RAF

RAF Regiment: All You Need To Know

The corps was founded during World War Two, with the aim of giving Royal Air Force commanders control over the defence of their own assets.

The RAF Regiment is a specialist corps that provides the ground fighting force to enable and support air operations.

The regiment contributes to the defence of Royal Air Force airfields in the UK and overseas 

It was founded by Royal Warrant in 1942, with the purpose of giving RAF commanders control over the defence of their own assets.

It allowed overstretched British Army units to redeploy elsewhere during the Second World War.

The regiment's motto is 'Per Ardua', which translates as 'Through Adversity'.

The RAF Regiment has seven regular and six reserve squadrons organised into seven wings.

In addition, the RAF Regiment provides Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) to the British Army and Royal Marines and provides a flight-sized commitment to the Special Forces Support Group.

An Army instructor teaching men of the newly-formed RAF Aerodrome Defence Corps (RAF Regiment) on the Thompson sub-machine gun at Whitley Bay, Northumberland, in 1942 (Picture: MOD).

All of its members are initially trained as combat infantry personnel, with RAF Regiment gunners specialising in infantry tactics, weaponry, fieldcraft and force protection.

Its officers, meanwhile, specialise in ground combat tactics and leading squadrons.

Today, the corps carries out the in-depth defence of airfields by patrolling large areas of operations in often hostile environments, as well as Non-Combatant Evacuation Operations (NEO) and recoveries of downed aircrew (Joint Personnel Recovery – JPR).

There are six Force Protection Wings based across the UK.

Two of the wings are designated as the lead part of the Joint Expeditionary Force and are focused on RAF Police and RAF Regiment expeditionary capability inclusive of Armoured Vehicles (Wheeled) and Military Working Dogs.

The second Joint Expeditionary Force Wing also delivers RAF Ceremonial and Joint Terminal Attack Controller capability.

The four Multirole Force Protection Wings are tasked with providing a particular aircraft type or role with the necessary defence.

The Multirole Wings are responsible for a geographic security region with the home base as well as being the units of choice to deploy alongside their aligned aircraft types.

1 Sqn RAF Regiment practising vehicle drills in the Omani desert in 2018 (Picture: MOD).

In 1982, 63 Squadron deployed in support of the Falklands conflict, where they provided air defence for the San Carlos airhead.

RAF Regiment Rapier missile squadrons continued to provide air defence for RAF assets assigned to the Falklands until 2008.

In Operation Granby during the First Gulf War, the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, the corps contributed 19% of the total RAF force in theatre, with some units advancing into Kuwait with the lead elements of Allied forces.

It was the largest deployment of RAF Regiment personnel since the end of the Second World War. 

In recent years the RAF Regiment has also been involved in operations in the Balkans, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan, as well as maintaining Force Protection for RAF assets deployed in the Middle East.

A year ago, history was made as the RAF Regiment's first female gunner graduated at RAF Honington.

Cover image: RAF Regiment parading at Armed Forces Day in Liverpool, 2017 (Picture: MOD).