Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the youngest military service of the United Kingdom; the RAF and Women's Royal Air Force were formed on 1 Apr 1918.
RAF units are both permanently and temporarily assigned to locations worldwide.
Permanent deployments include:
- UK Air Defence
- Ascension Island
- Falkland Islands
- Nevada (joint training facility in the United States of America
Major temporary operations have included:
- Operation Telic (Iraq)
- Operation Herrick (Afghanistan)
- United States Central Command, Tampa, Florida
- Sierra Leone
- Diego Garcia
- Persian Gulf
The RAF operates two series of Harrier (fighter) STOVL (short takeoff and vertical landing) aircraft, from both land and sea bases. It also uses the Tornado GR4 version of the Panavia for strike missions, and will be adopting the Eurofighter Typhoon. The Typhoon replaces the air defense variant of the Tornado, called the F2 or F3in British service, as well as the Jaguar ground support aircraft.
Tornado and Harrier aircraft can mount tactical reconnaissance pods, and the RAF increasingly uses unmanned aerial vehicles such as the MQ-9 Reaper. Other aircraft include the R1 signals intelligence and imagery intelligence variant of the BaE Systems Nimrod, as well as the Sentinel R1 synthetic aperture radar surveillance aircraft, derived from the Bomardier Global Express business jet.
- Royal Air Force, RAF Timeline 1918-1929