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Cap/ Hat Badges

Regiment Type:





Anodised Aluminium


Royal Air Force



Tomo & Val's Collectables

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Womens Royal Air Force (WRAF) Hat Badge 


This Sale is for the sew-on Hat Badge as formerly worn by the Womens Royal Air Force (WRAF).

Brand new and unissued, anodised (staybrite) sew-on Hat Badge, in an all gold finish. In it's original bag of issue.

NSN: 22H 1271523


Guaranteed new and unissued, in mint condition.


Brief History of the Royal Air Force

The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the air arm of the British Armed Forces and is the oldest independent Air Force in the world. Formed on 1 April, 1918, the RAF has taken a significant role in British military history ever since, playing a large part in World War II and in more recent conflicts. The RAF operates almost 1,100 aircraft and, as of 31 March, 2008, had a projected trained strength of 41,440 Regular personnel. The majority of the RAF's aircraft and personnel are based in the United Kingdom with many others serving on operations (principally Iraq, Afghanistan, Middle East, Balkans, and South Atlantic) or at long-established overseas bases (notably the Falkland Islands, Qatar, Germany, Cyprus, and Gibraltar).


The RAF's mission is to support the objectives of the British Ministry of Defence (MoD), which are to "provide the capabilities needed: to ensure the security and defence of the United Kingdom and overseas territories, including against terrorism; to support the Government’s foreign policy objectives particularly in promoting international peace and security."

The RAF's own mission statement reads as thus, to provide (paraphrase) "An agile, adaptable and capable Air Force that, person for person, is second to none, and that makes a decisive air power contribution in support of the UK Defence Mission." 

The above statement goes hand in hand with the RAF's definition of Air Power, the concept that guides the RAF strategy. Air Power is defined as thus "The ability to project military force in air or space by or from a platform or missile operating above the surface of the earth. Air platforms are defined as any aircraft, helicopter or unmanned air vehicle."



Airco DH.9

While the British were not the first to make use of heavier-than-air Military Aircraft, the RAF is the world's oldest independent Air Force of any significant size and the first Air Force to become independent of Army or Navy control. It was founded on 1 April, 1918, during the First World War, by the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. After the war, the service was drastically cut and its inter-war years were relatively quiet, with the RAF taking responsibility for the control of Iraq and executing a number of minor actions in other parts of the British Empire.

The RAF underwent rapid expansion prior to and during the Second World War. Under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan of December 1939, the Air Forces of British Commonwealth countries trained and formed "Article XV squadrons" for service with RAF formations. Many individual personnel from these countries, and exiles from occupied Europe, also served with RAF squadrons.

In the Battle of Britain, in the late summer of 1940, the RAF defended the skies over Britain against the German Luftwaffe, helping foil Hitler's plans for an invasion of the United Kingdom, and prompting Prime Minister Winston Churchill to say in the House of Commons on 20 August, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few".

Distinctive shape of the Spitfire which played a part in the Battle of Britain.

The largest RAF effort during the war was the strategic bombing campaign against Germany by Bomber Command. While RAF bombing of Germany began almost immediately upon the outbreak of war, under the leadership of Air Chief Marshal Harris, these attacks became increasingly devastating from 1942 onward as new technology and greater numbers of superior aircraft became available. The RAF adopted night-time area bombing on German cities such as Hamburg and Dresden, and developed precision bombing techniques for specific operations, such as the "Dambusters" raid by No. 617 Squadron, or the Amiens prison raid known as Operation Jericho.

During the Cold War years the main role of the RAF was the defence of the continent of Europe against potential attack by the Soviet Union, including holding the UK's nuclear deterrent for a number of years.

The Avro Vulcan was a Strategic Bomber used during the Cold War to carry conventional and Nuclear Bombs.

After the Cold War, the RAF was involved in several large scale operations, including the Kosovo War, the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The RAF celebrated its 90th birthday with a flypast of the Red Arrows and four Typhoons over many RAF Stations and Central London on 1 April, 2008.


Royal Air Force
ComponentsAir Force Board
Air Command
1 Group
2 Group
22 Group

The professional head of the RAF is the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford. The CAS heads the Air Force Board, which is a committee of the Defence Council. The Air Force Board is the management board of the RAF and consists of the Commander-in-Chief of Air Command, together with several other high ranking Officers. The CAS also has a deputy known as the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (ACAS); this post is held by Air Vice-Marshal Edward Stringer CBE MA BEng RAF.


Authority is delegated from the Air Force Board to the RAF's Commands. While there were once individual Commands responsible for Bombers, Fighters, Training, etc, only one Command now exists:

  • Air Command Headquarters at RAF High Wycombe — responsible for the operation of all of the RAF.


Groups are the subdivisions of operational Commands; these are responsible for certain types of operation or for operations in limited geographical areas. As from 1 April, 2007, three Groups exist: 

  • 1 Group (the Air Combat Group): controls the RAF's combat fast Jet Aircraft and the following Stations: RAF Odiham, RAF Benson, RAF Leeming, RAF Coningsby, RAF Leuchars, RAF Wittering, RAF Cottesmore, RAF Marham and RAF Lossiemouth in the UK in addition to RAF Unit Goose Bay in Canada, which is used extensively as an operational training base. The RAF's electronic warfare tactics range at RAF Spadeadam in Cumbria, is also within its sphere of responsibility.
  • 2 Group (the Air Combat Support Group): controls the Strategic and Tactical Air Transport Aircraft, the RAF Regiment, the RAF's air-to-air refuelling Aircraft as well as Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) and Search and Rescue assets.
  • 22 Group: responsible for recruiting, personnel management and training.

In addition, No. 83 Group RAF, under the command of the Permanent Joint Headquarters, is active in the Middle East, supporting operations over Iraq and Afghanistan. 


An RAF Station is ordinarily subordinate to a Group and it is administratively sub-divided into Wings. Since the mid to late 1930s RAF Stations have controlled a number of Flying Squadrons or other units at one location by means of a Station Headquarters. 


A Wing is either a sub-division of a Group acting independently or an administrative sub-division of an RAF Station.

Independent Wings are a grouping of two or more Squadrons, either Flying Squadrons or Ground Support Squadrons. In former times, numbered Flying Wings have existed, but more recently they have only been created when required. For example during Operation Telic, Tornado Wings were formed to operate from Ali Al Salem and Al Udeid Air Bases; each of these were made up of Aircraft and Crews from several Squadrons.

Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
  • Royal Auxiliary Air Force
  • RAF Regiment
  • RAF Volunteer Reserve
  • RAF Police
Air Command
No. 1 Group
No. 2 Group
No. 22 Group

On 31 March, 2006, the RAF formed nine Expeditionary Air Wings (EAWs) in order to support operations. They have been established at the nine main operating bases; RAF Coningsby, RAF Cottesmore, RAF Kinloss, RAF Leeming, RAF Leuchars, RAF Lossiemouth, RAF Lyneham, RAF Marham and RAF Waddington numbered Nos 121, 122, 325, 135, 125, 140, 38, 138 and 34 EAWs respectively. These units are commanded by a Group Captain who is also the parent unit's Station Commander. The EAW comprises the non-formed unit elements of the Station that are required to support a deployed operating base, i.e. the Command and Control, Logistics and Administration functions amongst others. They are designed to be flexible and quickly adaptable for differing operations. They are independent of Flying Squadrons, Air Combat Support Units (ACSU) and Air Combat Service Support Units (ACSSU) who are attached to the EAW depending on the task it has been assigned.


Phased Array Ballistic Missile Early Warning System at RAF Fylingdales. 

A Wing is also an administrative sub-division of an RAF Station. Historically, for a Flying Station these were normally Operations Wing, Engineering Wing and Administration Wing and each Wing was commanded by an Officer of Wing Commander rank. Early in the 21st century, the model changed, with Engineering Wing typically being split into Forward Support Wing and Depth Support Wing, while Administration Wing was redesignated Base Support Wing. 


A Flying Squadron is an Aircraft unit which carries out the primary tasks of the RAF. RAF Squadrons are somewhat analogous to the Regiments of the British Army in that they have histories and traditions going back to their formation, regardless of where they are based, which aircraft they are operating, etc. They can be awarded Standards and Battle Honours for meritorious service. Whilst every Squadron is different, most Flying Squadrons are commanded by a Wing Commander and, for a fast-jet Squadron, have an establishment of around 100 personnel and 12 aircraft, but 16 aircraft for Tornado F3 Squadrons.

The term Squadron can be used to refer to a sub-unit of an Administrative Wing or small RAF Station, e.g. Air Traffic Control Squadron, Personnel Management Squadron etc. There are also Ground Support Squadrons, e.g.No 2 (Mechanical Transport) Squadron which is located at RAF Wittering. Administrative squadrons are normally commanded by a Squadron Leader. 


A Flight is a sub-division of a Squadron. Flying Squadrons are often divided into two Flights, eg "A" and "B" each under the command of a Squadron Leader; Administrative Squadrons on a Station are also divided into Flights and these Flights are commanded by a junior Officer, often a Flight Lieutenant.

Due to their small size, there are several flying units formed as Flights rather than Squadrons. For example No. 1435 Flight is based at RAF Mount Pleasant in the Falkland Islands, maintaining Air Defence cover with four Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft. 

RAF Personnel

In 2007 the RAF employed 40,370 active duty personnel, 1,450 RAF Volunteer Reserves and 3,400 regular reservists. At its height (1944) during the Second World War, in excess of 1,100,000 personnel were serving at any one time.

The oldest founding member of the RAF who died on 18th July 2009 (aged 113 years, 42 days) was Henry Allingham.


A Tornado WSO of No. 12 Squadron


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 32-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 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.

Other ranks

Other ranks attend the Recruit Training Squadron at RAF Halton for basic training, with the exception of the RAF Regiment, which trains its recruits at RAF Honington.

The titles and insignia of other ranks in the RAF was based on that of the Army, with some alterations in terminology. Over the years, this structure has seen significant changes, for example there was once a separate system for those in technical trades and the ranks of Chief Technician and Junior Technician continue to be held only by personnel in technical trades. RAF other ranks fall into four categories: Warrant Officers, Senior Non-Commissioned Officers, Junior Non-Commissioned Officers and Airmen. 

Branches and Trades 

  • RAF Pilots and Weapon Systems Officers (WSO) (formerly known as Navigators) are commissioned Officers of the Flying Branch. i.e. Fg(P) or Fg(WSO). Formerly in the General Duties branch, which is now reserved for Wing Commanders and above from any previous branch.
  • Non-commissioned (NCO) Aircrew known as Weapons System Operators (WSOp), fulfil the specialist roles of Air Engineer (E), Air Electronics Operator (AEOp), Air Loadmaster (ALM) and Air Signaller (S). Though they are now known collectively as Weapon Systems Operators, individual trade specialisations remain. Commissioned Officer specialists are promoted from within branch to become Fg(WSO).

The majority of the members of the RAF serve in support roles on the ground.

  • Engineering Officers and technicians are employed to maintain and repair the equipment used by the RAF. This includes routine preparation for flight and maintenance on aircraft, arming aircraft with weapons, as well as deeper level repair work on aircraft systems, IT systems, ground based radar, vehicles, ground support equipment, etc.
  • RAF Flight Operations Officers are involved with the planning and co-ordination of all Flying Operations. Flight Operations Officers can be found in every RAF Flying Station and Squadron.
  • The RAF Regiment is the RAF's Infantry unit, its Officers and Gunners defend RAF airfields from attack. The RAF Regiment is also responsible for CBRN defence and training the rest of the RAF in ground defence.
  • Aerospace Battle Managers (formally Fighter Controllers/FC) and Air Traffic Controllers (ATC), control RAF and NATO aircraft from the ground. The FC control the interception of enemy aircraft while the ATC provide air traffic services at RAF stations and to the majority of en-route military aircraft in UK airspace.
  • RAF Intelligence Officers and Intelligence Analysts support all operational activities by providing timely and accurate indicators and warnings. They conduct detailed all source Military intelligence fusion and analysis by utilising classified and open source information including imagery, human and communications (signals) intelligence. Intelligence is used to inform commanders of the assessed capabilities and intentions of the enemy for strategic / operational planning and targeting. They also tailor the information to brief aircrews for mission planning and other tactical units (such as RAF Regiment) for Force Protection.
  • RAF Medical Branch provides healthcare at home and on deployed operations, including aeromedical evacuation services. Medical officers are the doctors of the RAF and have specialist expertise in aviation medicine to support aircrew and their protective equipment. Medical officers can go on aeromedical evacuations, providing vital assistance on search-and-rescue missions or emergency relief flights worldwide. RAF Medical Officers are either based in primary care on operations or on RAF stations in the UK or in one of six Ministry of Defence Hospital Units (MDHU's) around the UK as specialist practitioners.
  • Administrative Officers and associated Pers Admin trades are involved with human resources management, training management, physical education, catering, infrastructure management, accounts, dress and discipline, personnel and recruitment.
  • RAF Chaplains Branch provides spiritual and moral support for RAF personnel and their families.
  • RAF Legal Branch provides legal advice on discipline / criminal law and operations law.
  • RAF Police are the military police of the RAF.


  • Royal Auxiliary Air Force (RAuxAF) and RAF Volunteer Reserve personnel fulfil a number of specialist roles in ground roles, including Operations, Intelligence and RAF Regiment in support of the regular RAF.
  • RAF Volunteer Reserve (Training) are responsible for the management and operation of the Air Training Corps, Combined Cadet Force RAF Sections (CCF(RAF)), Volunteer Gliding Squadrons, Air Experience Flights, University Air Squadron and the Defence Technical Undergraduate Scheme. 

Specialist Training and Education

The Royal Air Force operates several units and centers for the provision of non-generic training and education. These include the Royal Air Force Leadership Centre and the Royal Air Force Centre for Air Power Studies, both based at RAF Cranwell, and the Air Warfare Centre, based at RAF Waddington and RAF Cranwell. NCO training and developmental courses occur at RAF Halton and officer courses occur at the Joint Services Command and Staff College at Shrivenham. 


The code which follows each aircraft's name describes the role of the variant. 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

Tornado GR4

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 RAF has five operational Tornado units, with 9 Squadron, 31 Squadron and 2 Squadron based at RAF Marham. RAF Lossiemouth is home to No. 12 Squadron RAF with 617 Squadron 'Dambusters' and the reserve 15 Squadron.

The Tornado was previously supplemented by the Harrier GR7/GR9 in the strike and close air support roles, and to counter enemy air defences. The Harrier fleet was withdrawn in December 2010 following the Strategic Defence and Security Review; the Tornado GR4 is due to retire in 2019 and be replaced by the Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35 Lightning II.


Harrier GR7

The Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4f, has from June 2008 achieved the required standard for multi-role operational deployment.


Air defence and airborne early warning aircraft

Tornado F3

Eurofighter Typhoon F2 

The Eurofighter Typhoon F2/FGR4 is the RAF's only air defence fighter aircraft, with a total of six squadrons based across RAF Leuchars and RAF Coningsby, following the retirement of the Panavia Tornado F3 in late March 2011. Their task is to defend UK 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 RAF has four front-line and two reserve Typhoon units; 3 Squadron, 11 Squadron, 17 Squadron (Operational Evaluation Unit) and 29 Squadron (Operational Conversion Unit) based at RAF Coningsby, with 6 Squadron and 1 Squadron based at RAF Leuchars.

The Sentry AEW1, based at RAF Waddington, provides airborne early warning to detect incoming enemy aircraft and to co-ordinate the aerial battlefield.

 Sentry AEW1

Reconnaissance aircraft

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

The new Sentinel R1 (also know as ASTORAirborne 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. 


Ten MQ-9 Reaper Unmanned aerial vehicles have been purchased to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are operated by No. 39 Squadron RAF based at Creech Air Force Base and 13 Squadron at RAF Waddington.

Three Britten-Norman Islanders are operated by the Station Flight of RAF Northolt, involved in "photographic mapping and light communications roles"

Sentinel R1

Beechcraft Shadow R1

MQ-9 Reaper


Britten-Norman Islander 

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 on board 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. 

Transport and air-to-air refuelling aircraft 

The RAF operate the C-17 Globemaster III in the heavy strategic airlift role, originally leasing four from Boeing. These were purchased, followed by a fifth delivered on 7 April 2008 and a sixth delivered on 8 June 2008. The new aircraft entered frontline use within days rather than weeks. The MoD said there was "a stated departmental requirement for eight" C-17s and a seventh was subsequently ordered, to be delivered in December 2010. In February 2012 the purchase of an eighth C-17 was confirmed; the aircraft arrived at RAF Brize Norton in May 2012.

More routine, strategic airlift transport tasks are carried out by the Lockheed L-1011 TriStars and Vickers VC10s based at RAF Brize Norton, for passengers and cargo, and for air-to-air refuelling of other aircraft. These aircraft are due to be replaced by the Airbus A330 MRTT which will be known as the 'Voyager' in RAF service. The first Voyager arrived in the UK for testing at MoD Boscombe Down in April 2011, and entered service in April 2012.The Voyager received approval from the MoD on 16 May 2013 to begin air-to-air refuelling flights and made its first operational tanker flight on 20 May 2013 as part of a training sortie with Tornado GR4s. By 21 May 2013, the Voyager fleet had carried over 50,000 passengers and carried over 3,000 tons of cargo. A total of 14 Voyagers are due to form the fleet, with 9 allocated to sole RAF use. By March 2013, the VC10 fleet had been reduced to four, as more Voyagers entered service. The remaining VC10s are due to leave service in September 2013, followed by the TriStars in March 2014. As the Voyagers lack a refueling boom, the RAF has requested a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the USAF allowing the UK access to tankers equipped with refueling booms for its Boeing RC-135W Airseeker SIGINT 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 Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. All C-130s will be withdrawn by 2022.

No. 32 (The Royal) Squadron replaced the Queen's Flight in 1995 and operate the BAe 125 CC3, Agusta A109 and BAe 146 CC2 in the general air transport and VIP transport roles. The squadron is based at RAF Northolt in west London. Aircraft operate with a priority for military needs over VIP transport. Two additional BAe 146s were purchased in March 2012 from TNT Airways and were refitted by Hawker Beechcraft on behalf of BAE Systems for tactical freight and personnel transport use. The aircraft, designated as the BAe 146 C Mk 3, arrived in Afghanistan in April 2013.

C-17 Globemaster III

Hercules C5 (C-130J) 


 TriStar KC1

 VC10 C1K

BAe 146 CC2 



BAe 125 CC3

Agusta Westland AW109E  

Airbus Voyager


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 Sqn and 202 Sqn with the Sea King HAR.3/HAR3A in the UK and 84 Sqn 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 at sea, on mountains 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 (Reserve) 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.


Training aircraft

BAE Hawk

Short Tucano Training Aircraft in display colours

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 and basic pilot training for air cadets.

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 until the decommissioning of the last six Dominie T1 in January 2011.

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.

Future aircraft 

As of June 2013, the RAF is planning for the introduction of the following new aircraft:

The Airbus A400M will replace the RAF's fleet of Hercules C1/C3 (C-130K) transport aircraft. Originally, 25 aircraft were ordered, although the total is now 22. The A400M will be known as the Atlas in RAF service.

Three Boeing RC-135W Rivet Joint have been ordered to replace the Nimrod R1 fleet in the signals intelligence role in 2014. The Nimrod fleet was retired in 2011, and the RAF will share signals aircraft of the US Air Force until the RC-135s enter service. 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 the Second World War. In RAF service, they will be known as the Airseeker.

The F-35B Lightning II is intended to enter service around 2020 under the Joint Combat Aircraft programme. Although the Short Take Off Vertical Landing (STOVL) F-35B version had been selected initially, in October 2010, David Cameron announced that the UK would change their order to the F-35C CATOBAR carrier variant for both the RAF and Navy, citing greater range and the ability to carry a larger and more diverse payload than the F-35B. However, in May 2012, it was announced that the UK government had reverted to the previous government's plan to operate the F-35B STOVL variant, due to rising estimated shipbuilding costs associated with the F-35C, and an earlier estimated in-service date for the F-35B. On 19 July 2012 the Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, in a speech in the USA, indicated that the UK would initially receive 48 F-35B and would announce at a later date what the final numbers would be. Jon Thompson, MOD Permanent Secretary, told the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, in late 2012: "Our commitment over the first 10 years is for 48 F-35B."An order for the first 14 aircraft on top of the four already procured for operational test and evaluation is expected later in 2013. The F-35 is expected to replace the Eurofighter and become Britain's only manned jet fighter from 2030.

Project Taranis is a technology demonstrator programme, possibly leading to a future Strategic Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) for both ground attack and reconnaissance roles.

The BAE Mantis is another UCAV under development, with an autonomous capability, allowing it to fly itself through an entire mission. This is a potential candidate to fulfil a requirement for an ISTAR UAV to enter service after 2015 as part of the RAF's Scavenger programme.





F-35 Lightning II





Airbus A400M



Boeing RC-135W Rivet Joint





Model of Taranis

Post-war RAF deployments

Indonesia2005Support and transportRAF dispatched to South East Asia following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake disaster to provide aid relief support
Lithuania2004Baltic Air Policing4 Tornado F3 for a 3 months rotation under NATO monitoring mission
Afghanistan2001–Operation VeritasChinooks provided airlift support to coalition forces. Since late 2004 six Harriers have provided reconnaissance and close air support to the ISAF. The Harriers will be replaced by an equivalent force of Tornados GR4 in spring 2009.
Bosnia1995–Various helicoptersRAF enforced no-fly zones over the Balkans in the late 1990s and participated in the NATO interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo. Today, RAF Helicopters remain to provide support to the United Nations.
Middle East1990–VariousRAF Fighters based in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait prior to and during the 1990 Gulf War, and later to enforce no-fly zones over Iraq. Following the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the occupation of southern Iraq by British Forces, the RAF is deployed at Basra. SH is provided in Iraq by Merlin, Puma and Chinook.
Falkland Islands1984–RAF Mount PleasantBuilt after the Falklands War to allow a Fighter and Transport facility on the islands, and to strengthen the defence capacity of the British Forces. A detachment of RAF Regiment provides anti-aircraft support.
Ascension Island1981–Ascension Island BaseUsed as an air bridge between the UK and the Falkland Islands. United States Air Force also stationed at this base.
Norway1960s–Bardufoss Air StationRAF Fighter and/or Helicopter Squadrons undergo winter-training here most years.
1956RAF Akrotiri
RAF Nicosia
RAF Luqa
RAF Hal Far
Operation Musketeer also known as the Suez crisis.
Kenya1953–1955RAF EastleighAnti-Mau Mau operations by Avro Lincoln Squadrons
Malaya1948–1960RAF Tengah
RAF Butterworth
Operation Firedog
West Germany1948–1949VariousOriginally Operation Knicker and Carter-Paterson became Operation Plainfare (supporting the Berlin Airlift)
Canada1940s–RAF Unit Goose Bay, CanadaRAF aircraft train in low-level tactical flying at CFB Goose Bay, a NATO Air Force Base of the Canadian Air Force.
Gibraltar1940s–RAF GibraltarNo permanently stationed aircraft. RAF aircraft, e.g. Hercules transports, make regular visits.

Symbols, flags, emblems and uniform

Royal Air Force Ensign

Queen's Colour





Following the tradition of the other British fighting services, the RAF has adopted symbols to represent it and act as a rallying point for its members.

The RAF Ensign is flown from the flagstaff on every RAF station during daylight hours. The design was approved by King George V in 1921, after much opposition from the Admiralty, who have the right to approve or veto any flag flown ashore or on board ship.

British aircraft in the early stages of the First World War carried the Union Flag as an identifying feature, however this was easy to confuse with Germany's Iron Cross motif. Therefore in October 1914 the French system of three concentric rings was adopted, with the colours reversed to a red disc surrounded by a white ring and an outer blue ring. The relative sizes of the rings have changed over the years and during World War II an outer yellow ring was added. Aircraft serving in the Far East during World War II had the red disc removed to prevent confusion with Japanese aircraft. Since the 1970s, camouflaged aircraft carry low-visibility roundels, either red and blue on dark camouflage, or washed-out pink and light blue on light colours. Most uncamouflaged Training and Transport aircraft retain the traditional red-white-blue roundel.

Badge of the Royal Air Force

The Latin motto of the RAF, "Per Ardua ad Astra", is usually translated as "Through Adversity to the Stars", but the RAF's official translation is "Through Struggle to the Stars". The choice of motto is attributed to a junior officer named J S Yule, in response to a request from a commander of the RFC, Colonel Sykes, for suggestions.

The Badge of the Royal Air Force was first used in August 1918. In heraldic terms it is: "In front of a circle inscribed with the motto Per Ardua Ad Astra and ensigned by the Imperial Crown an eagle volant and affronty Head lowered and to the sinister." It was registered at the College of Arms on 26 January, 1923. It was based on a design by a tailor at Gieves Ltd of Savile Row. Although there have been debates among airmen over the years whether the bird was originally meant to be an albatross or an eagle, the consensus is that it was always an eagle.

Since 2006 the RAF has adopted a new official logotype, shown at the bottom of this article. The logotype is used on all correspondence and publicity material, and aims to provide the service with a single, universally-recognizable brand identity.

Royal Air Forces of the Commonwealth:

  • The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) began as Australian Flying Corps, then Australian Air Force
  • The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF)
  • The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) – began as New Zealand Permanent Air Force
  • The Royal Brunei Air Force (RBAF) – began as Air Wing of the Royal Brunei Malay Regiment
  • The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) – started as Royal Flying Corps of Canada, then as Canadian Air Force
Note: In 1968 the RCAF was amalgamated with the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and Canadian Army to form initially the Canadian Armed Forces, then the Canadian Forces (CF) as the Canadian Forces Air Command

Non-Commonwealth Royal Air Forces 

  • The Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF)
  • The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNlAF)
  • The Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF)
  • The Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF)
  • The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF)
  • The Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO)  


Royal Air Force
RAF logotype
Founded1 April 1918
CountryUnited Kingdom
Size827 Aircraft
38,910 Regular and RAuxAF
33,380 Regular Reserve
Part ofBritish Armed Forces
Air Staff OfficesMOD Main Building, Whitehall
MottoLatin: Per Ardua ad Astra
"Through struggle to the Stars"
MarchRoyal Air Force March Past
Chief of the Air StaffAir Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford KCB CBE
Lord Trenchard
Lord Portal
RAF badgeRoyal Air Force Badge
RAF roundelsThe Low visibility roundel The RAF roundel
Fin flashThe RAF Fin Flash
Aircraft flown
AttackTornado GR4
Typhoon FGR4
E-3 Sentry
FighterTyphoon F2
Sea King
Griffin HAR2
Shadow R1
Sentinel R1
Tornado GR4A
King Air
Hercules C4 & C5



Other Badges and item's are also available via 'Buy it Now' from our eBay Shop. 

Buyers/Bidders!!! Please read all of the Sale/Auction listing before buying/bidding, including the section below, and note acceptable methods of Payment and Postage details (especially if you are buying/bidding from outside the UK). 
We will not be held accountable for the buyers/bidders own mistakes.


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Summary of Our Selling Policies
PaymentWe accept UK Personal Cheques, UK Postal Orders and PayPal only.

For those unable to use the above we can accept other payment arrangements, please contact us first via email to arrange.

ShippingWe ship Worldwide. Our postage rates are displayed clearly in our listings. If approached first by the buyer/bidder, we can arrange postage to suit (including insurance if required).
DeliveryShipment is normally within 1 day of Payment clearing. We ship every working day, and on Saturday morning's (except UK Public Holidays).
Refunds & ReturnsFull refund will be given up to 14 days after receipt of item, if the item is not as described in our listing. Provided the item is returned to us in it's original packaging were possible, and is undamaged.

Refund (less p&p costs) will be given if Buyer changes their own mind over purchase. Provided the item is returned to us in it's original packaging were possible, and is undamaged.

Contact UsContact can be made via Email, and we usually respond back the same day.



Business seller information

T&V Collectables

Returns policy

After receiving the item, cancel the purchase within
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14 days
Buyer pays return postage
The buyer is responsible for return postage costs.
Return policy details
Full refund will be given up to 14 days after receipt of item, if the item is not as described in our listing. Provided the item is returned to us in it's original packaging were possible, and is undamaged. Refund (less p&p costs) will be given if Buyer changes their own mind over purchase. Provided the item is returned to us in it's original packaging were possible, and is undamaged.
Most Buy It Now purchases are protected by the Distance Selling Regulations, which allow you to cancel the purchase within 14 working days after the day you receive the item. Find out more about your rights as a buyer - opens in a new window or tab and exceptions - opens in a new window or tab.

Questions and answers about this item

No questions or answers have been posted about this item.

Seller assumes all responsibility for this listing.

Postage and packaging

Item location: Essex, United Kingdom
Postage to: Worldwide
Domestic dispatch time
Will usually dispatch within same working day if paid before 16:30 BST (excludes weekends and holidays). Expected dispatch time may vary and is based on seller's order cut-off time.

Payment details

Payment method Preferred/Accepted  
Credit or debit card through PayPal
Postal order/Banker's draft
Personal cheque
Other - See seller's payment instructions

Seller's payment instructions

UK Buyers/Bidders - UK Postal Order, UK Personal Cheque or PayPal only. Non UK Buyers/Bidders - PayPal only, or contact us first via email for alternative payment arrangements. We have a policy of combining p&p whenever and werever possible, if you intend making multiple purchases do let us know in advance (if possible) and inform us when you are finished. Please wait then until we have sent you a combined invoice before making your payment.
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