Air Force of Zimbabwe Key Dates
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Zimbabwe
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Key Dates


November 1935    Rhodesian Regiment Air Unit established on a Territorial basis
1936    Airmen join the Permanent Staff Corps of the Southern Rhodesia Defence Forces
1936    First group of apprentices sent to RAF Halton in the UK for training as ground crew
1937    Air Unit renamed Southern Rhodesia Air Unit (SRAU)
13 May 1938    First trainee pilots awarded their wings
August 1939    Territorial Force members of the Air Unit called-up for full time service
28 August 1939    Air Unit deployed to Kenya
19 September 1939    Air Unit officially becomes the Southern Rhodesia Air Force, and Air Unit flights become No.1 Squadron
4 January 1940    Formation of Rhodesian Air Training Group (RATG) announced
April 1940    SRAF absorbed into Royal Air Force and No.1 Sqn redesignated 237 (Rhodesia) Squadron
May 1940    RATG starts training operations
1 June 1941    Southern Rhodesian Women's Auxiliary Air Services inaugurated
20 August 1941    266 Squadron RAF received the name 'Rhodesia' after its number
12 September 1941    44 Squadron RAF received the name 'Rhodesia' after its number
28 November 1947    Southern Rhodesia Air Force re-established as a permanent unit
July 1949    Auxiliary Air Force formed for refresher training of experienced aircrew
22 March 1951    First Spitfires arrive to equip two new fighter squadrons
September 1952    New Sarum air base opened
September 1953    SRAF renamed Rhodesian Air Force upon creation of Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland
12 December 1953    First jet aircraft delivered - the de Havilland Vampire
January 1954    Rhodesian Air Training Group closed down
15 October 1954    'Royal' prefix added to the title of the Rhodesian Air Force
late 1957    RRAF fighter squadrons begin annual deployments to the Middle East as part of Commonwealth commitment
21 February 1959    First RRAF internal security mission - in Nyasaland
1961    RRAF Volunteer Reserve established
June 1961    First co-operation exercises with SAAF
1962    First helicopters delivered
31 December 1963    RRAF reverts to Southern Rhodesia control when Federation breaks up
28 April 1966    'Battle of Sinoia' - first notable anti-guerrilla operation by the RRAF
1 March 1970    'Royal' prefix dropped - Rhodesian Air Force. New 'lion' roundel adopted.
1973    Start of 'Fireforce' hunter-killer helicopter operations against guerrillas
1977    ComOps (Combined Operations Headquarters) formed to coordinate air-land operations
23 November 1977    Operation Dingo - attack on Chimoio guerrilla camp in Mozambique
18 October 1978    Operation Gatling - attack on Westlands Farm (Chikumbi) guerrilla base in Zambia
26 February 1979    Operation Vanity - attack on guerrilla base Vila da Lusa in central Angola
3 March 1979    Country renamed Zimbabwe-Rhodesia but air force title unchanged
5 September 1979    Operation Uric - attack on FRELIMO base at Mapai & bridges at Barragem in Mozambique
1 October 1979    Operation Miracle - attack on ZANU guerrilla camps around Chimoio in Mozambique
18 April 1980    Air Force renamed Air Force of Zimbabwe
25 July 1982    Sabotage explosion at Thornhill air base destroys 10 aircraft and damages another four
1983-93    Support to Army operations in Mozambique
1986    First women accepted for pilot training
June 1998    Start of military intervention in the Democratic Republic of Congo


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First Created: 22 June 2008 - Last Revised: 22 June 2008
Copyright © 2008 John Hayles.     e-mail: john@aeroflight.co.uk