Royal Guelphian Air Force

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Royal Guelphian Air Force
Badge of the Royal Guelphian Air Force
Founded 1 March 1938
Type Air force
Size 7,229
Part of Guelphian Defence Force
Headquarters Gatehouse Square
Kingsbury, CENT
Motto Ad Astra Per Aspera
March Aces High (Listen)
Mascot Guelphian Eagle (Aquila guelphii)
Chief of Staff Air Vice-Marshal John Westcott
Roundels Roundel.png Roundel-low.png
Identification symbol Flag-airforce.png

The Royal Guelphian Air Force or RGAF is the air branch of the Guelphian Defence Force. The RGAF has a small but potent combat force that has a proud history of proving itself to be capable against much larger forces.

The present size of the RGAF reflects the small size of the Guelphian Defence Force in general. However, the RGAF is able to boast a capable force of 7,000 full-time personnel and just over 500 aircraft, making is perfectly capable of defending Guelphia's air space against an infraction from any foreign power. The professional head of the Royal Guelphian Air Force is the Chief of the Air Force Staff, currently Air Marshal John Westcott, who is assisted by the Air Commander to oversee the five operational groups that make up the modern air force. The Chief of the Air Force Staff in turn reports to the Chief of the Defence Force Staff, and is a member of the Joint Defence Headquarters Chiefs of Staff Council.


The strength and size of the RGAF reflects Guelphia’s commitment to a doctrine of Total Defence, as outlined in the Defence Readiness Act[1]. The RGAF is required to maintain its capability of defending and maintaining superiority over the airspace of the realm from an external threat, and in tandem with the Navy and Army, neutralise any threat as it emerges.

The Total Defence doctrine also requires the RGAF to maintain an active reserve force of appropriate size, and train a number of national serviceman each year in order to keep the active reserve force fully capable.


Formation and the inter-war period

Unlike other Commonwealth armed forces, neither the Royal Guelphian Navy nor the Guelphian Army maintained any flying units during the First World War. The Guelphian Ministry of Defence rejected proposals from both services during the war to establish air arms, believing that it would redirect precious funds away from providing the high quality equipment the government felt obliged to provide it’s sailors and soldiers on the field of battle. Where Guelphia's forces required air cover, units from Australia or the United Kingdom where provided to fulfil this role.

The end of the war brought the wholesale demobilisation of the Guelphian Defence Force, therefore further delaying the need for the establishment of any sort of air force. The 1920s saw a whole cut back in defence funding to the point where the existing Navy and Army were essentially run by skeleton outfits. This massive downsizing, coupled with the Great Depression from 1929, made forming an air force an expensive luxury which the Guelphian military establishment refused to consider under any circumstances. This view remained dominant until the threat of war in Europe, coupled with rise of Japanese aggression in China made it a necessity to form an air force for the first time.

The Guelphian Air Force came into existence on 1 March 1938, when the government decided to follow British and Australian practice and form an independent air arm of the Defence Force. Up to that point, very few Guelphian personnel had ever flown in combat, and so former RAF pilots and trainers were recruited under a special immigration scheme to migrate to Guelphia and form the backbone of the new air force. King Philip I approved the prefix "Royal" in June 1939 and became effective on 1 September 1939, the day Nazi Germany launched its offensive against Poland.

Second World War

Africa and the Middle East



Modern times

The F-16 Fighting Falcon has become the primary fighter aircraft of the RGAF since 2003
Since the Korean War, the RGAF has not directly participated in another military conflict. The only exception has been participation in United Nations missions, where No. 15 (Air Transport) Group has been involved in peacekeeping operations, as well as assisting allied air forces from Europe on humanitarian operations in the Asia-Pacific region, such as the 1998 Papua New Guinea earthquake and the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. Most recently, units were sent to Kaupelan in late 2014 assist with recovery efforts after an earthquake devastated parts of the archipelago. Several squadrons have been rotated to duties within the Joint Taskforce Command to facilitate Guelphia's contribution to these missions.

The 1990s saw Guelphia undertake the acquisition of new aircraft to replace the F-4 Phantom fighter and Iroquois helicopter with a new generation of aircraft. With an easing in global tensions at the end of the Cold War, the urgency to conduct a large scale rearmament of the RGAF was somewhat diminished. Despite this, Guelphia succeeded in renewing the fleet of jet fighters, with the fourth-generation fighter aircraft now becoming standard. Likewise, the Iroquois helicopter fleet that had been acquired in the last quarter of the twentieth century has been replaced by state-of-the-art machines more capable than their predecessors. This reflects the general consensus is that while Guelphia's security situation remains benign, a ready and active air force is essential for the Total Defence doctrine of the realm.

For its part, the RGAF has continued its long partnership with US and European aerospace companies, with virtually all its fleet of fighters, helicopters, transport planes, and training aircraft coming from Britain or the United States. On all of these new generation projects, Guelphia was involved from the beginning therefore giving it a leading role in the design and construction of these aircraft. Most recently, Guelphia's Aérospatiale Panther helicopter fleet was constructed locally on licence from its European parent.


Current strength


As of February 2013, the RGAF has 1,716 permanent full-time personnel, 4,904 part-time active reserve personnel, and 609 conscript personnel.


The Royal Guelphian Air Force currently operates 141 aircraft, with 57 fixed wing and 84 helicopters in service as of February 2013.

Aircraft Origin Type Entered service In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon  United States Multirole fighter 2003 24 Operated by Nos. 1 and 3 SQNS. Replaced the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II.
Bell AH-1 Cobra  United States Attack helicopter 1980 12 Army co-operation. Operated by No. 9 SQN.
Aérospatiale AS565 MA Panther  France Anti-submarine warfare 1996 12 Fleet co-operation. Operated by No. 10 SQN. Replaced the Bell UH-1N Twin Huey.
TAI/AgustaWestland T-129  Turkey/ Italy Attack helicopter 2015 0 (12 on order) Replacement for the Bell AH-1 Cobra. To be operated by the Helicopter Transition Unit, then No. 9 SQN.
Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules  United States Heavy transport 2006 12 Operated by No. 15 SQN. Replaced the Douglas DC-6A.
Aérospatiale AS565 UA Panther  France Utility helicopter 1994 12 Army co-operation. Operated by No. 32 SQN. Replaced the Bell UH-1 Iroquois.
Embraer Legacy 600 Embraer Legacy 600  Brazil VIP transport 2004 6 Operated by the Special Transport Flight. Replaced the Hawker Siddeley HS 748.
Embraer Lineage 1000 Embraer Lineage 1000  Brazil VIP transport 2016 0 (2 on order) To be operated by the Special Transport Flight.
Maritime surveillance
Lockheed P-3C Orion  United States Maritime surveillance 1972 3 Operated by the No. 16 SQN.

Ranks and uniform

Symbols, flags, and emblems

As is traditional in all services of the Guelphian Defence Force, the Royal Guelphian Air Force has adopted symbols to represent it, act as a rallying point for its members and encourage esprit de corps. To that end, the principal emblems of the RGAF are the ensign and the roundel.

The ensign is a light blue flag with the badge of the RGAF in the centre of the field. The ensign is flown from the flagstaff on every air force station during daylight hours. The design was approved by Philip I in 1939.

The roundel is based on that of the Royal Air Force, with the colours of red, white, and blue substituted for the Guelphian national colours of blue and gold. To assist camouflage, a low colour version of the roundel also exists.

The motto of the RGAF is "Ad Astra Per Aspera", which is usually translated from the Latin to "Through Hardships to the Stars". The motto is similar to those used in other Commonwealth countries whose air forces can trace back their linage to the Royal Air Force.

However, unlike a number of other Commonwealth nations who use the "Royal Air Force March Past", the march of the RGAF is the "Aces High" march from the film Battle of Britain.

References and notes

  1. Defence Readiness Act (Public Act No. 97 of 1984).

Other links

Template:Royal Guelphian Air Force