The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has a stores system based on a series of letter and numbers. All its aircraft have been given ‘A’ numbers, in three series starting with the formation of the RAAF in 1921. Here are some of the RAAF’s aircraft, displayed according to their A numbers.
DeHavilland DH-9A – A1-1
The deHavilland DH-9A was a light bomber developed in Britain towards the end of World War 1. About 38 were given to Australia in 1919 and were the first aircraft registered for use by the Royal Australian Air Force. This model represents A1-1, the first aircraft to be flown by the RAAF. This is how it probably appeared in 1928
Royal Aircraft Factory SE5a – A2-1
The SE5a was one of the best British fighters of World War I. It was sturdy and fast and equipped many RAF squadrons at the end of the war. After the war 35 were given to the Royal Australian Air Force and were its first fighter. This model represents SE5a A2-1 of the Royal Australian Air Force in 1927.
Bristol Bulldog II, A12-2
The Bristol Bulldog was a British fighter that began entering service at the end of the 1920s and remained in service for most of the 1930s. The Royal Australian Air Force took delivery of eight in 1930. This model represents Bristol Bulldog A12-2 flying with 2 Squadron, RAAF, in April 1938.
Department of Aircraft Production Beaufighter Mk.21 – A8-124
The DAP (Department of Aircraft Production) Beaufighter was an Australian made version of the Bristol Beaufighter. They were flown by the Royal Australian Air Force against Japanese forces late in the Pacific War. This model represents A8-124 of No 93 Squadron, RAAF, at Labuan, North Borneo, in August 1945.
Miles Magister IA – A15-1
The Miles Magister was a light training aircraft designed and manufactured in Britain before and during World War II. After the war many were sold into private ownership around the world. This model represents Magister A15-1, RAAF, No.1 Flight Training School, Point Cook in May 1940.
Lockheed Hudson IV – A16-129
The Lockheed Husdon was a light bomber, reconnaissance and general purpose aircraft used widely by allied forces from the beginning of World War II. It served with ten squadrons of the RAAF during the Pacific War. This model represent A16-129 in service with 6 Squadron, RAAF, at Milne Bay in 1943.
DeHavilland DH-82A Tiger Moth – A17-489
The DH60 biplane was initially designed as tourer/trainer for the civilian market. A single prototype was ordered by the RAF in 1931 who sought a basic trainer aircraft. With some modifications the aircraft was accepted into service as the DH 82 Tiger Moth. The model represents A17-189 from 12 Local Air Supply Unit, Kiariva, PNG, during World War II.
Bristol Beaufighter Ic – A19-34
The Bristol Beaufighter was a fighter development of the Beaufort light bomber. The Royal Australian Air Force used imported and Australian manufactured Beaufighters in large numbers during the Pacific War. This model represents British built A19-34 in service with 30 Squadron, RAAF, c.1943.
Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation CA-5 Wirraway – A20-103
The Wirraway was Australia’s first mass produced aircraft and was used to establish a local aircraft manufacturing industry. They saw front line service at the beginning of the Pacific War because Australia lacked better aircraft at first. This model represents A20-103 flown by Flt Lt Jack Archer of 4 Squadron, RAAF who shot down a Ki-43 in this aircraft on Boxing Day 1942.
Vultee Vengeance I – A27-200
The Vultee Vengeance was an American dive bomber designed for sale to foreign air forces. Like other dive bombers, they were soon found too vulnerable for front line service but continued to serve in secondary roles. This model represents a Vengeance Mk I of 12 Squadron, RAAF, based at Cooktown in September 1943.
Douglas Boston Mk.III – A28-15
The Douglas Boston was a light bomber flown by most Allied nations during World War 2. The RAAF’s Bostons were used effectively against Japanese forces in ground attacks roles. This model represents A-28-15 flying for 22 Squadron, RAAF in New Guinea in mid 1943. It was lost in action to enemy flack on 12 September 1943.
Curtiss Kittyhawk IV – A29-572
The Curtiss Kittyhawk IV was the final version of the P-40 Tomahawk, Kittyhawk and Warhawk fighter series that flew with most allied air forces during World War II. Over 14,000 had been made when production ended in November 1944. This model represents a P-40N, A29-572, flown by 78 Squadron, RAAF, at Noemfoor Island in 1944.
Curtiss Kittyhawk IV – A29-629
This model represents the Curtiss Kittyhawk IV flown by G C Atherton, 80 Squadron, RAAF, in New Guinea in 1945.
Curtiss Kittyhawk IV – A29-1193
This model represents a Curtiss Kittyhawk IV operated by 76 Squadron, RAAF, in the Borneo Campaign in the South West Pacific Area at the end of World War 2
CAC CA-13 Boomerang – A46-126
Designed as a panic fighter in response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, the first Boomerang flew less than three months after it was ordered. An Austrian Jewish refugee, Fred David, who was technically an enemy alien, was recruited for design work. He had previously worked for Heinkel, Mitsubishi and Aichi.
CAC CA-19 Boomerang – A46-228
The Boomerang was quickly designed in 1942 to give the Royal Australian Air Force a single seat fighter in response to Japan entering the war. It’s high manoeuverability made it ideal for ground attach and army cooperation work. This model represents A46-228 of No 5 Squadron RAAF, c.1945.
Lockheed PV-1 – A59-75
The Lockheed PV-1 Ventura was a patrol bomber used in a variety of maritime roles by many Allied air forces during World War II. The Royal Australian Air Force flew them in operations against the Japanese from 1944. This model represent A59-75 in service with 13 Squadron, RAAF, in late 1944.
CAC CA-15 – A62-1001
The Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation CA-15 was developed during World War II as a high performance fighter for the RAAF. Although an excellent fighter, it was superceded by the development of jet fighters. This model represented the sole prototype in 1946.
CAC CA-17 Mustang Mk.20 – A68-71
The CAC Mustang was an Australian made version of the successful North American P-51D fighter. The first eighty were made from kit sets as CA-17s and a further 120 were made locally as CA-18s. This model represents CAC CA-17 Mustang, A68-71 in service with 78 Squadron, RAAF, in late 1946.
Martin PBM-3R Mariner – A70-1
The Martin PBM Mariner was a long range flying boat that saw successful service during and after World War II. In 1943 twelve of the cargo version were delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force. This model represents a Mariner in service with 41 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force.
Gloster Meteor F.8 – A77-815
The Gloster Meteor was the first British jet fighter and the improved F.8 version saw service in the early 1950s. The RAAF flew Meteor F.8s during the Korean War where they were effective ground attack aircraft.
The Canberra Mk.20 was an Australian built version of the British designed English Electric Canberra. They began entering service with the RAAF in 1953 and served until June 1982. This model represents a Canberra Mk.20 flying with No 1 Squadron, RAAF, in 1965.
GAF Pika – A93 – 2
The Pika was designed to serve as a testbed for the Jindivik pilotless drone. It was built around the basic Jindivick structure but with a cockpit for the pilot. Two were constructed and flown in tests. This model represents the second Pika, A93-2.
Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation CA-27 Avon Sabre – A94-971
The CAC CA-27 Sabre (often called the Avon Sabre), was an Australian built version of the United States F-86F Sabre. It was powered by a Rolls Royce Avon turbojet engine which made it the most powerful version of the Sabre.
Bell UH-1B – A2-384
The Bell UH-1B Iroquois (commonly called the Huey) was a utility helicopter developed for the US Army in the 1950s. They were used extensively in the Vietnam war by United States ans Australian forces. This model represents A2-384, the first UH-1 to enter RAAF service, initially as a SAR aircraft with No 9 Squadron, RAAF, between October 1962 and 1964..
Dassault Mirage IIIO – A3-2
The Dassault Mirage IIIO was manufactured in Australia by the Government Aircraft Factories and Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation between 1963 and 1968. One hundred Mirages were delivered for service with the RAAF. This model represents A3-2, the second Mirage IIIO, flying with the Aircraft Research and Development Unit in the 1970s.
Dassault Mirage IIIO – A3-3
This model represents A3-3 of 76 Squadron based at Williamtown in 1968.
Dassault Mirage IIIO – A3-42
This model represents A3-42, flown by 2 Operational Conversion Unit during Operation Pitch Black in 1984.
Dassault Mirage IIIO – A3-60
The Dassault Mirage IIIO was flown by the Royal Australian Air Force between 1964 and 1989. They flew with five operational squadrons, an Operational Conversion Unit and the Armament Research Development Unit. This model represents A3-60, flown by 75 Squadron based at Butterworth in September 1987
Dassault Mirage IIIO – A3-72
The Dassault Mirage III was the most successful European fighter of the post-World War II era. It remained in production for over 20 years and was flown by many air forces around the world including the Royal Australian Air Force. This model represents A3-72 of 77 Squadron in 1981 in the RAAF Anniversary scheme.
Dassault Mirage IIIO – A3-81
In the early 1980s the RAAF decided to replace the Mirage with the more modern F-18. Through the early 1980s the Mirage remained in front line service but, as the first F-18s became available, Mirages were withdrawn from service. When 3 Squadron at Butterworth withdrew to convert to F-18s 79 Squadron was reformed to take over operation of the Mirages there. In April 1988 they flew their Mirages to Woomera where they were put into storage. This model represents A3-81, in service with 79 Squadron when it was flown into storage at Woomera in 1988.
Dassault Mirage IIIO – A3-100
This model represents A3-100 in 1981 when it was flying with 3 Squadron, based at Butterworth in Malaysia.
Dassault Mirage IIID – A3-115
The Dassault Mirage IIID was the twin-seat trainer version of the Mirage III. They were introduced to RAAF service to compliment the Mirage IIIO fighters that served with the air force from the 1960s to the 1980s. This model represents A3-115 that flew with ARDU in the 1980s.
Dassault Mirage IIIO (Pakistan Air Force, previously A3-13)
After service with the RAAF the remaining airworthy Mirage IIIOs were stored at Wommera waiting for a buyer. For several years the Pakistan Air Force had been buying Mirage IIIs from various sources around the world and bought 50 Australian Mirages in 1990. In Pakistan the Mirages were refurbished with new avionics suites and some were given new wings purchased from South Africa. In all 45 Mirage IIIOs were returned to flying condition and the other 5 were used for spares.
This model represents 50-513 (previously A3-13) flying with 7 Squadron, Pakistan Air Force at Karachi, in the mid 1990s.
Aerospatiale SA.316 Alouette – A5-165
The Aerospatiale SA.319 Alouette III is a light helicopter developed in France in the 1950s which gained world wide popularity. It served in many roles and remained in service and low level production into the 21st Century. This model represents one of three Alouette IIIs flown by 1ATU, RAAF, at Woomera between 1964 and 1967.
Aermacchi MB-326H – A7-047
The Aermacchi MB-326 was a popular light jet aircraft developed in Italy and flown around the world. The MB-326H version was manufactured in Australia for the RAAF and RAN, serving from 1967 to 2001. This model represents A7-047, the personal aircraft of the Chief of the Air Staff.
General Dynamics F-111C – A8-131
The F-111 was the first variable geometry aircraft to enter service and strongly influenced later designs. Development began in 1960, the first ones entered service in 1967 and 563 in all versions were produced. This model represents a F-111C of 1 Squadron, RAAF, at the Red Flag exercises in 2002.
AESL CT/4A – A19-040
The AESL CT/4 was as light trainer developed and manufactured in New Zealand. It was used by several air forces including the RAAF for initial pilot training and many still remain flying in private ownership. This model represents A19-040 flying with 1FTS, RAAF in 1989.
McDonnell Douglas F-18A – A21-32
The McDonnell Douglas F-18 was a multi-role fighter designed in the United States. It has served mainly with the US Navy and Marine Corps but also several other national air forces including the Royal Australian Air Force. This model represents F-18A A21-32 belonging to ARDU in 1988.
Canadair CL-604 Challenger – A37-001
The Canadair CL-604 Challenger was a long range business jet designed and built in Canada from the 1980s. It was successful as a business jet and has subsequently be developed as a popular regional jet. This model represents A37-001 of 34 Squadron, RAAF, in 2010.