The squadron's current operational role is to conduct:
Introductory fast jet flying for RAAF pilots newly graduated from No 2 Flying Training School using Hawk 127 aircraft
Hawk Refresher and Instructor Conversion Courses for previously converted fighter pilots
Introductory Strike Navigation Courses for Navigators proceeding to F-111's
Fleet support to Navy operations
Close air support to Army operations.
What work is undertaken
To fulfil these roles the squadron operates the Hawk 127 Lead-In Fighter and is organised into three flights - Training Flight, Operations Flight and Maintenance Flight.
Training Flight conducts three Introductory Fighter Courses (IFC) each year for newly-graduated pilots and pilots with extensive experience on other Air Force aircraft. The students then go on to F/A-18 or F-111 conversion courses.
Operations Flight is responsible for advanced jet training above and beyond what is taught during IFC, allowing pilots to develop their core flying skills, operational skills and leadership abilities. Operations Flight also provides fleet support to Navy and close air support training to Army.
Maintenance Flight is responsible for the provision of logistic support for Hawk 127 operations at RAAF Base Pearce.
There are four key processes by which Maintenance Flight provides this support:
1. Operate flight line
2. Conduct operational maintenance (OM)
3. Supply spares and consumables (in conjunction with BAE Systems)
4. Conduct ground training (in conjuction with No 278 Squadron).
Logistics support of the Hawk 127 aircraft is carried out in conjunction with BAE Systems, who provide the functions traditionally carried out by a systems program office.
BAE Systems performs 'on aircraft' deeper maintenance and have sub-contracted Airflite Pty Ltd to provide ejection seat maintenance and some other 'off aircraft' maintenance activities.
No. 79 Squadron was formed at Wooloomanata, Victoria, on 26 April 1943. The squadron has been formed and disbanded a total of four times. This is why the squadron crest depicts a phoenix.
The four eras are:
WWII – 1943–45 – Spitfires
Ubon – 1962–68 – CAC Sabres in Ubon, Thailand
Mirage – 1986–88 – Mirage III in Butterworth, Malaysia
Modern – 1998–2000 MB326H Macchi, then 2000–present Hawk 127 at RAAF Base Pearce.
The squadron has seen active service in the following locations:
Goodenough Island, PNG, 1943
Kiriwina Island, PNG, 1943
Los Negros Island, PNG, 1944
New Britian, PNG, 1944
Morotai Island, Indonesian Papua, 1945
Ubon, Thailand 1962–68.
No. 79 Squadron is located at RAAF Base Pearce in Western Australia.