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Australian Air Force Cadets facts for kids

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Australian Air Force Cadets
Crest of the Australian Air Force Cadets.png
Founded February 1941;
83 years ago
Country  Australia
Allegiance HM The King
Role Volunteer youth organisation
Size Cadets: 9,000+ (April 2023)
Number of squadrons: ~144
Adult Volunteers: ~1,200
Part of Australian Defence Force Cadets
Headquarters Headquarters Australian Air Force Cadets Building F4, level 2 28 Scherger Drive Fairbairn ACT 2610
Motto(s) Inspiring today, leading tomorrow
Director General Cadets – Air Force Air Commodore Craig Heap
Commander – Australian Air Force Cadets Group Captain (AAFC) Stephen Johns

The Australian Air Force Cadets (AAFC), known as the Air Training Corps (AIRTC) until 2001, is a Federal Government funded youth organisation. The parent force of the AAFC is the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Along with the Australian Army Cadets (AAC) and the Australian Navy Cadets (ANC), it is part of the Australian Defence Force Cadets.


AirForceCadet Trumpeter MemorialChurchService 2007
Australian Air Force Cadets wearing the long-sleeved service dress; parading at the memorial outside St John's Ashfield

The broad aim of the Australian Air Force Cadets is to better equip young people for community life by fostering initiative, leadership, discipline, and loyalty through a training program designed to stimulate an interest in the Royal Australian Air Force. The training program is structured to reflect the following objectives:

  • To give Cadets a foundation of Air Force knowledge and discipline;
  • To develop the qualities of leadership, initiative, and self-reliance;
  • To develop good character and good citizenship in the widest sense;
  • To develop an interest in the Royal Australian Air Force and aviation generally;
  • To instil a knowledge of the history of aviation; and
  • To encourage Cadets to continue an active interest in aviation into their adult life.


The AAFC, for the past few decades, had been using various versions of the Disruptive Pattern Camouflage Uniform (now replaced) in combination with the DPCU camouflage rank slide with the letters "AAFC" highlighted in blue or white to indicate a cadet or staff member. The DPCU was the standard uniform worn on weekly parades.

The Service Dress Air Force Blue (SD) uniform is the uniform worn on most ceremonial occasions. Instructor of Cadets (IOCs) and Officer of Cadets (OOCs) are permitted to wear their SDs in combination with the RAAF Tunic, Dress Jacket, or Multi-Purpose Jacket, if issued. A cadet may also choose to purchase an SD Tunic. Cadet Under Officers and Cadet Warrant Officers may wear the RAAF Peaked Cap. The headdress worn by cadets and staff consists of the Hat Fur Felt - Khaki (HFF-K). Staff are also issued a RAAF peaked cap or RAAF Garrison Cap.

From early 2021, the AAFC started to roll out the General Purpose Uniform (GPU), the current issued uniform of the RAAF. Cadets and Staff members have been issued GPUs and a RAAF multi-purpose jacket to be worn optionally with their HFF-K, Air Force Cadets baseball cap, wing baseball cap, or unit baseball cap. The AAFC stopped issuing the DPCU uniform from the start of 2021 in preparation to roll out the GPU. AAFC Personnel are issued their respective squadron patch, which typically contain a blue background with various symbols to represent the location that they are at and known for, with the exception of certain squadrons and flights.


The ranks of the Australian Air Force Cadets (AAFC) are closely based on the ranks of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). As such, a system of differentiation was required to distinguish members of the AAFC from those of the RAAF. This means that cadet ranks wear rank slides which are AFB (Air Force Blue) with an embroidered light blue ribbon, 1 cm wide at the base of the rank slide with 'AAFC' in AFB embroidery. Adult members of the AAFC wear rank slides with an embroidered white bar that contains the letters AAFC in place of the light blue bar. When DPCU uniforms became standard issue, cadets and cadet staff would wear surplus Australian RAAF and Australian Army Rank slides. These would be replaced in 2014 with the "AAFC" styled DPCU rank slide. Adult ranks are also followed by the letters AAFC (in brackets) when written, to distinguish them from actual members of the RAAF. Cadet Non-Commissioned Officer ranks are prefixed with the letter C, to identify them as cadets and not adult staff or members of the RAAF.

A new cadet is initially enrolled with the rank of Cadet and after completing prescribed training and length of service, they are eligible for reclassification to the rank of Leading Cadet. Subsequent promotions are achieved by completing two week training courses known as a promotion courses along with meeting time-in-rank and minimum age requirements and receiving a recommendation for promotion from the cadet's Commanding Officer.

CDT 9 (Special Grade) CDT 8 CDT 7 CDT 6 CDT 5 CDT 4 CDT 3 CDT 2 CDT 1 CDT (R)
Crest of the Australian Air Force Cadets.png
Air Force

No equivalent Rankslide AAFC CUO.jpg Rankslide AAFC CWOFF.jpg Rankslide AAFC CFSGT.jpg Rankslide AAFC CSGT.jpg Rankslide AAFC CCPL.jpg No equivalent Rankslide AAFC LCDT.jpg Rankslide AAFC CDT.jpg No insignia
Cadet Under Officer Cadet Warrant Officer Cadet Flight Sergeant Cadet Sergeant Cadet Corporal Leading Cadet Cadet Cadet Recruit
  • Recruit (RCT) is not an official rank, but commonly refers to new cadets who have been enrolled but have not yet finished "Recruit Stage" Training.
Instructor Ranks of the AAFC (Instructor of Cadets – IOC)
Insignia Rankslide AAFC WOFF.jpg Rankslide AAFC FSGT.jpg Rankslide AAFC SGT.jpg Rankslide AAFC CPL.jpg Rankslide AAFC LAC.jpg Rankslide AAFC AC.jpg
Rank Warrant Officer (AAFC) Flight Sergeant (AAFC) Sergeant (AAFC) Corporal (AAFC) Leading Aircraftman
Leading Aircraftwoman (AAFC)
Aircraftwoman (AAFC)
Officer Ranks of the AAFC (Officer of Cadets – OOC)
Insignia Rankslide AAFC GPCAPT.jpg Rankslide AAFC WGCDR.jpg Rankslide AAFC SQNLDR.jpg Rankslide AAFC FLTLT.jpg Rankslide AAFC FLGOFF.jpg Rankslide AAFC PLTOFF.jpg
Rank Group Captain (AAFC) Wing Commander (AAFC) Squadron Leader (AAFC) Flight Lieutenant (AAFC) Flying Officer (AAFC) Pilot Officer (AAFC)

Cadet Ranks

Junior Cadet Ranks

Junior ranks comprise the ranks of Cadet (CDT) and Leading Cadet (LCDT) as well as the informal title of Recruit (RCT).

Australian Air Force Cadet Blue book aafc
AAFC issued PH299 "Blue Books" prior to use of ID cards. These ceased use around 2016 in regional units. (Newer version on the left, older version on the right).

Cadets join the AAFC as recruits at the rank of Cadet (CDT) and commence Cadet Recruit Stage training which comprises the subjects Drill and Ceremonial, Service Knowledge, and Fieldcraft. Cadet Recruit Stage may include a teambuilding day or training day. Recruits receive their uniforms sometime during Cadet Recruit Stage. Cadet Recruit Stage usually takes 6 months to complete. The PH299 'blue book' (a form of identification carried at all times by cadets) has been replaced as the form of cadet & staff identification by a Photo ID card issued to all Cadets & Staff annually and using the Blue Book to record training and activities has been replaced by the online CadetNet system.

Upon completion of the Recruit Stage of training, CDTs begin Basic Stage. Basic Stage, on average, takes 6 months to fully complete. By completing Basic Stage, a cadet will begin Proficiency Stage and is eligible for reclassification to the rank of Leading Cadet (LCDT). A LCDT rank slide features a single inverted chevron.

Cadet Non-Commissioned Officer (CNCO) Ranks

Cadet Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) ranks are Cadet Corporal (CCPL), Cadet Sergeant (CSGT), Cadet Flight Sergeant (CFSGT) and Cadet Warrant Officer (CWOFF).

Cadet Junior Non-Commissioned Officer (CJNCO) Ranks

Any LCDT can apply for the Junior Non-Commissioned Officer Course. A cadet's Commanding Officer (CO) reviews the LCDT's application, and, if successful, endorses their application. This allows the LCDT to attend a Personal Development and Leadership Course (held during school holidays) conducted by their parent wing. The Junior Non-Commissioned Officer (JNCO) courses typically last for 4-7 days depending on wing, and are held at a RAAF base, depending on availability. At the end of a PDLC, the course commander grades the LCDT as either recommended or not recommended for promotion to the rank of CCPL. If recommended for promotion, a CO should promote the LCDT to the rank of CCPL as soon as practicable.

Cadet Senior Non-Commissioned Officer (CSNCO) Ranks

Any CCPL can apply for the Senior Non-Commissioned Officer Course but must have held that rank for a minimum of six months before being able to attend the Personal Development and Leadership Course. They go through much the same process, though more rigorous, as do prospective JNCOs. SNCO courses typically last for 4-7 days depending on wing, and are also held at a RAAF base, often concurrently with a JNCO course.

Promotion is as for JNCOs. Having been recommended for promotion by the course commander, promotion is at the discretion of the CCPL's CO as soon as practicable.

After six months as a CSGT, a cadet may be promoted to the rank of CFSGT by their CO. This does not require the CSGT to attend a wing PDLC. Many COs require their prospective CFSGTs to demonstrate the ability to lead a team of SNCOs. Often Cadet Flight Sergeants are treated as 'executive' members of the squadron and are given duties to match (activity planning, squadron organisation etc.), along with Cadet Warrant Officers and Cadet Under Officers; although they are still distinctly a Cadet Senior Non-Commissioned Officer.

Cadet Warrant Officers (CWOFF) and Cadet Under Officers (CUO)

The ranks of CWOFF and CUO are the 2 most senior ranks due to the large increase of duties and privileges the two ranks have.

In order to attend a CWOFF course, a cadet must be an SNCO, either a CSGT or a CFSGT at which point they get the option of getting promoted to a CWOFF or a CUO. However a CWOFF can get promoted to a CUO which is not common but still happens or vice versa a CUO can get promoted to a CWOFF which almost never happens.

The CWOFF course generally lasts for 7-9 days depending on wing, and are conducted at a RAAF base, usually at the same time as CJNCO and CSNCO courses. CWOFF courses conducted by the AAFC primarily cover leadership and supervision, particularly focusing on the maintenance of morale, cadet welfare and, discipline. Due to the role of a CWOFF often being that of the Squadron Warrant Officer, the course has a significant weighting towards drill and ceremonial and service protocol.

Cadets promoted to the rank of CWOFF are addressed as Sir, Ma'am or Warrant Officer. Cadets, staff and defence personnel of a high rank generally will address the CWOFF by their rank and last name e.g. "Warrant Officer Bloggs", whilst subordinate ranks will address the CWOFF as "Sir or Ma'am" depending on their gender and, are too also allowed to address the CWOFF as "Warrant Officer Bloggs".

In order to attend a CUO course, a cadet must be an SNCO and have completed their JNCO course not later than 16 months before the commencement of the CUO course. CUO courses typically run for 7-9 days depending on wing, and are conducted at a RAAF base, usually in conjunction with CWOFF and other promotional courses.

The rank of CUO is the highest attainable by a cadet and is designed to give the cadet experience in the role of an officer. To this end, the course is heavy in leadership and management-related subjects in addition to the drill required to be an officer.

CUOs are addressed by all cadets below their rank as Sir or Ma'am, as applicable, and are saluted.

Rank Establishments

The AAFC has specific rank establishments depending on the strength of a squadron. This is to ensure a balance between leadership roles and subordinates members (especially to prevent a top-heavy squadron developing). As an exaggerated example, it would not be beneficial for a squadron of 40 cadets to have 39 CUOs and 1 CDT, nor would it be beneficial for it to have 20 CWOFFs, 10 CFSGTs and 10 CSGTs. Rather, that squadron ought to have 2 CUOs, 2 CWOFFs, 1 CFSGT, 3 CSGTs, 5 CCPLs and around 30 LCDTs/CDTs. The general standard is 1–4 NCOs and CUOs, This is not a rule of the AAFC but is rather a recommendation made to units.

  • Squadrons may not exceed the establishment for CUO and CWOFF positions. CUO positions do not cascade down to CWOFF positions if there are vacancies in the CUO numbers.
  • Squadrons may use vacancies in CFSGT and CSGT positions to cascade down to lower ranks to permit COs the option to fill vacancies in SNCO ranks with JNCOs.
  • Vacancies in rank cannot cascade upwards at any time.
  • This means that vacant CCPL positions remain that way at all times, and, for example, a squadron with an establishment for 75 cadets that have only 3 CSGTs could not assign those positions to CUO/CWOFF/CFSGT rank but could assign them to allow for more CCPLs.
  • Since the introduction of CadetNet as the AAFC's primary management system there is no limit imposed by CEA on rank establishments however the establishment is still followed by most COs.

Cadet Phases of Training

A cadet progresses through five phases of training during their cadet career.

Insignia of Training Phases
Phase Insignia
Cadet Recruit No insignia
Basic Passing Basic will grant 1 Chevron and being Reclassified to Leading Cadet.
Proficiency Three-bladed propeller badge for wear on Service Dress
Advanced Four-bladed propeller badge for wear on Service Dress
Qualified Silver Eagle badge for wear on Service dress, replaces both Prof and Advanced badges

Propeller refers to a round gold pin with a propeller-blade symbol printed in service blue, worn centrally of the right breast pocket flap above the button.

Staff Promotion

A person may be enrolled as an Instructor of Cadets (IOC) at the age of 18 and as an Officer of Cadets (OOC) at the age of 19, though most begin their career as an IOC. However it is recommended that ex-cadets wait a minimum of 12 months before returning as a staff member.

Upon appointment as an IOC, the staff member is normally given the rank of AC/ACW(AAFC). Any new staff members who were a cadet and held the rank of Cadet Warrant Officer or Cadet Under Officer, within the last 5 years, are eligible for the rank of LAC/LACW(AAFC). Ex-ADF members may also be appointed at higher ranks than AC/ACW(AAFC), to recognise their previous rank/service in the ADF. Current ADF members may also be appointed at different ranks, as no member is permitted to have dual mess status (i.e. may only be permitted to eat/sleep in one of the Airmens' Mess, Sergeants' Mess or Officers' Mess).

  • An ADF PTE(E)-CPL(E) can only be an AAFC AC(AAFC)-CPL(AAFC)
  • An ADF SGT(E)-WO1(E) can only be an AAFC SGT(AAFC)-WOFF(AAFC)
  • An ADF officer can only be an AAFC officer
  • Since the ranks WOFF(AAFC), SQNLDR(AAFC), WGCDR(AAFC) and GPCAPT(AAFC) are not substantive ranks in the AAFC, senior airmen and senior/air officers may only be given the highest substantive rank of FSGT(AAFC) or FLTLT(AAFC) unless the member also holds a senior airmen/officer appointment.

AAFC staff members who join the ADF may have their rank changed to fit these criteria. This may include reversion in rank (e.g. PLTOFF or FSGT to CPL) or "promotion" (e.g. LAC or SGT to PLTOFF). The promotion to a commissioned officer rank is not automatic – the member is terminated as an instructor, and their application for an officer appointment is assessed. AAFC staff in the ADF do not need to have exactly the same rank in both the ADF and AAFC; their ranks are just required to adhere to the above criteria.

Promotion is less frequent than that of cadets, as there is no upper age limit for staff. The minimum time in rank requirements between promotions is three years, with the exception of promotion from AC/ACW(AAFC) to LAC/LACW(AAFC), LAC/LACW(AAFC) to CPL(AAFC) or from PLTOFF(AAFC) to FLGOFF(AAFC) in addition to other staff training requirements. The minimum time in rank requirement for AC/ACW(AAFC) to LAC/LACW(AAFC) is one year; from LAC/LACW(AAFC) to CPL(AAFC) is two years; and from PLTOFF(AAFC) to FLGOFF(AAFC) is two years; and from FLGOFF(AAFC) to FLTLT(AAFC) is three years.


Award Staff Cadet Years service Notes
Australian Cadet Forces Service Medal All ranks N/A 15 Years Continuous service Bar is awarded each five years after award
GST Completion Certificate N/A All ranks N/A Awarded after GST course completion
JNCO Completion Certificate N/A LCDT/CCPL N/A Awarded after JNCO course completion
SNCO Completion Certificate N/A CCPL/CSGT N/A Awarded after SNCO course completion
CWOFF Completion Certificate N/A CSGT/CFSGT/CWOFF N/A Awarded after CWOFF course completion
Marksmanship Badge

"Crossed Rifles"

All ranks All ranks above Cadet 1 Year service Awarded to Cadets who achieve an average score of 85% or higher at a Wing or National shooting competition.

This comes in the form of two crossed Enfields

CUO Completion Certificate N/A CSGT/CFSGT/CWOFF/CUO N/A Awarded after CUO course completion
Firearms Proficiency Badge

"Single Rifle"

All ranks All ranks N/A Awarded to Cadets who have been passed the firearms training elective (FTE) having fired at least 45 rounds
Silver Steyr Badge All ranks All ranks above Cadet N/A Awarded to Cadets who have completed the ADF F88 course
Golden Steyr Badge All ranks All ranks above Cadet N/A Awarded to Cadets who qualify as marksman on the ADF F88
Band Badge All ranks All ranks N/A Awarded to Cadets who have worked on at least 75% of official

band parades

Adventure Training Badge All ranks All ranks N/A Awarded to cadets who have completed the Adventure Training Award
Individual Proficiency badge All ranks All ranks 1 year of service, requalifying every year Awarded annually to a Cadet, OOC/IOC who meets criteria based on Personal Standard, Active Program Participation, Personal and Organisational Development and Community or Public Ceremonial Activities
First Solo Badge All ranks All ranks 2 Years service Awarded to cadets who have completed a solo flight either powered or glider
General Flying Proficiency Test Badge All ranks All ranks 2 Years service Awarded to cadets who have obtained an FAI "C" certificate for gliding
AAFC Wing Badge All ranks All ranks 2 Years service Awarded to cadets who hold a CPL or an AEI qualification for gliding
Three Bladed Prop N/A All ranks above LCDT 2 Years service Awarded to cadets who complete their proficiency stage training
Four Bladed Prop N/A All ranks above LCDT 3 Years service Awarded to cadets who complete their advanced stage training
National Badge of the AAFC All ranks All ranks N/A Any cadet may wear this
Duke of Edinburgh Bronze N/A All ranks N/A Awarded to cadets who complete the Duke of Edinburgh program and qualify for bronze
Duke of Edinburgh Silver N/A All ranks N/A Awarded to cadets who complete the Duke of Edinburgh program and qualify for silver
Duke of Edinburgh Gold N/A All ranks N/A Awarded to cadets who complete the Duke of Edinburgh program and qualify for gold


National Level


The AAFC organisation as a whole falls under the command of Headquarters AAFC (HQAAFC). HQAAFC has no physical location as it is made up of members from around the country. The only person to hold the rank of Group Captain (AAFC) (GPCAPT(AAFC)) is the Commander – Australian Air Force Cadets (CDR-AAFC). The CDR-AAFC reports to the Director General Cadets – Air Force, a member of the RAAF who holds the rank of Air Commodore, who reports to the RAAF chain of command.

Under HQAAFC are the Operational Wings and Directorates, each headed by a Wing Commander (WGCDR(AAFC)) who holds the appointment of Officer Commanding or Director respectively.

Position Abbreviation Current Incumbent
Commander – Australian Air Force Cadets CDR-AAFC GPCAPT(AAFC) Stephen Johns

In 2015 the role of Warrant Officer of the AAFC was abandoned by a majority vote of National and Wing Executive. As a result of this more than 40% of AAFC staff, being Instructors of Cadets, are no longer represented at a national level by a staff member regarded as the most senior AAFC Instructor of Cadets. Airmen within the Wings are represented by the Wing Warrant Officer.

In late 2019 it was reported that the role of Warrant Officer of the AAFC was to be restored. However, as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, this did not occur. In the interim several past Senior officers of cadets re-enlisted and were appointed at ranks that would enable them to qualify to submit an application for the role.


Directorates perform a service support function to Operational Wings. As of 1 January 2019, there are 7 Directorates under the announced Headquarters AAFC restructure.

Directorate Name Abbreviation Director
Aviation Operations Wing AOW WGCDR(AAFC) Stephen Pepper
Corporate Services Directorate CSD SQNLDR(AAFC) Jay Anthony
Diversity Directorate DIVD Vacant – Directorate directs and advises staff and cadets regarding matters related to socially diverse issues, including but not limited to LBGTQI.
Operations Directorate OPSD
People and Culture Directorate PCD WGCDR(AAFC) Darren Banfield

Cadets Branch – Air Force (CB-AF)

Position Abbreviation Incumbent
Director General Cadets – Air Force DGCADETS-AF AIRCDRE Craig Heap AM, CSC
Deputy Director General Cadets – Air Force DDGCADETS-AF
Director Ground Operations DGNDOPS GPCAPT Wayne Kelly OAM
Director Aviation Operations DAVNOPS
Director Cadet Administration DCDTADMIN WGCDR Nigel Leurs
Coordination Manager COORDMGR APS Rob West
Deputy Director General Safety Operations Airworthiness DDGSOA GPCAPT Ian Watts
National Air Force Liaison Officer NAFLO SQNLDR Trevor Murphy
National Safety Manager NSM APS Glenn Roberts
Director Logistics DLOG APS Mal Leonard

Cadets can join from when they are 12, ensuring they're turning 13 that year and must leave (age out) at the end of the calendar year they turn 18.

Operational Wings

Operational Wing Location
No. 1 Wing Northern Queensland
No. 2 Wing Southern Queensland
No. 3 Wing New South Wales, including the Australian Capital Territory
No. 4 Wing Victoria
No. 5 Wing Tasmania
No. 6 Wing South Australia
No. 7 Wing Western Australia
No. 8 Wing Northern Territory
Aviation Operations Wing National
*The Aviation Operations Wing was created in late 2018 to unify all the aviation squadrons in each wing.

Each year the Royal Australian Air Force awards the "Australian Air Force Cadets – Air Force Trophy". The winner of the Air Force Trophy is honoured with the custodianship of the AAFC National Banner for the following year.

Operational Units

Each Wing contains a number of different units (squadrons (SQNs), and flights (FLTs)). Each unit is given a 3-digit number with the first digit representing their parent wing. For example, it can be told just by looking at the squadron number that 101 SQN is part of No. 1 Wing. Squadrons that have completed a freedom of entry parade have been granted permission to state their location when officially referring to their squadron. (E.g. No. 104 (City of Cairns) SQN).

List of Operational Units
Squadron Location
101 Squadron Townsville
103 Squadron Ingham
104 (City of Cairns) Squadron Cairns
105 (City of Mackay) Squadron Mackay
106 Squadron Tablelands
107 Squadron Innisfail
108 Squadron Charters Towers
109 Squadron Burdekin
110 Squadron Bowen
111 Squadron Mount Isa
112 Squadron Weipa
202 Squadron Daisy Hill
203 Squadron East Brisbane
204 Squadron Roma
205 Squadron Gatton
207 (City of Nambour) Squadron Nambour
208 Squadron Amberly
209 Squadron Oakey
210 Squadron Toowoomba
212 (City of Redcliffe) Squadron Rothwell
213 Squadron Elanora
214 Squadron Calamvale
215 Squadron Carindale
216 Squadron Maryborough
217 (City of Redland) Squadron Capalaba
218 Squadron Corinda
219 Squadron Archerfield
220 Squadron Clayfield
221 (City of Gold Coast) Squadron Ashmore
222 Squadron Coomera
223 Squadron Caloundra
224 Squadron Rothwell
225 Squadron Ipswich
226 Squadron Bray Park
227 Squadron Rockhampton
228 Squadron Bundaberg
229 Squadron Yeppoon
230 Squadron Springfield
232 Squadron Robina
233 Squadron Mountain Creek
234 Squadron Caboolture
302 Squadron Rockdale
303 (City of Camden) Squadron Camden
304 Squadron Pymble
305 (City of Northern Beaches) Squadron Northern Beaches
306 Squadron Darlinghurst
307 (City of Bankstown) Squadron Lidcombe
308 (City of Maitland) Squadron Maitland
309 Squadron Holsworthy
310 (City of Tamworth) Squadron Tamworth
311 (City of Gosford) Squadron Gosford
312 Squadron South Kempsey
313 (City of Dubbo) Squadron Dubbo
314 (City of Wollongong) Squadron Wollongong
315 (City of Canberra) Squadron Canberra
316 (City of Lake Macquarie) Squadron Lake Macquarie
317 (City of Taree) Squadron Taree
318 (Shire of Sutherland) Squadron Sutherland
319 Squadron Inverell
321 (City of Newcastle) Squadron Newcastle
322 (City of Ryde) Squadron Ryde
323 (City of Blue Mountains) Squadron Glenbrook
324 (City of Randwick) Squadron Randwick
325 (City of Goulburn) Squadron Goulburn
326 (City of Lismore) Squadron Lismore
327 Squadron Gungahlin
328 (City of Bathurst) Squadron Bathurst
329 (City of Orange) Squadron Orange
330 (City of Shoalhaven) Squadron Shoalhaven
331 Squadron Coffs Harbour
332 (City of Wagga Wagga) Squadron Wagga Wagga
333 Squadron Port Macquarie
334 Squadron Harman
335 Squadron Williamtown
336 Squadron Richmond
337 Squadron Armidale
338 (City of Shellharbour) Squadron Shellharbour
339 Squadron Moree
340 (City of Griffith) Squadron Griffith
345 Squadron Orchard Hills
346 Squadron Canberra
401 Squadron Surrey Hills
402 Squadron Watsonia
403 Squadron Beaconsfield
404 Squadron Point Cook
405 Squadron Sunshine
406 Squadron Frankston South
407 Squadron Moonee Ponds
408 Squadron Ringwood East
409 (City of Sale) Squadron Sale
410 Squadron Bendigo
411 Squadron Swan Hill
412 Squadron Albury-Wodonga
413 Squadron Warrnambool
414 Squadron Richmond
415 Squadron South Yarra
416 Squadron Moonee Ponds
417 (City of Bayside) Squadron Bayside
418 Squadron Point Cook
419 Squadron Shepparton
420 Squadron Wangaratta
424 Squadron Morwell
425 (City of Ballarat) Squadron Ballarat
426 (City of Latrobe) Squadron Traralgon
427 (City of Greater Geelong) Squadron Greater Geelong
428 Squadron Geelong
429 Squadron Queenscliff
430 Squadron Macedon Ranges
501 Squadron Dowsings Point
502 Squadron Hobart
507 Squadron Devonport
508 (City of Launceston) Squadron Launceston
601 Squadron Keswick
602 Squadron Woodside
603 Squadron Berri
604 Squadron Greenacres
605 Squadron Lonsdale
608 (Town of Gawler) Squadron Gawler
609 Squadron Warradale
612 Squadron Mount Gambier
613 Squadron Edinburgh
614 (City of Port Pirie) Squadron Port Pirie
617 Squadron Keswick
620 Squadron Port Adelaide-Enfield
622 Squadron Murray Bridge
623 (City of Mildura) Squadron Mildura
701 Squadron Bullsbrook
702 Squadron Cannington
703 (City of Fremantle) Squadron Fremantle
704 (City of Wanneroo) Squadron Madeley
705 (City of Albany) Squadron Albany
707 Squadron Mandurah
708 Squadron Rockingham
709 (City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder) Squadron Kalgoorie-Boulder
710 Squadron Bunbury
711 (City of Greater Geraldton) Squadron Greater Geraldton
712 (City of Belmont) Squadron Belmont
713 Squadron Cannington
714 Squadron Karrakatta
715 (City of Belmont) Squadron Belmont
721 Squadron Madeley
723 Squadron Joondalup
801 Squadron Darwin
802 Squadron Palmerston
803 Squadron Katherine
804 Squadron Alice Springs

Special Units

In each wing, there are also special units that perform specialised duties such as aviation training, logistics, firearms training, and music.

List of Special Units
Parent Wing Squadron/Flight Type
No. 1 Wing 100 Squadron Aviation Training
102 Flight Firearms Training
1LOG Flight Logistics Flight
No. 2 Wing 200 Squadron Aviation Training
233 Flight Ceremonial
234 Flight Fieldcraft and Firearms
2LOG Flight Logistics Flight
No. 3 Wing 300 Squadron Support Squadron
341 Flight Aeromodelling Flight
342 Flight Fieldcraft & Adventure Training Flight
343 Flight Firearms Flight
344 Flight Musicians Flight
No. 4 Wing 400 Squadron Specialist Training
FCS Flight Fieldcraft & Adventure Specialist Flight
4LOG Flight Logistics Flight
No. 5 Wing 500 Squadron Support Squadron
5LOG Flight Logistics Flight
No. 6 Wing 600 Squadron Aviation Training
606 Flight Band Flight
616 Flight Specialist Flight
6LOG Flight Logistics Flight
No. 7 Wing 716 Flight Aviation Training
717 Flight Firearms Training
718 Flight Ceremonial
719 Flight Field Training
720 Flight Heritage & Aeromodelling
7LOG Flight Logistics Flight
No. 8 Wing 800 Squadron Support Squadron
8LOG Flight Logistics Flight

The Aviation Operations Wing (sometimes unofficially referred to as "9 Wing") is a wing for aviation operations. Its flights fall under two categories: Gliding Training School (GTS) for gliding experiences and Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS) for powered flights. They are as follows:

List of Units in the Aviation Operations Wing
Type Flight Location
Gliding Training School GTS Flight Balaklava Balaklava
GTS Flight Bathurst Raglan
GTS Flight Warwick Warwick
Elementary Flying Training School EFTS Flight Amberley Amberley
EFTS Flight Point Cook Point Cook
EFTS Flight Richmond Richmond

Command and structure

The AAFC organisation as a whole falls under the command of Headquarters AAFC (HQAAFC). HQAAFC has no physical location as it is made up of members from around the country. The only person to hold the rank of Group Captain (AAFC) is the Commander of the Australian Air Force Cadets (CDR-AAFC). The CDR-AAFC reports to the Director General Cadets – Air Force, a member of the RAAF who holds the rank of Air Commodore, and in turn reports to the RAAF chain of command.

Under HQAAFC are the Operational Wings and Directorates, each headed by a WGCDR(AAFC) who holds the appointment of Officer Commanding (OC) or Director respectively. Cadet squadrons only exist within the Operational Wings. They report to the Operational Wing Officer Commanding (often through an Executive Officer) and are commanded by a Commanding Officer. A squadron Commanding Officer (CO) will hold the rank of PLTOFF(AAFC), FLGOFF(AAFC) or FLTLT(AAFC) unless the officer holds another appointment which entitles them to a more senior rank, some squadrons are commanded by a WOFF(AAFC).

There are 8 Operational Wings for all states and territories, however, the state of Queensland is divided into two Wings. There are also eight directorates to serve a support function for operational wings: Aviation Operations Directorate (AOD), Corporate Services Directorate (CSD), Diversity Directorate (DIVD), People and Culture Directorate (PCD), Operations Directorate (OPSD), Safety Directorate (SAFD), Training Directorate (TD).

As of 1 April 2005, a squadron's establishment no longer justifies a CO to hold the rank of SQNLDR(AAFC) rank. However, it is still possible to have a CO of SQNLDR(AAFC) or even WGCDR(AAFC) rank, but only if that CO holds a wing or national position e.g. Officer Commanding, Director, Staff Officer or deputy director position in Wing or National HQ in addition to their appointment as a squadron CO.

There are a number of key appointments within Wing Headquarters, including;

Appointment Abbreviation Rank
Executive Officer* XO SQNLDR(AAFC)
*Some wings have a regional appointment with the region appended to the title. e.g. Executive Officer (South) (RXO-S).
Staff Officer Training* SOT SQNLDR(AAFC)
*Some wings have specific appointments with the speciality appended to the title. e.g. Staff Officer Ground Training (Squadron) (SOGT(SQN)).
Staff Officer Management Services SOMS SQNLDR(AAFC)
Staff Officer Operations SOOPS SQNLDR(AAFC)
Staff Officer Wing Safety SOWS SQNLDR(AAFC)
Wing Warrant Officer WGWOFF WOFF(AAFC)
*Some wings have a regional appointment with the region appended to the title. e.g. Wing Warrant Officer (South) (WGWOFF(S)).
Regional Executive Instructor* RXI SGT(AAFC) – FSGT(AAFC)
*Some wings have regional appointments with the region appended to the title e.g. Regional Executive Instructor (West) (RXIW).
Chairman Wing Cadet Reference Group CWCRG CSGT – CUO

There are also a large number of other positions such as Administration Officer, Psychologist, Chaplain and various other training and administrative appointments. Larger Wings may have more executive and other appointments.

Each Wing has an Air Force Liaison Officer (AFLO), a RAAF officer (often a reservist) who is responsible for all activities requiring RAAF support for that region, amongst other duties.

Aviators and junior officers are posted to an individual squadron (as per a squadron's size) as instructors of cadets (IOC) and officers of cadets (OOC).

The AAFC incorporates a National Cadet Reference Group, comprising eight Wing Chairs under the direction and leadership of a Chairman of the NCRG and Deputy Chairman of the NCRG. This is the peak representative and advisory body acting on behalf of the cadets to the higher echelons of the organisation. The chairman is a default member of several groups through virtue of their appointment including the tri-service Cadet Consultative Forum, the AAFC Executive Council and the National Council among others.

AAFC Home Training

There are five stages of AAFC Home Training, each Training Stage has a number of subjects.

Cadet Recruit stage

This training stage is designed to give cadets fundamental knowledge required to participate in AAFC Home Parades and Activities. The course should take between two and six months and should include at least one day of training.

Subjects in the Cadet Recruit Stage include drill, team building, and fieldcraft.

Basic stage

This training stage is designed to take a cadet with fundamental knowledge and build on this to the point where the cadet is proficient at most basic activities. Completion of this stage also makes cadets eligible for reclassification to the rank of Leading Cadet.

Subjects in Basic Stage include aircraft recognition, drill, and fieldcraft.

Proficiency Stage

This training stage is designed to be completed one year. Proficiency Stage comprises three compulsory core subjects and three elective subjects.

Subjects in Proficiency Stage include drill, aircraft recognition, fieldcraft, and survival skills.

Advanced Stage

This stage of training is designed to provide cadets with extensive knowledge about the RAAF and the AAFC. Advanced Stage comprises three compulsory core subjects plus three other subjects.

Qualified Stage

To complete Qualified Stage cadets are to complete a mix of Projects and Elective subjects. The mix of electives and projects may be:

Qualified Stage cadets who have squadron duties such as instructing, administration, or supervising junior cadets may have these duties recognised in lieu of elective subjects in the form of a generic subject labelled Squadron Management Elective.

Projects are substantial multi-media presentations that may be individual or team efforts. Projects should be relevant to ADF or AAFC themes.


Electives subjects include personal development, adventure training, aviation recognition, aircraft modelling, air navigation, air traffic control, field operations, fire safety, firearms training, life saving, meteorology, engineering, model rocketry, and radio communications.

AAFC RAAF Base Training

Every cadet that shows potential may apply for training held on active military bases.

General Service Training Camps (GST)

GST training is a week long course that allows cadets to learn the basics of the RAAF and experience minor military training. This course primarily contains experience training at different RAAF units and lets cadets get a small understanding of what life in the RAAF is like. There are generally 2 GSTs per wing hosted every school holidays.

Cadet Flying Training (CFT)

CFT is conducted on powered aircraft and can be held either on civilian or military-owned airfields and is usually held for two to three weeks. An example includes Elementary Flying Training School, which is held at a RAAF Base, such as RAAF Base Richmond on the Diamond DA40NG. These Cadets are trained on a variety of aircraft and are taught the basics of flight. They are trained to complete a solo circuit by the end of the course.

Personal Development and Leadership Courses

During these courses, cadets are taught the qualities required of the rank they are attaining to. These courses vary and can be held in a multitude of military bases within Australia including Borneo Barracks, RAAF Base Amberley, RAAF Base Townsville, RAAF Base Williams Laverton, RAAF Base Richmond, RAAF Base Wagga, and RAAF Base Edinburgh.

Drill and Ceremonial

AAFC training constitutes much Drill and Ceremonial training, ranging from basic static drill in recruit phase to advanced banner, Rifle and sword drill on officer courses. Each parade night a "squadron daily parade" is held (daily for RAAF SQNs, weekly for AAFC SQNs) in which all cadets participate, with CNCOs and above assuming executive position of Flight Sergeant (CCPL), Flight Commander (CSGT/CFSGT), Parade Warrant Officer (CWOFF), Parade Commander (CUO) and often Reviewing Officer (CUO). Lower ranks may hold these positions where there are insufficient senior cadets. Squadrons also hold CO's Parades (usually once a month but not always) where staff go on parade and the squadron is inspected by the Commanding Officer.

AAFC squadrons often form guards and banner parties at Anzac/Remembrance Day/Victory in the Pacific Day/Vietnam Veterans Day services and other cadets will march on these parades. Promotion course graduation parades are very significant events, often requiring days of training. These parades will often be reviewed by a senior RAAF officer and consist of several squadrons/flights as well as colour parties. Graduation parades will generally be armed (usually SNCO candidates, but can consist of lower and higher ranks in some cases) with Lee Enfields, L1a1 rifles, or F88 Austeyrs, the Standard Individual Weapon of the Australian Defence Force (often issued the F88I submodel – meaning innocuous and older variants of F88) and swords for executives. Colour party members are often temporarily issued ceremonial equipment such as White cotton gloves, Banner Girdle (for Banner/Colour Bearer) or Sash (Banner/Colour Warrant Officer) and white belts.


Cadets receive the opportunity to participate in a wide range of activities such as:

National Competitions

HQAAFC holds three National Competitions throughout the year, they are:

  • National Fieldcraft Competition (NFCC) – Held annually at various locations (such as Puckapunyal Training Area in Victoria (Australia), or Majura Training Area in the Australian Capital Territory).
  • National Rifle Competition (NRC) – Held in September each year at various locations (such as Sydney International Shooting Centre).
  • National Aviation Competition (NAC) – (formerly known as NATFLY) Held in December (previously October) of each year on RAAF Bases around the country, both Power and Gliding competitions take place.

In 2023, the AAFC participated in the Chief of Army Cadets Team Challenge, an Australian Army Cadets national competition hosted at Kokoda Barracks, Canungra.

Wing Competitions

Wings may also hold their own competitions throughout the year and are similar to national competitions. This can include Drill Competitions, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) competitions and a shooting competitions.

International Air Cadet Exchange (IACE)

The International Air Cadet Exchange (IACE) Program came into being in 1947 when Canada and the UK arranged a bi-lateral exchange of air cadets between the two countries.

The AAFC currently exchanges with the following countries:

  • United States
  • Canada
  • United Kingdom
  • Hong Kong
  • Singapore
  • New Zealand
  • France
  • Republic of Korea (second year)
  • Netherlands

Minor Activities


Cadets are given the ability to appear at local airshows and military expos depending on location of the unit. For Example, 6 Wing (South Australia) sent many cadets to attend the 2019 Edinburgh Air Show.


Cadets assist local communities by holding and assisting in charity events, one such event including Relay for Life. These also consist of donations to military support organisations such as Legacy. Sometimes Senior Cadets plan these events.


AAFC units commonly partake in camping activities called 'bivouacs' and allow cadets to learn fieldcraft, leadership and teamwork prior to a promotional course. These can last from a weekend to a week.


Australia has two memorials to the Australian Air Force Cadets. The first occupies a prominent position on the grounds of St John's Ashfield, and a memorial service attended by the Cadets has been held annually since it was opened by the State Governor Lieutenant General John Northcott in 1946. It was built by Squadron Leader Arthur Whitehurst who had commanded a squadron at Ashfield during the period 1941–1946, and whose son Douglas Arthur Whitehurst had died in action in World War II.

The second is a plaque unveiled in 1981 as part of a commemoration parade on the fortieth anniversary of the Australian Air Force Cadets' predecessor the Air Training Corps. The plaque is located at the base of a tree adjacent to the south west path leading from the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne, Victoria.

Many squadrons have an association with a local Returned and Services League (RSL) branch and participate in local ceremonies such as ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day marches with their local RSL Branch.


Currently in use

  • Cz452
  • Cz453
  • Cz455
  • ZKM 452
  • F88 (Only used in ceremonial activities and in the F88 elective)

Formerly used

  • Lee Enfield (retired 2011) (Still used during military drill)
  • Martini Cadet (retired in the 1970s)
  • L1a1 (retired 2013) (Still used during drill)

Aircraft and Gliders

PA-38 Piper Tomohawk Australian Air Force Cadets
Piper PA-38 Tomahawk in Australian Air Force Cadet livery

Powered Fixed Wing Aircraft

Aircraft Variants Origin Role Period of service
Diamond DA40 Diamond Star DA-40NG  Austria Four-seat light aircraft 2019–present
Piper PA-25 Pawnee PA-25-235, PA-25-235A1  United States Single-seat glider tug aircraft 2007–present
VH-GKR PZL Krosno KR-03A Puchatek Australian Air Force Cadets (AAFC) (9547289517)
A PZL Krosno KR-03A Puchatek in Australian Air Force Cadets livery

Past Powered Fixed-Wing Aircraft

Aircraft Variants Origin Role Period of service
Cessna 172 Skyhawk 172D Skyhawk  United States Four-seat light utility aircraft 1981–?
Zlín Z 42 242L  Czechoslovakia Two-seat pilot trainer aircraft 2002–2018
Beechcraft Baron 58 Baron  United States Ground-based instructional airframe and simulator 2003–?
Grob G 109 G 109  Germany Two-seat motor-glider aircraft 2006–?
Piper PA-38 Tomahawk PA-38-112  United States Two-seat pilot trainer, utility aircraft 2006–?
Scheibe Falke SF-25C Falke  Germany Two-seat motor-glider aircraft 2006–?


Aircraft Variants Origin Period of service
DG Flugzeugbau DG-1000 DG-1000S  Germany 2013–present

Past Gliders

Aircraft Variants Origin Period of service
Grob G 103 Twin Astir G.103  Germany 2018–
Grob G103a Twin II G.103a Twin II  Germany 2010–2018
LET L-13 Blanik L-13, L-13A1  Czechoslovakia 2010–2018
PZL Krosno KR-03 Puchatek KR-03A  Poland 2006–2018
Schleicher ASK 13 ASK-13  Germany 2006–2018
Schleicher ASK-21 ASK-21, ASK-21Mi  Germany 2014–2018
Schleicher K7 K.7  Germany
Schleicher Ka 6 Ka.6CR  Germany 2010–2018
SZD-51 Junior 51-1 Junior  Poland

See also

  • Australian Army Cadets
  • Australian Navy Cadets
  • Australian Defence Force Cadets
  • Air League Cadets
  • Air Training Corps (UK)
  • Civil Air Patrol
  • New Zealand Air Training Corps
  • Royal Canadian Air Cadets
  • Cadets (youth program)
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