With 2018 marking 100 years since the Royal Air Force was formed, it only seems fitting to celebrate the achievements and successes of the developments within the aerospace industry over this period.
And what better way to do that than take a look at the advancements and developments the aerospace industry has seen over the past century?
So, here are some of the major things that have happened since the RAF was formed.
The Origins of the RAF
The Royal Air Force was founded on 1st April 1918 with the merging of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. It was controlled by the British Government Air Ministry which was established three months earlier. These two services merged to respond to the events of World War I.
The newly created RAF became the most powerful air force in the world upon its creation as it contained 20,000 aircrafts and 300,000 personnel.
World War I
As with the beginning of many technologies, they were basic. This was true when speaking of the aircrafts used during the First World War.
The primitive nature of the first planes used in conflict meant that soldiers had to drop bombs by hand, hanging over the side of open cockpits before dropping them below.
Strides were made during WW1 but the Royal Air Force could only watch these new developments from the German forces unfold. The Germans flew in their large Zeppelins, launching their first air attacks as they targeted London.
World War II
Some years after World War I, the Second World War began. One of the pivotal moments for the independent RAF during this period was the Battle of Britain, which commenced in 1940. At the time, an air battle was occurring, as our Spitfires and Hurricanes of Fighter Command were battling the German Luftwaffe.
Compared to the aircrafts used in the First World War, these were stronger, sturdier, faster and safer for the pilots. The aircrafts needed to be stronger to cope with the tests they were facing in battle, and that they were.
During the Second World War, the RAF played an important part and made critical contributions during two other notable campaigns. These were the Battle of the Atlantic, where the long-range patrol aircraft of Coastal Command played a crucial part in defeating the U-boats, and Burma, where RAF transport aircrafts were the only providers of army supplies and reinforcements over long distances and in the jungle.
The Continuation of Success
The RAF has been involved in some historic events, including the first Gulf War, showing the exploits and achievements of the Royal Air Force in the first century it has existed.
Throughout the 100 years since the RAF was created, it has been involved in almost continuous air operations around the world.
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To find out more about the numerous celebrations and events occurring near you, take a look at the RAF’s ‘What’s On’ listings.