Royal Australian Navy

Operator Profile

Key Facts

Current Title:
Royal Australian Navy
English Title:
Royal Australian Navy
First Established:
ICAO Code:


Narrative Summary

To be added.

Key Dates

1928 First RAN avation unit taken over by the RAAF.
1946 Post-WW2 defence review recommends Naval air arm.
June 1947 First aircraft carrier purchased from the UK.
3 July 1947 Navy-controlled Australian Fleet Air Arm formally established.
December 1948 Aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney enters service.
1951 RAN units participate in the Korean War.
1955 First jet combat aircraft received – Sea Venom.
June 1983 Carrier aviation ends in the RAN.
1991 RAN units participate in the 1st Gulf War.
2000 Last fixed-wing aircraft retired.

Current Status

All RAN helicopters are currently active.

Future Plans

No plans known.


National Insignia

Navy aircraft originally operated in full Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm markings, with red/white/blue roundels in the standard six positions plus a fin flash. From September 1956 a roundel with a red kangaroo in the centre was adopted. In accordance with revised Royal Navy practice, the fin flash was also deleted around this time. The service titles ‘NAVY’ were not introduced until after the Korean War, and applied to the fuselage sides of all in-service types. In the 1980s a low-visibility black or grey version of the kangaroo roundel was introduced.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

Aircraft operating with the RAN originally retained their Royal Navy FAA serials, but in 1965 a system similar to the RAAF prefix number system was introduced. RAN aircraft serials would now consist of a prefix identifying the basic aircraft followed by an individual aircraft number, e.g. Wessex N7-200. This new system was only applied to newly delivered aircraft, although the ex-US Navy S-2 Trackers retained their US Navy BuA numbers. In the early 1970s the Navy system was integrated with the RAAF system, whereby N17 was used by Navy Kiowas and A17 by Air Force Kiowas.

Unit/Base Codes

The RAN still uses a coding system based on the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm aircraft coding system introduced in 1946. It consists of a 3-digit number, where the first digit indicated the aircraft layout of function, and the remaining two digits were an individual number, e.g. Single-seaters used 100 series codes. In 1955 all second-line units switched to 900 series codes, and in 1958 all RAN aircraft were recoded with 800 series codes. By the 1970s all 800 series codes had been used up and the Sea Kings received 900 series codes. The Navy now uses a mix of 800 series and 900 series codes for reasons of tradition, while contractor supplied types use their construction numbers as codes. Royal Navy style ship or airfield letter codes have also been carried on the fin since the early days.


Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

Table of Current Service Aircraft

All-Time Aircraft Used List

All-Time Table of Aircraft Used

Aircraft NOT Used

A 2006 order for IAI I-View 250 Surveilance UAVs was cancelled in 2008.

Aircraft Losses and Incidents

To be added.


Main Headquarters

Fleet Air Arm Headquarters, HMAS Albatross, Nowra, NSW.

Organisational Structure

The Australian Navy Aviation Group currently comprises of four squadrons – two operational units and two training units.

Current Order of Battle

Table of Current Order of Battle

Historical Orders of Battle

List of Historical Orders of Battle – to be added.

All-Time Flying Units List

Units Listing

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

RAN helicopters are based at Nowra, NSW.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

To be added.
Aircraft-Carrying Ships Listing – to be added.

More Information


None known.


To be added


wikipedia: Fleet Air Arm (RAN)
Official website
ADF Serials

Any photographs illustrating this operator would be welcome.


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