RAAF Patch Sqn Royal Australian Air Force b 33 Squadron 707
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RAAF Patch Sqn Royal Australian Air Force b 33 Squadron 707

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  • Item #: 1P 51AS 1AAF 01SQN 2OP 0033SQ 01
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RAAF Patch 33 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force Boeing 707 Patch 1990s VIP Transport Refuelling RAAF Base Richmond Embroidered on twill merrowed edge 84mm three and five sixteenth inches diameter.

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33 Squadron was reactivated on 1 July 1983 at RAAF Richmond on the reorganization and redesignation of 33 Flight equipped with two ex Quantas Airline and two Worldways Canada Boeing 707 aircraft for long range passenger VIP and freight transport. The Squadron was responsible for transporting VIPs including members of the British Royal Family the Governor-General the Prime Minister and the Pope and provided the first RAAF aircraft to land in the Soviet Union for the funeral of Konstantin Chernenko in 1985.

The Squadron came under the control of 86 Wing part of the newly established Air Lift Group in February 1987 with routine aircraft maintenance undertaken by 486 Squadron while Qantas carried out heavier maintenance of the 707 aircraft at its Mascot maintenance base.

Three additional 707 aircraft were obtained from Boeing Military in February 1988 with one airframes non flying for spares which was nicknamed Hulksbury. Four of 33 Squadrons six serviceable aircraft were converted to in flight refuelling tankers by a consortium of Israel Aerospace Industries and Hawker de Havilland between December 1988 and May 1992 although the drogue configuration could not refuel the RAAFs F 111 aircraft. The Squadron transported 300 Australian Army personnel to Namibia as part of the Australian contribution to the United Nations Transition Assistance Group UNTAG to police Namibias transition to independence in April 1989 and ferried the public around Australia during domestic airline industrial disputes later in 1989 and again in 1991 following the collapse of Compass Airlines. One of the Squadrons two transport configured 707 aircraft crashed into the sea during a training flight out of East Sale Victoria on 29 October 1991with all five crew members killed. 33 Squadron transported Australian troops to and from Somalia as part of Operation Solace in 1993.

33 Squadron was reassigned to 84 Wing in January 1998 with two tanker aircraft forming Detachment A 84 Wing in Kuwait as part of Operation Southern Watch and on 5 March 1998 undertook its first combat aerial tanker mission when it refueled six RAF Tornado fighter bombers over Saudi Arabia and continued with coalition refuelling of USN FA 18 Hornets EA 6 Prowlers and AV 8 Harriers as well as RAF Harriers and Tornados. Two of 33 Squadrons 707 tankers formed 84 Wing Detachment at Manas Air Base Kyrgyzstan from March to September 2002 as part of Australias contribution to the war in Afghanistan again providing aerial refuelling to coalition aircraft earning the Wing a Meritorious Unit Citation.

33 Squadron relinquished its VIP transport role to 34 Squadron in 2002 after its aging 707 transport aircraft became non compliant with upgraded noise and emission regulations around the world. The Squadron retired its 707 aircraft and relocated to RAAF Amberley on 1 July 2008 without aircraft to work up to Airbus KC 30A Multi Role Tanker Transports equipped with both drogue and boom delivery systems due at the end of 2008 for air refuelling and transport tasking. Delivery of the KC 30A aircraft was delayed while technical problems were ironed out and tankers were leased from the United States Air Force and Omega Air to meet aerial refuelling requirements. The Squadron received its first KC 30A on 1 June 2011 and its fifth on 3 December 2012. The Squadron achieved initial operating capability in February 2013 with final operating capability with both boom and drogue delivery systems reached in 2014. Two more KC 30As have been ordered for delivery in 2018.


This patch dates from the 1990s.

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