Australian Air Force Cadets

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).


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 programdesigned 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.

AAFC training

Due to the relationship the AAFC has with the RAAF, the focus of much of the training is related to aviation and the RAAF which leads many cadets into a career in the RAAF or in the civilian aviation industry. However, aviation related subjects are not the only subjects taught within the organisation. There is also a great focus on Fieldcraft and Survival Training, Weapons Training, and Drill and Ceremonial as well.

As well as all the RAAF and aviation training involved, the AAFC is also an organisation which allows teenagers to socialise and meet new people not only local to them, but throughout the country.

AAFC training is broken down into a number of training stages:

* Recruit Training - a new stage of training introduced in 2007 to replace the Induction stage. Includes Service Knowledge Recruit (SKR), Fieldcraft Recruit (FCR), Teambuilding Training Recruit (TTR) and Drill and Ceremonial Recruit (DCR).

* Induction - had six compulsory subjects covering: Aircraft Recognition (AR), Aviation (AV), Drill & Ceremonial (DC), Service Knowledge (SK), Field Craft (FC) and Teambuilding Training (TT). Induction has been replaced by Recruit training as of 2007.

* Basic - six compulsory subjects covering: AR, AV, DC, SK, FC and Personal Development (PD) (PDB removed from 2007 Basic syllabus, now an elective PDE).
* Proficiency - four compulsory and three elective subjects, the compulsory are: AV, DC, SK and FC
* Advanced - three compulsory and three elective subjects, the compulsory are: AV, DC and SK
* Qualified - consists of a mix of 'projects' and electives

There is a wide range of elective subjects, such as Radio Communications, F88 Styer Firearms Training, Field Operations, Aircraft Engines, Meteorology and Drill and Ceremonial (with rifles). Proficiency and Advanced Stages also have their own Aircraft Recognition (ARP/ARA) and Survival (SVP/SVA) subjects, which are electives in those stages.

In addition, cadets are able to attend a series of promotion courses in order to attain ranks past Leading Cadet. Each rank holds a higher level of responsibility and brings cadets more opportunities and experiences. These usually go for two to three weeks at a RAAF base, and have their own set of compulsory subjects. The promotion courses are:
* Junior Non-Commissioned Officer (JNCO) Course, for promotion from Leading Cadet to Cadet Corporal (usually 10-14 days)
* Senior Non-Commissioned Officer (SNCO) Course, for promotion from Cadet Corporal to Cadet Sergeant (usually 2-3 weeks)
* Cadet Warrant Officer's (CWOFF) Course, for promotion from Cadet Sergeant or Cadet Flight Sergeant to Cadet Warrant Officer (usually 2-3 weeks)
* Cadet Under Officer's (CUO) Course, for promotion from Cadet Sergeant, Cadet Flight Sergeant or Cadet Warrant Officer to Cadet Under Officer (usually 3-4 weeks)

AAFC activities

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

* Bivouacs
* General Service Training (GSTs) which involves spending a week on an Australian Defence Force (ADF) base or establishment (usually a RAAF base)
* Powered Flying Courses
* Gliding Courses
* Aeromodelling camps
* Parachuting (which has been reintroduced and has the approval of the Chief of Air Force)
* Various competitions including the National Field Craft Competition, National Flying Competition, Various Regional Drill, Shooting, Chief of the Defence Forces Challenge and other competitions
* Promotion courses (to be promoted to higher ranks within the AAFC)
* International Air Cadet Exchange program
* Cadets can also join Wing Drill Teams and Wing band where they perform for a number of services.

Requirements to join

The minimum requirements for enrolment in the Australian Air Force Cadets are as follows:

* Must be between the age of 13 and 18,
* Must be a person ordinarily resident in Australia,
* Must have parents' or guardians' permission to enrol,
* Be medically fit to the standards detailed in Chapter 10 of the AAFC Policy Manual, and capable of carrying out the normal duties and activities of a cadet in the Australian Air Force Cadets,
* Not be a member of any other sub-component of the Australian Defence Force Cadets unless that membership is compulsory, or a member of any of the Defence Forces, either full-time or ADF Reserve, and
* Have parents' or guardians' permission for a qualified medical practitioner to anaesthetise and operate in an emergency.

Once a cadet reaches the age of 20 their enrolment is automatically terminated.Terminated cadets who have reached 21 years of age are entitled to re-apply as an Instructor of Cadets or Officer of Cadets (staff member) at a squadron.

Cadets and staff are civilians and are not automatically entitled to, or required to serve in the Australian Defence Forces.


Upon joining the AAFC, recruits are issued with DPCU uniform and a set of black boots. Once their paper work has been approved by HQ the cadet will receive his/her initial kitting which consists of (depending upon availability):

Disruptive Pattern
* Disruptive Pattern Shirt x1
* Disruptive Pattern Trousers x1
* Black Parade Boots x1
* Bush Hat x1
* Disruptive Pattern Jumper x1
* AAFC Baseball cap (issuing commencing 2008)

Service Dress
* Service Dress Shirt Long Sleeve x1
* Service Dress Shirt Short Sleeve x1
* Service Dress Trousers AFB (air force blue) x1
* Service Dress Shoes (not required worn if issued) x1
* Hat, Fur Felt Khaki x1
* AAFC Hat Badge x1
* Respective Rank Slides AFB x1
* Nickel Plated SD belt x1
* RAAF Blue tie x1
* Service Dress Jumper x1

All AAFC uniforms are supplied by the logistic support wing of the Royal Australian Air Force.


Operational wings

* 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)

Each Wing contains a number of different squadrons. For more information on specific squadrons see []

Functional wings

* Air Training Wing - Develops high-level policies in relation to flying training (Gliding, Powered Flying and Parachuting)
* Ground Training Wing - Develops high-level policies on ground training (home training, promotion courses, fieldcraft, etc)
* Logistics Support Wing - Develops policies on, and organises logistic issues such as uniforms and equipment distribution.

Cadet Reference Group

The Cadet Reference Group (CRG) is a body within the Australian Air Force Cadets (AAFC) established to represent the views of AAFC Cadets at the highest level. The national level of the CRG, the NCRG is formed of senior cadets from all states and territories in Australia. The NCRG convenes, at present, twice per year with an option for a third conference.

The broad role of the CRG is to provide a cadet perspective to the management of the AAFC when they are considering issues that directly influence cadets.


The AAFC uses an online cadet administration system known as Hector to manage many functions previously done on paper. This includes all personnel records, promotions, activity applications, appointments etc.

There are also several other systems both in development and the early stages of testing, which include the OA86 (activity planning form) submission database, 'Achilles'.

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 Caders (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 and support wings, each headed by a Wing Commander (AAFC) who holds the appointment of Officer Commanding.Individual squadrons report to wing command and are headed by a Commanding Officer. Commanding Officers are officers holding the rank of PLTOFF (AAFC) to FLTLT (AAFC), depending on the establishment of the squadron. Not all officers are commanding officers. As of 1 April 2005, no Squadron establishment allows a CO of SQNLDR (AAFC) rank. However, it is still possible to have a CO of SQNLDR (AAFC) or even WGCDR (AAFC) rank, if that CO holds another position e.g. a staff officer in wing or national HQ in addition to their appointment as a squadron CO, or was appointed at that rank before 1 April 2005.

There are a number of key appointments within Wing Headquarters, including Executive Officer (XO) (SQNLDR (AAFC)), Staff Officer Ground Training (SOGT) (SQNLDR(AAFC)), Staff Officer Management Services (SOMS) (SQNLDR (AAFC)) and Wing Warrant Officer (WGWOFF) (WOFF(AAFC)). There are also a large number of other positions such as Psychologist, Chaplain and various other training and administrative appointments. Larger Wings generally have more executive and other appointments e.g. 3WG (NSW - largest AAFC Wing) has 3 additional Executive Officers and 3 additional Wing Warrant Officers (North, South and West).

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

Airmen/women 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 also incorporates a National Cadet Reference Group, comprising of 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.

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 NCOs and above assuming executive position(s) 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/VP 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 a number of squadrons/flights as well as colour parties. Graduation parades will generally be armed (SNCO candidates and above only in some cases) with F88 Austeyrs, the Standard Individual Weapon of the Australian Defence Force (often issued the F88I submodel - meaning innocuous) 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.

There are a total of 9 Drill and Ceremonial subjects for cadets in the AAFC. Five of these are home training subjects, as follows:
* Drill and Ceremonial Recruit (DCR) - consists of basic static (on the spot) and marching drill, saluting and basic theory relating to aims of drill and safety considerations in drill.
* Drill and Ceremonial Basic (DCB) - cadets consolidate their recruit drill and progress to more advanced marching including turns on the march.
* Drill and Ceremonial Proficiency (DCP) - here LCDTs and CCPLs officially learn the slow march (although this is often taught before a CDTs first end-of-year ceremonial parade) as well as more advanced manoeuvres such as change directions and forms.
* Drill and Ceremonial Advanced (DCA) - LCDTs and NCOs in advanced stage complete learning of all flight drill movements consisting of double time and forming hollow square. DCA also consists of Command and Control (CC) (calling commands/fault correcting a flight of cadets) and Mutual Instruction (MI) (basic drill instruction) components.
* Drill and Ceremonial Elective (DCE) - consists of three parts which can be taught together or separately. DCE is often taught in proficiency and/or advanced stage. Officially, it is rifle drill with the L1A1 SLR, although it may be conducted using the Austeyr F88, the Standard Individual Weapon of the Australian Defence Force (often issued the F88I Submodel - meaning innocuous). It covers all movements including basic rifle movements (shoulder arms, order arms, present arms, saluting with a rifle), rifle drill on the march, ceremonial rifle drill (rest on arms) and other movements such as Port Arms, High Port Arms and Recover Arms. Cadets who have completed all of DCE are able to act as Banner Escorts or Guard Members on ceremonial occasions.

Each promotion course has a DC subject:
* Drill and Ceremonial JNCO (DCJ) - completes drill to basic level at a higher standard and introduces prospective CCPLs to Command and Control (CC), a key element of that rank. There are also some theory components and candidates are taught how to act as a FLTSGT on a SQN daily parade. Assessment for DCJ consists of 50% PDA (Personal Drill Assessment) and 50% CC.
* Drill and Ceremonial SNCO (DCS) - perfects drill to an exceptional standard expected of a CSGT. This may include long times practising simple movements such as attention to stand at ease to ensure utter perfection. DCS consists of much theory and its main aim is to develop candidates as suitable instructors of elementary drill, through the instruction and practice of MI format. Rifle (F-88 Steyr) drill is learnt and candidates are also taught how to act as a FLTCDR on a SQN daily parade. DCS is the second-longest Drill subject, consisting of a total of 35 periods, in addition to daily parades and graduation parade practices on the SNCO promotion course. Assessment for DCS consists of 20% PDA, 10% CC, 60% MI and 10% TE (Theory Examination).
* Drill and Ceremonial CWOFF (DCW) - candidates are expected to already have consistently high standards of drill. DCW aims to provide a broad theoretical knowledge, perfect skills of drill instruction and assessment and impart the knowledge of how to plan, organise, manage and execute all parades. CWOFFs are taught to act as a Parade WOFF, often as well as Parade Commander. They are also expected to be able to instruct DC on a JNCO promotion course. DCW consists of much theory and almost all Drill movements in existence are practised and perfected. Candidates learn Rifle, Sword and Banner drill. Assessment for DCW consists of 20% PDA, 10% CC, 35% MI and 35% TE.
* Drill and Ceremonial CUO (DCO) - DCO ensures that candidates have a high standard of drill relevant to the officer, but skills in drill instruction/assessment are not normally taught as on CWOFF course (although an elective MI exercise can be undertaken at discretion of course and detachment staff). DCO focuses on personal drill and command and control as well as imparting broad knowledge of RAAF ceremonial procedures, as CUOs are often appointed as Parade Commanders, Host Officers, Reviewing Officers, Banner Bearers, Guard Commanders etc. The course includes Rifle, Sword and Banner Drill and is much shorter than DC on SNCO/CWOFF, coming in at 21 periods. Assessment for DCO consists of 40% PDA, 40% CC and 20% TE. MI is not assessable on CUO course whether undertaken as an elective or not.

Sister services

The other Australian Defence Force Cadets are the Australian Army Cadets (AAC) and the Australian Navy Cadets (ANC).

See also

* Ranks of the AAFC


* Cadet Forces Regulations
* Australian Air Force Cadets Manual Of Ground Training
* RAAF Manual Of Drill- DI(AF) AAP 5135.001
* RAAF Manual Of Ceremonial - DI(AF) AAP 5135.002
* RAAF Manual Of Dress - DI(AF) AAP 5135.003
* Australian Air Force Cadets Manual Of International Air Cadet Exchange Operations (2nd Edition) AAFC 400.001
* [ About cadets (]

External links

* [ Official AAFC website]
* [ Australian Air Force Cadets Bulletin Board]

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