first shot fired at 1645 GMT against a Libyan tank.

Deployed forces

  • Royal Navy[1]
    • HMS Westminster (F237), a Type 23 frigate
    • HMS Cumberland (F85), a Type 22 frigate
      • 2 × Lynx Mk.8 helicopters
    • HMS Triumph (S93), a Trafalgar-class submarine
  • Royal Air Force
    • Joint Force Air Component Headquarters at RAF Akrotiri
    • Headquarters 906 Expeditionary Air Wing at Gioia del Colle Air Base
      • 10 × Typhoon multirole fighters from RAF Coningsby and RAF Leuchars,
      • 8 × Tornado GR4 interdictor/strike aircraft from RAF Marham
    • Headquarters 907 Expeditionary Air Wing at RAF Akrotiri
      • 3 × Sentry AEW.1 AWACS aircraft from RAF Waddington
      • A Nimrod R1 signals intelligence aircraft
      • A Sentinel R1 airborne standoff radar aircraft from RAF Waddington
      • VC10 air-to-air refuelling tankers from RAF Brize Norton
    • Force Elements Operated from UK
      • Tornado GR4 interdictor/strike aircraft from RAF Marham
      • TriStar K1 air-to-air refuelling tankers from RAF Brize Norton
  • Possible deployment of Special Forces to mark targets for aircraft

Summary of operation Ellamy

Day 1 - 19 March 2011

On the afternoon of 19 March, the Royal Navy Trafalgar-class submarine HMS Triumph fired Tomahawk cruise missiles. A combined total along with US over the day was reported by the US to be over 110 missiles. The Royal Navy also has a Type 22 frigate (HMS Cumberland) and a Type 23 frigate (HMS Westminster) engaged in a naval blockade.

David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, confirmed that British aircraft were in action over Libya on the 19th,[28] although it was the French Air Force who made the first coalition aerial presence over Libya earlier the same day.

Sentry, Sentinel and VC-10 aircraft were said to be carrying out operations from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus. The home base for the VC-10 aircraft was RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire and for the Sentinel and Sentry aircraft was RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.

On the night of 19-20 March 2011, Storm Shadow missiles were launched by Tornado GR4 aircraft. Tornados of No. 9 Squadron from RAF Marham had sortied on a 3,000 mi (4,800 km) mission to fire Storm Shadow missiles against targets in Libya. They required refuelling by British tanker aircraft three times on the outward journey and once on the return. Tristar aircraft were involved.

Day 2 - 20 March 2011

The MoD announced that Tornado and Typhoon aircraft would be deployed to the Italian Gioia del Colle Air Base.

The Trafalgar-class submarine HMS Triumph launched further Tomahawk cruise missiles at targets in Libya.

Tornados GR4s, flying from Marham, were about to attack a target but did not fire their missiles due to reports of civilians near the target.

Day 3 - 21 March 2011

The Prime Minister announced to the House of Commons on 21 March at the start of the debate on the UNSC resolution that RAF Typhoons had been deployed to an Italian airbase (Gioia del Colle) and would fly in support of the NFZ. Three Typhoons successfully conducted a mission and returned to Gioia del Colle.

Headquarters 906 Expeditionary Air Wing formed at Gioia del Colle Air Base responsible for assets forward deployed there. Headquarters 907 Expeditionary Air Wing formed at RAF Akrotiri responsible for assets forward deployed there. C-17A Globemaster and Hercules transport aircraft were also used to assist in the build up of deployed forces.

Day 4 - 22 March 2011

RAF Typhoons flew their first ever combat mission, patrolling the no-fly zone while Tornado GR4s from RAF Marham flew an armed reconnaissance sortie. The MoD reported that Royal Navy ships Triumph, Westminister and Cumberland remained in theatre for additional strikes and patrol.

Day 5 - 23 March 2011

Tornado GR4s were forwarded deployed to Gioia del Colle Air Base. In a media interview, the UK Air Component Commander, Air Vice Marshall Greg Bagwell, stated that the Libyan Air Force "no longer exists as a fighting force" and that "we have the Libyan ground forces under constant observation and we attack them whenever they threaten civilians or attack population centres."

Day 6 - 24 March 2011

Tomahawk Cruise Missiles were again fired at targets from HMS Triumph

RAF Tornado aircraft on an armed reconnaissance mission launched Brimstone missiles against Libyan armoured vehicles that were reported to be threatening the civilian population of Adjdabiya. Four T-72 tanks were destroyed in the attack by Tornados, and three by another coalition aircraft. Likely target locations had previously been identified by other Tornado aircraft equipped with RAPTOR pods.

RAF Military equipment used in operation ellamy

Combat aircraft used in Operation Ellamy

A military aircraft flying with weapons beneath its wings
Tornado GR4
Typhoon F2

Surveillance aircraft used in Operation Ellamy

Sentry AEW1
Sentinel R1
Nimrod R1

Air-to-air refuelling and military transport aircraft used in Operation Ellamy

TriStar KC1

Royal Air Force Officer Ranks

Officers hold a commission from the Sovereign, which provides the legal authority for them to issue orders to subordinates. The commission of a regular officer is granted after successfully completing the 30-week-long Initial Officer Training course at the RAF College, Cranwell, Lincolnshire. Other officers also train at RAF Cranwell, but on different courses, such as those for professionally qualified officers.

The titles and insignia of RAF officers were chiefly derived from those used by the Royal Navy, specifically the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) during World War I. For example, the rank of Squadron Leader derived its name from the RNAS rank of Squadron Commander. RAF officers fall into three categories: air officers, senior officers and junior officers.

NATO Code OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6
United Kingdom United Kingdom

RAF-MRAF-OF-10.png RAF-ACM-OF-9.png RAF-AM-OF-8.png RAF-AVM-OF-7.png RAF-Air Cdre-OF-6.png
Marshal of the Royal Air Force1 Air Chief Marshal Air Marshal Air Vice-Marshal Air Commodore
Abbreviation MRAF Air Chf Mshl or ACM Air Mshl or AM AVM Air Cdre

NATO Code OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2
United Kingdom United Kingdom

RAF-Air Cdre-OF-6.png RAF-Gp Capt-OF-5.png RAF-Wg Cdr-OF-4.png RAF-Sqn Ldr-OF-3.png RAF-Flt Lt-OF-2.png
Air Commodore Group Captain Wing Commander Squadron Leader Flight Lieutenant
Abbreviation Air Cdre Gp Capt Wg Cdr Sqn Ldr Flt Lt

NATO Code OF-1 OF(D) Student Officer
United Kingdom United Kingdom

RAF-Fg Off-OF-1.png RAF-Plt Off-OF-1.png
Flying Officer Pilot Officer
Officer Cadet or Student Officer
Abbreviation Fg Off Plt Off A/Plt Off OCdt

Royal Air Force Military Aircraft

List of military Aircraft of the Royal Air Force:
Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
Panavia Tornado United Kingdom Attack Aircraft GR4 / GR4A 136 13 and 14 squadron to be disbanded, "The RAF will retain five front line Tornado squadrons with a total fleet of 136 GR4 aircraft."
Eurofighter Typhoon United Kingdom Multirole Fighter Aircraft T1 / T1A / F2 / T3 / FGR4 64 Confirmed order of 160 airframes. (72 as of yet uncommited)
Trainer Aircraft
Bell Griffin Canada Trainer Aircraft (Helicopter) HT1 11
Beechcraft King Air B200 United States Mulit-engine Trainer Aircraft
11 One operated on behalf of Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
Eurocopter Squirrel France Trainer Aircraft (Helicopter) HT1 26
Grob Tutor Germany Trainer Aircraft T1 94
Grob Viking Germany Trainer Aircraft (Glider) T1 82
Grob Vigilant Germany Trainer Aircraft (Motor Glider) T1 65
Hawker Siddeley Hawk United Kingdom Trainer Aircraft (Advanced) T1 / T1A
Combat capable. (10 more T2s under delivery.)
Short Tucano United Kingdom Trainer Aircraft T1 93
Transport Aircraft
BAe 125 United Kingdom VIP Transport CC3 6
BAe 146 United Kingdom VIP Transport CC2 2
Britten-Norman Islander United Kingdom VIP Transport CC2 / CC2a / CC2b 3
Lockheed Hercules United States Tactical Transport C1 / C3 14 To be replaced by 22 Airbus A400M
Lockheed Hercules United States Tactical Transport C4 / C5 24
Boeing C-17A Globemaster United States Strategic Transport - 7
Lockheed TriStar United States Strategic Transport/Tanker K1 / KC1 / C2 / C2A 9 TriStars and VC10s to be replaced by 14 Airbus A330 MRTTs.
Vickers VC10 United Kingdom Strategic Transport/Tanker C1K / K3 / K4 15
Transport, Search and Rescue Helicopter
Agusta A109E Italy Transport Helicopter (VIP) - 3
Aérospatiale Puma United Kingdom Transport Helicopter (M-L) HC1 43 Licence-built as the Westland Puma
AgustaWestland Merlin United Kingdom Transport Helicopter (M-L) HC3
Acquired from Danish Air Force
Boeing Chinook United States Transport Helicopter (H-L) HC2 / HC2A
12 more on order.
Bell Griffin Canada Rescue Helicopter HAR2 4
Westland Sea King United Kingdom Rescue Helicopter HAR3

Reconnaissance and Surveillance Aircraft
Beechcraft Shadow United States Reconnaissance R1 4 One on order.
Boeing Sentry United States Airborne Early Warning AEW1 7
Diamond DA42 Twin Star Austria Surveillance - 2 One on order
General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper United States UCAV - 2 11 more to be acquired
Hawker Siddeley Nimrod United Kingdom SIGINT R1 2 To be replaced by 3 former USAF KC-135R aircraft, converted to RC-135V/W Rivet Joint standard.
Raytheon Sentinel Canada Battlefield surveillance R1 5 Will be withdrawn following cessation of required operations in Afghanistan.

British military aircraft designations generally comprise a type name followed by a mark number which includes an alphabetical rôle prefix. For example, the Tornado F3 is designated as a fighter by the 'F', and is the third variant of the type to be produced.

Strike, attack and offensive support aircraft

The mainstay of the offensive support fleet is the Tornado GR4. This supersonic aircraft can carry a wide range of weaponry, including Storm Shadow cruise missiles, laser-guided bombs and the ALARM anti-radar missile. Since June 2008, the Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 has also been capable of being deployed operationally in the air-to-ground role.

The Tornado was previously supplemented by the Harrier GR7/GR7A in the strike and close air support roles, and to counter enemy air defences. Some Harrier GR7/7A aircraft were upgraded to GR9/GR9A standard with newer avionics and more powerful Rolls-Royce Pegasus engines. The Harrier GR9 was formally accepted into RAF service in late September 2006. The Harrier fleet's farewell flights occurred on 15 December 2010 with fly pasts over numerous military bases and is now retired.

Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4
Tornado GR4

Air defence and airborne early warning aircraft

The Panavia Tornado F3 and Eurofighter Typhoon F2/FGR4 are the RAF's air defence fighter aircraft, based at RAF Leuchars and RAF Coningsby. Their task is to defend the UK’s airspace. In October 2007 it was announced that MoD Boscombe Down, RNAS Culdrose and RAF Marham would also be used as Quick Reaction Alert bases from early 2008, offering around-the-clock fighter coverage for the South and South West of UK airspace when a direct threat has been identified.

The Tornado, in service in the air defence role since the late 1980s, is being replaced by the Typhoon. As of December 2010, the RAF has three operational Typhoon units, 3 Squadron and 11 Squadron based at Coningsby, and 6 Squadron at Leuchars. The last Tornado F3 squadron, 111 Squadron at RAF Leuchars is due to disband in March 2011.

The Sentry AEW1, based at RAF Waddington, provides airborne early warning to detect incoming enemy aircraft and to co-ordinate the aerial battlefield. Both the Sentry and the Tornado F3 have been involved in recent operations including over Iraq and the Balkans.

Eurofighter Typhoon F2
Tornado F3
Sentry AEW1

Royal Air Force Reconnaissance aircraft

The Tornado GR4A is fitted with cameras and sensors in the visual, infra-red and radar ranges of the spectrum.

The Nimrod R1 provides electronic and signals intelligence. The Nimrod R1 was due to be retired from RAF service on 31st March 2011 but due to the Operation Ellamy, the UK's action over Libya the RAF will now keep the Nimrod R1 in service until at least the end of June 2011.

The new Sentinel R1 (also known as ASTOR – Airborne STand-Off Radar) provides a ground radar-surveillance platform based on the Bombardier Global Express long range business jet. These were supplemented in 2009 by four Beechcraft Shadow R1 aircraft equipped for the ISTAR role over Afghanistan.

A pair of MQ-9 Reaper Unmanned aerial vehicles have been purchased to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are operated by No. 39 Squadron RAF. More MQ-9s are in the process of being purchased.

Nimrod R1
Sentinel R1
MQ-9 Reaper

Royal Air Force Support helicopters

An important part of the work of the RAF is to support the British Army by ferrying troops and equipment at the battlefield. However, RAF helicopters are also used in a variety of other roles, including support of RAF ground units and heavy-lift support for the Royal Marines. The support helicopters are organised into the tri-service Joint Helicopter Command (JHC), along with helicopters of the British Army and Royal Navy. The only helicopters not coordinated by the JHC are the search and rescue helicopters of the RAF and RN, and those RN helicopters that are normally based onboard a ship such as a destroyer or frigate.

The large twin-rotor Chinook HC2/HC2A, based at RAF Odiham provides heavy-lift support and is supported by the Merlin HC3 and the smaller Puma HC1 medium-lift helicopters, based at RAF Benson and RAF Aldergrove.

It was announced in March 2007 that the RAF was to take delivery of six additional Merlins. The aircraft were originally ordered by Denmark and six new replacement aircraft were built for Denmark. It was also announced that eight Chinook HC3s that were in storage are being modified for the battlefield support role and available for operation from 2010.

Merlin HC3
Chinook HC2
Puma HC1

Royal Air Force Maritime patrol

Nimrod MRA4

Until it was withdrawn on 31 March 2010, the Nimrod MR2's primary role was that of Anti-Submarine Warfare and Anti-Surface Unit Warfare. It was additionally used in a Search and Rescue role, where its long range and communications facilities allowed it to co-ordinate rescues by acting as a link between rescue helicopters, ships and shore bases. It could also drop pods containing life rafts and survival supplies to people in the sea. Following its demise, the search and rescue role was adopted by the C-130 Hercules force, and the anti-submarine role by the Royal Navy. The Nimrod MR2 was to be replaced eventually by nine Nimrod MRA4 aircraft from late 2011. However the MRA4 was cancelled in the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review.

Transport and air-to-air refuelling aircraft

Having replaced the former Queen's Flight in 1995, 32 (The Royal) Squadron uses the BAe 125 CC3, Agusta A109 and BAe 146 CC2 in the VIP transport role, based at RAF Northolt, just west of London.

More routine, strategic airlift transport tasks are carried out by the TriStars and VC10s based at RAF Brize Norton, for passengers and cargo, and for air-to-air refuelling of other aircraft.

Shorter range, tactical-airlift transport is provided by the Hercules, the fleet including both older C-130K (Hercules C1/C3) and newer C-130J (Hercules C4/C5) variants, based at RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire. All C-130's will be will be withdrawn by 2022.

The RAF leased four C-17 Globemaster IIIs from Boeing to provide a heavy, strategic airlift capability. These were purchased, as well a fifth C-17, which was delivered on 7 April 2008 followed by a sixth aircraft delivered on 8 June 2008. The new aircraft entered frontline use within days rather than weeks. The MoD said "there is a stated departmental requirement for eight" C-17s and a seventh has been ordered for delivery in December 2010.

C-17 Globemaster III
Hercules C5 (C-130J)
TriStar K1
VC10 C1K
AgustaWestland AW109E

Royal Air Force Search and rescue aircraft

Sea King HAR3A

Three squadrons of helicopters exist with the primary role of military search and rescue; the rescuing of aircrew who have ejected or crash-landed their aircraft. These are 22 Squadron and 202 Squadron with the Sea King HAR.3/HAR3A in the UK and 84 Squadron with the Griffin HAR2 in Cyprus.

Although established with a primary role of military search and rescue, most of their operational missions are spent in their secondary role of conducting civil search and rescue; that is, the rescue of civilians from the sea, on mountainsides and other locations.

Both rescue roles are shared with the Sea King helicopters of the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm, while the civil search and rescue role is also shared with the helicopters of HM Coastguard.

The Operational Conversion Unit is 203 Squadron RAF based at RAF Valley equipped with the Sea King HAR3.

The related Royal Air Force Mountain Rescue Service comprises four teams of trained mountaineers stationed in the mainland United Kingdom, first established in 1943.

Royal Air Force Training aircraft

BAE Hawk

Elementary flying training is conducted on the Tutor T1. The Tutor is also used, along with the Viking T1 and Vigilant T1 gliders, to provide air experience training for air cadets and elementary flying training for trainee RAF pilots.

Basic pilot training for fixed-wing and helicopter pilots is provided on the Tucano T1 and Squirrel HT1, while weapon systems officer and weapon systems operator training is conducted in the Dominie T1.

Advanced flying training for fast-jet, helicopter and multi-engine pilots is provided using the Hawk T1, Griffin HT1 and B200 King Air respectively. At the more advanced stage in training, variants of front-line aircraft have been adapted for operational conversion of trained pilots; these include the Harrier T10 and Typhoon T1.

Royal Air Force Future aircraft

F-35 Lightning II

Airbus A400M

The RAF is planning for the introduction of new aircraft. As of October 2010, these include:

  • The Airbus A400M, of which 22 are to be used to replace the remaining Hercules C1/C3 (C-130K) transport aircraft.
  • The Hawk T2 will replace the existing Hawks in service; the newer model being more similar in equipment and performance to modern front line aircraft.
  • The ageing aerial refuelling fleet of VC10s and Tristars will be replaced with the Airbus A330 MRTT under the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft programme.
  • The F-35C Lightning II will enter service around 2020 under the Joint Combat Aircraft programme. Prior to the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review, the STOVL F-35B variant had been intended to directly replace the Harrier GR9.
  • Project Taranis is a technology demonstrator programme, possibly leading to a future Strategic Unmanned Aerial Vehicle for both ground attack and reconnaissance roles.
  • The Boeing RC-135W Rivet Joint, of which three have been ordered to replace the ageing Nimrod R1 fleet in the signals intelligence role by 2014. The aircraft will be Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker tankers converted to RC-135W standard in the most complex combined Foreign Military Sales case and co-operative support arrangement that the UK has undertaken with the United States Air Force since World War II. In RAF service, they will be known as the Airseeker.