New notice

Vale Air Marshal David Evans AC, DSO, AFC (Retired)


The Defence Strategic Update and Australian Defence Force Mission Alignment


Message from CAF – Jan 21 Postings Update


Covid-19 Update


My Next Staff College

Thanks to Richard MacNeil (son of the late Air Commodore John MacNeil – see notice below), we are fortunate to have a copy of Chapter Ten  – My Next Staff College, from John’s memoirs, Before I Forget, which John published in 2019, just before he lost his sight.   May reading John’s words about Course 18 in 1964, evoke happy memories of him, and (apart from those who had to live-in) your days at staff college.

Chapter Ten – My Next Staff College 

I have always been interested in education, my own and in the process itself, and I must say that the Air Force was not backward in that field for over my thirty-one years of service I spent over six as a student in various places, as well as about a dozen more as a trainer of others. So the posting to Canberra was not an unusual or unexpected event. 

Very soon after arriving there we took over a rented house in Downer, one of the then far northern suburbs. This house was small but much more comfortable than any of the other seven we’d had in the less than seven years since our marriage. Downer was said to be a long way out but in those days Canberra wasn’t very big and it was easy to get from A to B. Andrew, when he reached age four, started at the Cotton Street Kindergarten just around the corner so he could find his way (often) back home when he got bored. Little Richard was two and our dear little new baby Johanna Lisbeth arrived in June 1964 at the Canberra Base Hospital and we five people, plus dog Susie, settled down as another happy family in the Nation’s capital.  

The first difficulty we students with families had was the Staff College’s very silly rule that we, all men in our thirties and forties, had to “live-in” on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights. This was apparently so that we would study and discuss weighty things with one another, but what it really amounted to for many of us was some extra drinking as work was done quickly and it was still only nine p.m. and the bar was still open so we discussed things there, didn’t we? But after some months the “living-in” rule became more and more ignored and we went home in the evening. 

There were 24 of us on the course and about six or eight teachers, called Directing Staff or DS, headed by a Commandant whom we rarely saw and an Assistant Commandant who was Geoff Newstead, my acquaintance from Manby and by now a group captain and very interested in our progress he was too. The great bulk of lectures were by visitors whose names and topics I can now hardly recall. One day, though, we had a talk from a Brigadier McKay who was the Army’s Director of Operations I think. He horrified us all by saying that to him the Caribou (we’d just sent six to Vietnam) was nothing more than a three-ton truck. Well!  The only other speaker I remember was a high-up civilian intelligence person (I shan’t mention his name) who told us that there was no way China would have a nuclear weapon for years and years and probably more years. That lecture was in May 1964 and the Chinese exploded their first bomb in the October.   

We lived in four old cold huts each with seven rooms and a communal bathroom-toilet space at one end. I was lucky in that my five student colleagues in this slum were Eric Walker, Jake Newham, David Ingall, Bill Simmonds and Wally Smith. You already know something about the first four and Wal soon became a new friend. He had been an engine fitter and then a flight engineer in the RAF during the war. He then migrated to Australia, became an industrial engineer and joined the RAAF as an engineer officer. I think Wal was one of the first on our course to become a group captain which he was later as CO of our RAAF School of Technical Training. So each of us in that hut knew things others did not and we’d all had different experiences, but we cooperated well, gave helpful hints not always appreciated by the receiver, and managed to outwit our resident DS fairly often. He had the seventh room where he occasionally stayed overnight. 

It was not easy by the way to get a place on Staff College for as well as applying one had to be selected and even before that there was the Staff College Qualifying Examination, the “Q”, to be studied for in one’s own spare time. When I did the “Q” in 1960 one had to pass all three papers at the one try. One or even two passes could not be carried forward to the next attempt. For my own attempt which I sat in London there were 124 candidates and only 27 full passes.  A ridiculous arrangement which delayed or even denied some very effective and often very busy officers a place on the course which was considered a pre-requisite for promotion past squadron leader rank. The rules had changed by 1964 so that people could qualify by passing one subject at a time if need be but there was still no assistance, it was all home-study from old texts.  

A similar situation occurred with Officer Promotion Examinations, the “B” to be eligible for flight lieutenant and the “C” for the jump to squadron leader. Although the all-at-once rule did not apply to these there was no training offered, it was all done at home and in one’s spare time, and busy people and those who may have needed just a little help were often left behind. This did not change until around 1980 when Russ Law, a friend of mine from Iwakuni days and my immediate predecessor as OC Laverton (see Chapter 19) became responsible for all individual training and education in the RAAF and promptly abolished the existing system and introduced proper attendance or correspondence courses to replace the B, C and Q so that people were actually helped and mentored as they studied their profession. Well done, Russell!    

One part of the course was that we all had to prepare and give lectures. My main one was on Pakistan and so I, at least, learned a great deal about the history up to 1964 of that unhappy country. And we all had to write a thesis, really just a long essay; mine was on future national defence. The most illuminating exercise was to study and report on some recent significant event. My syndicate was Warren Stickley a pilot, Bill Longmuir an administrative officer, Alan Reid an equipment officer and myself. Our topic was the British-French-Israeli intervention in Egypt in 1956. Having been influenced by what we had been told eight years earlier we were quite astonished at what we discovered as we dived into the documents now available to us in the Staff College library and elsewhere. Our report took the form of a mock UN Court with Warren as judge and the rest of us as lawyers for three of the participants. Billy Longmuir played the Egyptian. At the end I think our fellow students and even the DS should have been convinced, as we four were, that the intervention was immoral and quite illegal as well as being a complete flop and that British-French “outrage” over America pulling the rug was ridiculous as well as spurious.   

We also went on several excursions, the one I remember most being to view the great Snowy Mountains Scheme construction. Apart from those highlights I often found the course very dull with, to me, several quite unnecessary features such as the emphasis on writing, vocabulary and even spelling. Surely students who could improve on these things could have been given individual help as they would have been in all the schools where I have taught.  

Original or unusual ideas were not encouraged. It was Bill Simmonds who first drew a broken white line down the centre of his black air force tie to signify that we were “middle-of-the –road” men. But there was one feature which really enraged me. This was that a student thought by the DS, or maybe by only a couple of DS, as not likely to complete the course satisfactorily could be told, even on the last day, that he would not be recorded as having completed the course. So no psc after their names in the Air Force List and, in those days, hardly any chance of being promoted. One can accept that someone may be punished if he or she does something criminal or very negligent, and there are laws for that, but to punish someone with many years of sometimes very distinguished service, and who has jumped many hurdles just to get to staff college, merely because he or she does not meet the expectations of a couple of DS was, I thought, iniquitous. We lost one student from our course that way and I had a couple of close friends who suffered the same fate later on but they, I’m pleased to report, stayed in the service and were promoted, So, well done those men!  

Staff College was to finish just before Christmas and we were all waiting, and hoping, for a good next posting. I can’t remember now what I was hoping for but one day I was told to report to Air Force Headquarters in Canberra. There I was interviewed by the Minister for Air, Mr. Howson, who needed to replace Alan Esler who’d had been Personal Staff Officer to various Air Ministers for four years. Alan told me that Ken Janson had already been interviewed but he had refused point-blank to take the job. So I was the next one offered up.

Vale John MacNeil

Interview with the Chief of Air Force

The Chair of the Sir Richard Williams Foundation, AIRMSHL Geoff Brown AO (Ret’d) recently interviewed the Chief of Air Force, AIRMSHL Hupfeld AO, DSC, providing a deeper understanding on Air Force Strategic Intent as well as insights into future Air Force capability development.   The interview has resulted in a three-part video series which can be viewed here.


Release of the 2020 Defence Strategic Update and 2020 Force Structure Plan

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CAF message – Commander’s Intent

2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours and Awards – Defence List


CAF and WOFF-AF Anzac Day Message





John MacNeil (Course 18, 1964)
Tom Trinder (Course 24, 1970)


RAF’s new Poseidon sub hunter flies in to thwart Russia

Call for independent DFR&DB inquiry

DFR&DB – call for independent inquiry – correspondence Ken Stone to PM – 19 Jan 20
19 January 2020 – Appeal to Prime Minister


Systems investment critical for our future defence

Australia’s F-35s – lessons from problematic purchase

Give RAAF more strike force say defence chiefs

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RAAF’s Air Power Strategist named ‘Iconic Indian Air Warrior’

Sanu Kainikara - Iconic Indian Warrior

Air Force News – 27 June 2019

Reflections by Ted Ilton – Air Force News February 2001

And a follow-up – Air Force News March 2001

The limitations of unmanned and autonomous systems in a contested environment – Defence Connect

Air Force recapitalisation and is the Air Force big enough?

CAF appointment

Independent inquiry Into Administration of DFRDB

RAAF centenary year activities
Stay in touch with the preparations for the Air Forces centenary year via the website.     Additionally, you can connect with the centenary planning team, or sign up to receive updates via email.

The AFC In The Great War 1914-1918
Along with artist Norman Clifford, RAAF Association stalwart Lance Halvorson has produced a magificent book, ‘The Australian Flying Corps in the Great War 1914-1918.

The Australian Flying Corps in the Great War 1914-1918 is a history of combat operations, technical details and training notes/summaries, unique to the history of the AFC in the war.   The history comprises ‘war diary’ experiences of squadron aircrew, maps, technical drawings and  photos, some not seen before.   They provide a comprehensive insight into squadron preparations and activities from their deployment in 1916 to their return to Australia at the war’s end.   Full details about the book, and how to obtain a copy of it are at The Australian Flying Corps In The Great War 1914-1918

RAAF KC-30A reaches major refuelling milestone
News article and video

Vale Air Vice-Marshal Fred Barnes AO, DFC, AFC

Supporting the nation’s maritime patrol and security capabilities: AIR 7000 Phase 2

F-35 parks on White House lawn

Poseidon’s first strike

US instability means time for Australian Plan B, says think tank

Drone flight from Grand Forks lands successfully in England

First trans-Atlantic drone flight is set to leave from North Dakota

Open Letter to PM 15 June 2018 re – inclusion of Com Super in the banking royal commission

DFRDB commutation

Declining fuel reserves prompts Turnbull government security review

Military superannuation video

Defence senior leadership team

RAAF accepts three more F-35As

The US Air Force’s future tech

P-8A Poseidon announced operational

RAAF chief warns of tech revolution in future conflicts

First two RAAF Pilatus PC-21s commence delivery flight to Australia

‘If you can’t talk, you can’t fight’: Compass Call planes confuse ISIS

Why Australia’s defence capability without ANZUS is greatly overrated

Minister confirms JSF and Growler will debut at Avalon Airshow

Trump and the F-35: the $600 million question

2017 Australia Day awards
Distinguished & conspicuous service awards
Military Division of the Order of Australia

Biggest US Marine Corps aircraft deployment to Australia to date

Training warriors – or not, at the USAF Academy

Implementing the new Defence Headquarters Review – update and CDF intent

Australian International Airshow 2017

Initial Operating Capability for the RAAF’s fleet of C-27J Spartan aircraft

First RAAF P-8A arrives

US Navy’s First Operational MQ-4C Triton Squadron Stands Up

Replacing the Rhino

US supersonic bombers fly over South Korea

War with China – thinking through the unthinkable

UCAS and the RAAF’s future

Defence Minister: an impossible job cut in two

Big sky above Ellsworth Air Force Base attracts visiting aircraft

ADF senior officer appointments and promotions

A strategy for Australia in space

Understanding the limits of intelligence

Farnborough 2016
Complete coverage by Defense News

Britain’s new F-35 going through its paces

F-15E Strike Eagles unable to shoot down the F-35s

F-35 airshow debut at the Leeuwarden

USAF’s top leaders mark opening of new museum hangar

US F-35 stealth fighter to make airshow debut

Canadian fighter-jet debate turns testy

Remembering our Bomber Command heroes

The US Air Force may have just built its last fighter jet

Building sovereign industrial capability for Defence

Robots on your wing: RAAF and the unmanned future

Shangri-La Dialogue: Australia failed to play full role in vital maritime debate

USAF chief of staff: 40,000 to 60,000 more airmen needed

China to dispatch nuclear submarines to the Pacific

Inside the US Air Force’s Shadowy B-21 Stealth Bomber

Air Force officials call the F-35 ‘the Burger King jet’


Air Force 2017 Command Appointments


Australia’s future submarine—problems of politics


The catastrophic success of the US Air Force


RAAF seeks $1.2 billion missiles from US



Army delivers D model Chinook to the Australian War Memorial


18 April 2016 – new (replica) 79 Squadron Mk VIII Spitfire A58-492 guardian for RAAF Museum


X-47B UCAS aviation history under way

Senior officer appointments – 1 April 2016

What’s Left on the Air Force Checklist To Make F-35s Operational?

The new U.S. military bases near the South China Sea

Vintage attack planes brought out of retirement

Australia’s Finely Balanced Role In The South China Sea Dispute

“Here’s what I’ve learned so far dogfighting in the F-35”: a JSF pilot’s first-hand account

Could the F-35 be the plane for our time after all?

Japan’s first stealth fighter

Senior officer promotions and postings – 25 February 2016

US carrier strike group to South China Sea

Britain, France Agree on £1.5 Billion Plan for Combat Drone

US Air Force Unveils New B-21 Bomber

Message from the Secretary and Chief of the Defence Force: Defence White Paper

Today, (Thursday 25 February 2016) the Prime Minister and the Minister for Defence released the 2016 Defence White Paper, accompanied by the Integrated Investment Program and Defence Industry Policy Statement.

The 2016 Defence White Paper sets out the Government’s comprehensive long-term plan for Australia’s defence.

The Government has directed a new Defence strategic policy framework in the White Paper that set out what Defence must be able to achieve. The Government’s Strategic Defence Interests and three equally weighted Strategic Defence Objectives replace previous strategic guidance. We must move quickly to align our efforts with the Government’s new direction across our operational and international engagement plans.

The Government is making a significant investment in Defence. The Government will grow the Defence budget to two per cent of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product by 2020-21, increasing the Defence budget from $32.4 billion in 2016-17 to $58.7 billion in 2025-26.

This funding will enable significant investment in the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) ability to operate as a joint force and in the Defence enablers essential to maximise the force’s effectiveness. The Integrated Investment Program released with the Defence White Paper replaces the Defence Capability Plan. The Integrated Investment Program brings together, for the first time, all capability-related investments, including platforms and systems; Defence estate, such as ADF bases, facilities and training areas; information and communications technology; science and technology; and workforce elements. The Integrated Investment Program is the Government’s direction on Defence capability planning in Defence. It is not discretionary. We must ensure that we work to implement the Investment Program in full, and properly to deliver on the Government’s plans.

The Defence workforce will increase and rebalance over time to achieve the Government’s plans in the White Paper. The permanent ADF will increase to 62,400 by 2025-26. New positions will be created and existing positions will be reallocated to higher priority areas. The future Australian Public Service (APS) workforce will be maintained at 18,200. Within this workforce, 1,200 new APS positions will be created over the next ten years. The majority of new positions will be in intelligence areas, including counter-terrorism, cyber security and space-based capabilities.

The Defence Industry Policy Statement recognises the fundamental contribution that Australian industry and science and technology research organisations provide to Defence capability.

In the next month, we will provide details of the White Paper Implementation Strategy, which will be closely aligned with the First Principles Review. The Defence Committee will be accountable for delivery of the White Paper Implementation Strategy.

We encourage you to find out more about the Defence White Paper and associated documents at

Please take the time to read these documents and discuss them with your supervisors and colleagues.

ABC report – ‘RAAF to convert luxury corporate Gulfstream G550 jets into Australian military spy planes’

Principles and practice – Australian defence industry and exports
RAAFSCA guest speaker from 2014, Senator David Fawcett has kindly forwarded the linked report, released Tuesday 8 December by the Defence Sub-Committee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade.   Forwarding the report Senator Fawcett has advised that it highlights:

“the yawning gap between many elements of Defence industry policy and its implementation as experienced by Australia’s defence industry sector.

The Committee’s recommendations, if implemented, will lead to a far more strategic partnership between Defence and industry that will mean better, more affordable capability for Defence and sustainable work for industry.

The Committee’s starting point was accepting the evidence provided during this inquiry-and validated by recommendations of the First Principles Review-that elements of defence industry are essential to Australian Defence Force capability. Defence therefore has an interest, indeed an obligation to identify elements in industry that are fundamental inputs to capability (FIC) and then to use available means-including domestic procurement programs and support for exports-to enhance and sustain them.

Achieving this will need a change of culture. Defence need to move beyond their reluctance to partner with industry and develop a culture of early engagement to understand and manage risk. There needs to be an acceptance that for some complex systems, value for money may be found more often in long term partnerships than defaulting to ongoing, open competition for an off-the-shelf product or service.

The report’s recommendations should be seen as a key inputs to the implementation process of the First Principles Review, the most significant shake up of Defence Management since the Tange Reforms of 1973.”

Senator Fawcett ( has advised that he would welcome questions or comments about the report.

Delayed defence white paper key test for new minister

US bombers, tankers could rotate to Australia

Oil prices and the Syrian civil war

Australia’s opportunity to shape Air Force’s Centenary

Air Force 2021

The Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Leo Davies, AO, CSC officially launched ‘Air Force 2021’ – planning for the centenary of Air Force during a ceremony at Fairbairn on Tuesday 17 November 2015. Speaking at the event, he said it was important for the Australian community to be involved. Air Force’s vision for the centenary is a program of carefully selected events and initiatives that will honour the sacrifices and contributions of the last 100 years, demonstrate today’s highly capable force, and foreshadow our continued evolution into the future. Former Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal David Evans, AC, DSO, AFC (Ret’d), Air Commodore Catherine Roberts, CSC and two junior Airmen, Leading Aircraftwoman Emma Chapman and Leading Aircraftman Mason Gow spoke about the Air Force’s future and how it will effect them in 2021.

RAAF jets would run out of fuel just 30 days into a major conflict

Defence Force chief warns Government, Finance Department against privatising Defence Housing Australia

Defence Housing boss Peter Howman quits, stoking privatisation fears

Insiders urge Government to delay long awaited Defence White Paper

U.S. Sees ~1% Price Increase To F-35s If Canada Drops Out

Canada’s new leader to pull planes from anti-Islamic State coalition

Pearl Harbour welcomes the Swamp Ghost
(Note reference to the role of the RAAF helicopter!)

First RAAF F-35A – KC-30A refuel
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has completed the first fuel transfer with the air refuelling boom from a RAAF KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) to a US Air Force (USAF) F-35A Joint Strike Fighter at Edwards Air Force Base in California. A total of 59 contacts were conducted of which five contacts transferred 43,200 pounds of fuel during the four-hour sortie.

First RAAF F-35 refuel from a RAAF KC-30

First RAAF F-35 refuel from a RAAF KC-30

Chief of the Air Force, Air Marshal Leo Davies AO CSC, described the trial as a significant step in the development of the KC-30A’s capability.
“Our KC-30A is an essential force multiplier. Mid-air refuelling is critical to ensuring global reach for our aircraft, our people and our equipment,” Air Marshal Davies said.
“Refuelling between the KC-30A and F-35A is an important step towards the KC-30A’s achievement of Final Operational Capability (FOC) and represents continued progress in the development of the F-35A.
“This achievement is significant because the future of Australia’s air combat capability is reliant on the successful partnership between these two aircraft and our ability to be interoperable with our international partners,” Air Marshal Davies said.
The KC-30A has two refuelling systems – the hose-and-drogue and Advanced Refuelling Boom System (ARBS). The two different refuelling systems allow RAAF to support a wide range of coalition aircraft on Operation OKRA where a KC-30A is currently deployed to support combat operations against Daesh in Iraq and Syria.
The five KC-30As are based at RAAF Base Amberley (QLD) and Air Force will receive an additional two in 2018. A single KC-30A can carry a fuel load of more than 100 tonnes and remain 1800 kilometres from its home base with 50 tonnes of fuel available for offload, for four hours.
Australia has committed to 72 F-35As for RAAF Bases Williamtown and Tindal, with the first aircraft arriving in late 2018. The F-35A will replace the ageing F/A-18A/B Hornet with a 5th-generation networked fighter aircraft.

RAAF star rank appointments and promotion – 24 September 2015

Air Force’s next new aircraft

60 Minutes – RAAF Middle East operations

Space is seen as increasingly important to military operations

Australia to extend air operations against Daesh into Syria

Australia joins study of Tiger attack helicopter upgrade

Boeing delivers seven Australian Chinooks

Vale WGCDR Daren John Greenwood

One of our lost trails has been resolved with the sad advice from RAAFSCA member Pete Hayes (32 Course) that Wing Commander Daren Greenwood passed away at Faulconbridge in the NSW Blue Mountains on 6 November 2014.   The link above contains a dot point summary of a eulogy delivered at Daren’s funeral.

RAAF basic flying to relocate to East Sale

X-47B completes first air-to-air drone refueling

Watch Out, China: America Sends Most Advanced Bombers to Asia-Pacific

CAF address to Jericho Innovation Seminar

Boeing Rolls Out First Growler for Australia

First RAAF P-8 on track for mid-2016 first flight

Senior officer appointments and promotions

PM’s floating fighter jet plan quietly sunk by Defence


New CAF, new co-patron of the RAAF Staff College Association

AP-3C flypasthandover


C-27J arrival footage

First RAAF C-27J touches down

RAAF to acquire two additional KC-30s

Queen’s Birthday Honours 2015

Support from the sky – how will the UK replace Nimrod?

New Commander Air Mobility Group

Air Force Achievements – 2015 Q1

2015 Air Force Command Selections

First Principles Review of Defence (Ministerial Announcement)

First Principles Review Report – ‘Creating One Defence


Defence Force Service Chief appointments

Australia Day Honours 2014

Vale AVM Jim Flemming

AVM Jim Flemming passed away in Canberra on 11 Feb 15.

He joined the Air Force in 1943 and retired in 1982 .

AVM Jim was the inaugural Vice President of the Association, the ACT Representative (in the days when we had a representative from each state and territory on the Executive) and Trustee. Before the Association was formally founded in 1991 AVM Jim was on the Steering Committee established in 1990 to draw up the Constitution and develop the proposal to form an association which was put to RAAFSC graduates at the 1991 reunion.

He is survived by his wife Pat and their three children Peter, Geoffrey and Terese and their families.

Canberra Times eulogy – 18 May 15

Star rank appointments and promotions

ADF star rank appointment and promotion lists were released in December 2014 and January 2015.

F-35C Completes First Arrested Landing aboard Aircraft Carrier

Story  Video clip

Vale  ‘Ted’ ILTON

Wing Commander A.E. ‘Ted’ Ilton passed away on Saturday, 25 October 2014 on the Gold Coast, Queensland. His funeral was held on Monday, 3 November 2014.

Ted’s funeral notice in the Gold Coast Bulletin noted “Your two great loves family and the RAAF”.

Ted Ilton was a graduate of the RAAF’s No. 22 Advanced Staff Course in 1968. Amongst his fellow 22 Course graduates are current Association members AVM Ken Tuckwell (President 1996 – 2003), AIRCDRE Ted Whitehead and WGCDR Tom Johnson.

Ted sparked the genesis of our Association after his retirement from the RAAF. At one annual College reunion in 1987 he noted that attendance by graduates had fallen dramatically and he took it upon himself to remedy the issue. Ted in his usual methodical way prepared a paper in April 1989, entitled “Should an Old Boys Union be formed for Reunion Management and Other Associated Old Boy activities”.

Ted then instigated the gathering of address details of graduates – a gargantuan task. Initially he obtained from Staff College the nominal rolls for Courses No.1 (1949) to No. 42 (1988). He manually sorted these names into an alphabetical master roll as he had no electronic database functionality and after many months he had a workable nominal roll of some 1200 graduates.

At the 1990 reunion a steering committee was formed to progress the formation of an association. At the 1991 reunion the Association was founded and a constitution adopted. After some four years of intense effort Ted had achieved his aim. During this process two of our Association members, Noel Montgomery and Jim Huet, in their capacities as College Commandant, provided Ted with much assistance.   Ted was elected as the inaugural President of the Association and continued in this position until he retired from office at the 1993 AGM.

Living in Queensland Ted was not always able to attend the annual reunions in the later years but he was there in August 2001 to attend the unveiling of the Staff College memorial plaque in the Group Captain Hughie Edwards VC Memorial Park, RAAF Memorial Grove, on the Federal Highway.

Ted’s legacy is continued today with our Association being the only single Service staff college association in operation and, with graduates and DS from the joint Australian Command and Staff College now able to join, the Association continues to flourish.

Double anniversary

Russell in 1961

Russell in 1961

Our meeting on 17 Oct 14 coincided with a double anniversary for Canberra.  On this day in 1960, the Department of Air began to occupy its permanent offices at the Russell Hill Defence precinct in the national capital, a move expected to take three working days. Building No 1 was the first of four office blocks under construction on the site, and was planned to house the Air Staff and Secretariat of the Department of Air. The rest of the Department would occupy a second building scheduled for completion by May 1961. Over 200 members of staff already working in the Administrative Building in nearby Parkes began the move, along with a further 120 (being the remainder of the Air Staff and Secretariat, together with the Directorate of Works and Buildings) who transferred directly from Melbourne. Until the second building was ready, the Department remained split between Russell and Parkes (where the Air Member for Personnel and his staff were staying), and Victoria Barracks in Melbourne.   On this day in 1964, Prime Minister Menzies declared the recently filled Lake Burley Griffin as being ‘duly inaugurated’.

Australia’s First F-35A Takes to the Skies

Subsequent to the release of the above media statement, the second RAAF F-35A has also flown.   See video of the first aircraft’s maiden flight.


Our guest speaker from March this year, Senator David Fawcett has written an opinion piece regarding the Future Submarine (SEA 1000). Subsequently in the Senate he has outlined some more detailed reasons as to why Australia needs to develop the sovereign capacity and competence to manage our submarine capability and why building the submarine in Australia may be the most cost effective way to achieve it.

The text of the speech is in Hansard or if you prefer, you can watch it online.

Senator Fawcett has indicated that he would welcome any feedback you may have on his position on a sovereign submarine capacity.


14 September 2014
Prime Minister

The Government is preparing to contribute to an international coalition to counter the ISIL terrorist threat.

The Australian Defence Force will prepare and deploy to the United Arab Emirates up to eight Royal Australian Air Force F/A18 combat aircraft; an E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft; and a KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker and Transport aircraft.

In addition, the Australian Defence Force will prepare a Special Operations Task Group as military advisers that could assist Iraqi and other security forces that are taking the fight to the ISIL terrorists.

Australia will place Australian Defence Force personnel in the United States Headquarters to ensure close coordination with our alliance partner and to support planning and logistics.

We are not deploying combat troops but contributing to international efforts to prevent the humanitarian crisis from deepening.

The Government’s decision responds to a formal request from the Government of the United States to contribute specific Australian Defence Force capabilities to the international coalition.

In recent days, I have discussed the situation with President Barack Obama, with Iraq’s new Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi and with Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zaiyed of the United Arab Emirates.

These leaders share the Government’s grave concern about the situation in Iraq and support Australian participation in an international coalition to disrupt and degrade ISIL’s ruthless advance.

The ISIL death cult threatens the people of Iraq, the region and the wider world.

The conflict has reached out to Australia, with at least 60 Australians fighting with ISIL and other terrorist groups and another 100 or so supporting these extremists.

This situation is as much a matter of domestic security as it is of international security.

It is right for Australia to do what it prudently and proportionately can to support international efforts to prevent the spread of ISIL, roll back its gains and alleviate suffering in Iraq.

Australia has already provided air-lift assistance to Iraq, including the movement of arms and munitions and two humanitarian aid drops to stranded people in Northern Iraq using a RAAF C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster aircraft.

I am encouraged by the strong support President Obama’s strategy has received, in particular from Iraq and many neighbouring countries, and the wider international community.

On 24 September, I will attend the United Nations Security Council to further discuss the international effort to counter ISIL.

14 September 2014

RAAF C-17A at Tirana

Boeing Delivers 4th P-8I Maritime Patrol Aircraft to India

F-35 ‘AU-1’ roll out

The latest edition of the online Australian Aviation has images of the RAAF’s first Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II being towed from the production line to the paint facility. The aircraft, dubbed AU-1 and appearing in primer colours, is due to be officially rolled out in July and delivered to the USAF’s Integrated Training Center at Luke AFB in Arizona later this year.

Move of AU-1 (Australia) from assembly line to AFF - JSF14-537


Move of AU-1 (Australia) from assembly line to AFF - JSF14-537

Queen’s Birthday Honours 2014

Star rank appointments and promotions

Appointment of new Director-General ASIO and nomination of new Australian Ambassador to NATO

New military superannuation arrangements

Defence 2014-15 Budget Slideshow

CAF message – release of 2014 Defence Force budget

2015 Air Force 06 and 05 command selection outcomes

Star rank appointments and promotions

Centenary of Military Aviation airshow photos

The Centenary of Military Aviation airshow was held at RAAF Point Cook on the first weekend of March, 2014. The Saturday of the 1st March was the 100th anniversary of the first military flight in Australia, when a Bristol Boxkite first flew from the Point Cook airfield.

The airshow, with its emphasis on historical aircraft, was a proper tribute to the many thousands of Australians who served in the RAAF, and earlier Australian military aviation formations, over the last century.

High quality display flights in a range of aircraft were performed by RAAF and guest pilots, in a range of aircraft, from the RAAF Museum’s 1914 Bristol Boxkite replica, through to contemporary RAAF aircraft.

This photoessay depicts historical RAAF aircraft, and some allied types, through to the Vietnam War era. Bristol Boxkite photos were generously provided by AIRMSHL John W. Newham AC, RAAF (Retd).

New Chief of Joint Operations



Further to the media release below, RAAF Association National President, AVM (Retd) Brent Espeland has advised that this is:

“A good result for DFRDB over 55 recipients after a long campaign. The under 55 DFRDB and MSBS recipients are next on the agenda and I anticipate a drawn out battle.
You might recall things came to a head somewhat when the half year increase was released back in 2011 – the pollies got a 3.9 percent indexation increase and the diggers a 0.1 percent increase!”

Fair Go Campaign Co-Directors,Ted Chitham & Alf Jaugietis announced that:

The Government’s FIB has been passed in the Senate today (27 March 2014). This means that the implementation for those superannuates covered by this Bill will be effective from the 1 July 2014.
ADSO thanks the Coalition Government for implementing their 2010 pledge and congratulates all, especially Sen Michael Ronaldson for championing the case, and all those who were involved in contributing to this result.
While pleased with this success, ADSO regards it as a first step to the achievement of the same fairness for those excluded from this Bill: namely, DFRB/DFRDB superannuates under aged 55 years, and MSBS members.


The Abbott Coalition Government has delivered its election promise to 57,000 military superannuants and their families.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator the Hon Michael Ronaldson, and Assistant Minister for Defence, the Hon Stuart Robert MP, today (27 March 2014) welcomed the passage of the Defence Force Retirement Benefits Legislation Amendment (Fair Indexation) Bill 2014 through the Senate, giving effect to the Government’s commitment to give veterans a fair go.

“Thursday 27 March 2014 is a day for fairness. Today, the Government fulfilled its pledge to give veterans a fair go. We made a promise and we have kept it to the letter”, Senator Ronaldson said.

“From 1 July 2015, Defence Forces Retirement Benefits scheme (DFRB) and Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits scheme (DFRDB) military superannuants aged 55 and over will have their pensions indexed in the same way as age and service pensions. The fair indexation provisions will also extend to reversionary (widow) pensioners aged 55 and over.”

“This has been a long fought campaign for equity, justice and fairness, by the entire veteran community across Australia. The Coalition promised our veterans a fair go before the 2010 and 2013 elections and now we have delivered our promise.”

Assistant Minister for Defence, the Hon Stuart Robert MP, said that from 1 July this year military superannuants and their families would benefit from the change in indexation arrangements.

“The passing of this legislation today confirms this Government’s recognition of the unique nature of military service and the sacrifices military personnel and their families make on behalf of all Australians.”

“This legislation is an investment in fairness and will ensure the purchasing power of DFRB and DFRDB military superannuation pensions is maintained.”

“By passing this legislation today, veterans and their families have finally been delivered the fair go that they deserve, and that they were promised”, Senator Ronaldson and Mr Robert said.

P-8 Poseidons for the RAAF

The US Air Force for Dummies –  Part II

The debate continues!

Australia Day Honours 2014

The US Air Force for Dummies – Part I

The above link contains some elementary but well reasoned arguments for an independent air force.   The argument rebutted by the article is also linked within the article.


Original RAAFSCA Plaque at the RAAF Museum

Thanks to the good offices of GPCAPT Peter “Norf” Norford, (then Chief of Staff at ACSC), the RAAF Staff College Association’s original plaque is now at the RAAF Museum where it will be refurbished and displayed for all to admire.    Watch this space for further news about the grand reveal!

2013 White Paper media release

CAF Message – CFS 100

Joint Strike Fighter Reporting

Further reporting on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and a link to the ABC Four Corners report on  iView is at:

Asian arms race may leave us behind

Minister for Defence and Minister for Defence Materiel – Joint Media Release – Australia’s future Air Combat Capability

RAAF Staff College Association Plaque

The photos below show progress with the refurbishment of the Association’s plaque at the RAAF Remembrance Driveway Memorial (the Hughie Edwards VC Memorial Grove), on the outskirts of Canberra. Despite the best efforts of the Executive, the original plaque had deteriorated badly.   With financial assistance from Lockheed Martin Australia Limited, WGCDR Ted Ilton, the founding Association President, a number of Association members, and  the estate of the late WGCDR Mervyn Heinrich, the Association commissioned a new bronze plaque. The new plaque, with plain relief lettering and badges, was installed by GPCAPT Arthur Skimin.   The original plaque has been offered to the RAAF Museum for safekeeping.

Original RAAF Staff College Association plaque
13 Sep 10

New RAAF Staff College Association plaque
17 Mar 12