Celebrating the RCAF’s 94th birthday and more

News Article / March 28, 2018

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The commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Lieutenant-General Mike Hood, recently sent this message to members of the RCAF.

Please join me in celebrating the 94th birthday of the Royal Canadian Air Force on April 1, 2018.

We are marking the 60th anniversary of the NORAD agreement this year, the most successful bi-national alliance in the world. April 1, 2018, is also the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force, which was formed of the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Services.

This summer, the RCAF will participate in RAF 100th anniversary celebrations in the United Kingdom. We have a long relationship that dates back to the very beginnings of our air forces, when Canadian aircrew and groundcrew joined the Royal Flying Corps to fight during the First World War. To a great extent, our shared history, heritage and traditions were established at that time, nurtured during the inter-war period, and solidified during the Second World War.

A new century has not dimmed our connection and members of the RCAF and RAF continue to find themselves serving side-by-side in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq. The RCAF has developed as an independent entity since the First World War, but our shared air power ethos, established during two world wars, and our mutual respect has not changed. The RCAF and RAF approach the future as partners, allies and peers, ready to meet an uncertain future.

Closer to home, we are marking the 60th anniversary of the North American Air (now Aerospace) Defense Command agreement, which was signed May 12, 1958. The agreement created the bi-national command that would be responsible for defending North America’s airspace from any external threats. Throughout its history, NORAD has evolved to meet the ever-changing threats to North America. Modernization saw NORAD expand its mission to include tactical warning and assessment of possible air, missile or space attacks on North America and, in 2006, become responsible for warning of maritime threats to our nations.

We are proud to be allies with the U.S. in our integrated defence of North America. To mark this auspicious anniversary, our 2018 CF-18 Demo Hornet will thrill audiences in Canada and the U.S. in a paint scheme reflecting our NORAD pride.

Your high levels of readiness and daily operational focus enable us to deliver on a wide range of operations for Canada from search and rescue to natural disaster relief across our vast nation, and NORAD and sovereignty operations. In the coming months we will send an Air Task Force to the UN mission in Mali and plan to contribute tactical airlift capability to the UN’s Regional Support Centre in Entebbe, Uganda. This is in addition to what we have contributed to global coalition efforts in the Republic of Iraq and Syria to counter Daesh, and support to NATO assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe.

We will continue to advance projects outlined in Canada’s Defence Policy – Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE) – that span the breadth of RCAF capabilities, but include Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue aircraft, advanced fighter capabilities, the modernization of NORAD, and acquisition of space capabilities to improve situational awareness and targeting, such as the replacement for current RADARSAT system. As well, as articulated in SSE, we will continue to build upon and strengthen our ties with our allies through the UN, NATO, NORAD and the Five-Eyes Network.

As we look towards our 100th anniversary in a few short years, and the start of our second century, we find ourselves in great condition to take on the challenges that this uncertain world will bring us. I am extraordinarily proud to have led this diverse, dedicated and professional team of airmen and airwomen since taking command of the RCAF in 2015.

As you carry out your work in service of Canada and Canadians, I hope you will always be guided by the words of our RCAF motto: “Sic Itur Ad Astra”: Such is the pathway to the stars.

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