Australian Police Aviation Units

Operators Overview

Key Facts

Current Title:
Australian Police Aviation Units
English Title:
Australian Police Aviation Units
First Established:
ICAO Code:
Not applicable


Narrative Summary

The huge size of Australia and the low population density mean that travel between major towns can be very time consuming. The use of aircraft can vastly reduce the time required to reach a given destination. Shortly after World War II, the New South Police obtained an Avro Anson from the RAAF and set up an Aviation Branch. At this time the cost-effectiveness benefits of Police aircraft were inconclusive and the unit was closed down in 1950.

In 1974 the Western Australia Police established the first modern Police Air Wing in Australia, initially using leased fixed-wing aircraft and later buying its own aircraft. Several other Australian states followed suit in the 1970s, and by 1979 all the states had established a Police Air Wing. All of these units operated fixed-wing aircraft, normally based close to the state capital. In 1979, Victoria replaced its fixed-wing aircraft with a helicopter, becoming the first Police helicopter operator in Australia. It remains the only all-helicopter Police Air Wing in the country.

Key Dates

1946 New South Wales Police begins operation of the first police aircraft in Australia.
1974 Western Australia Police establish the first modern Police Air Wing in Australia.
1979 First police helicopter introduced – by Victoria Police.

Current Status

There is currently a Police Air Wing in each state, plus the capital territory.

Future Plans

See individual operators.


Special Markings

Australian Police aircraft operate in a wide variety of markings – usually some variety of blue and white overall. Most carry POLICE service titles – except for Queensland, which does not.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

Australian Police aircraft and helicopters carry standard Australian civil aircraft registrations.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used.


Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

See individual operators.

All-Time Aircraft Used List

See individual operators.

Aircraft NOT Used

No false reports known.

Aircraft Losses and Incidents

To be added.


Main Headquarters

Each of the five Australian states has its own Police Air Wing, administered and funded by the state government. The Tasmania Police share use of Tasmanian EMS helicopters and don’t have a separate police air wing. In addition, the Federal Government in Canberra has the Australian Federal Police, which operates in the Australian Capital Territory, nationwide and internationally.

Organisational Structure

Each Air Wing has its own organisational structure.

Current Unit Assignments

Table of Current Unit Assignments

Historical Unit Assignments

To be added.

All-Time Flying Units List

Units Listing

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

See unit assignments.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

To be added.

More Information


None known


To be added

Websites Australia

Any photographs illustrating these operators would be welcome.


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