No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit
Formed on 6 April 1942 at Port Pirie
No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit

Support the preparation for and the conduct of effective airspace control, counter air strike and combat air support operations through the provision of trained personnel.

F/A-18A & F/A-18B Hornets

2OCU’s primary mission is to train fighter pilots. We run Operational Conversion Courses for new pilots to the Hornet, Operational Refresher Courses for former Hornet pilots returning to the aircraft, and Fighter Combat Instructor Courses to provide postgraduate qualifications for selected aircrew.

Primarily the trades and specialisations employed at 2OCU are:Aircraft and Avionics Technicians; Explosive Ordnance Specialists; Life Support Fitters; Aircraft Structural Fitters; Aircraft Surface Finishers; Armament, Electrical and Aeronautical Engineers; Suppliers; Clerk Suppliers; Clerks; Administrative and Logistics Officers and Pilots.

No.2(F) Operational Training Unit was formed at Port Pirie, SA, on 6 April 1942, and operated initially with Wirraways and Fairey Battles. During May 1942 the unit moved to Mildura and soon acquired a wide variety of aircraft including Kittyhawks, Vultee Vengeances, Avro Ansons, Boomerangs, Spitfires and Oxfords.

In March 1943, the unit became associated with Williamtown, NSW, when the Spitfire section became a lodger unit. The wartime History of 2OTU was one of high achievement. At the conclusion of the Pacific War, the unit was converted to a care and maintenance unit; final disbandment came on 25 March 1947.

2OTU was reformed at Williamtown on 1 March 1952 to satisfy an acute shortage of trained fighter pilots for 77 Squadrons valuable contribution to the United Nations force in Korea. Advanced training was transferred to the Vampire jet which continued until September 1958. In November 1958, a Sabre Trials Flight was introduced at 2OTU and Sabre courses were commenced on 1 January 1959 to train Sabre pilots for the four Sabre Squadrons.

On 1 September 1958, the unit was renamed No.2 Operational Conversion Unit (2OCU). The first Mirage aircraft arrived in Willamtown in March 1964. With the arrival of the Mirage IIIO fighter the role of 2OCU was expanded to include advanced pilot training on this type of aircraft. The first Mirage course commenced in September 1964.

The first Macchi aircraft allocated to 2OCU arrived at Williamtown in October 1969, and these aircraft gradually replaced the Vampire aircraft as the interim advanced trainer between "Wings" graduation and Sabre Conversion.
The reformation of No5 Operational Training Unit (5OTU) on the 1 April 1970 made 2OCU responsible only for Mirage conversion and operational training.

In July 1971, the Sabre was phased out and as a result 5OTU was disbanded and Macchi advanced training responsibilities were reverted to 2OCU. From September 1971 to December 1984, 2OCU conducted Macchi/Mirage courses to train fighter pilots for the three operational Mirage squadrons of the RAAF. Fighter Combat Instructors courses were also conducted during this period.

In December 1984, all 2OCU Mirage and Macchi aircraft were transferred to No77 Squadron as 2OCU prepared for the introduction into service of the F/A-18 Hornet. 2OCU recieved its first Hornet in May 1985 and commenced Hornet pilot training in August 1985. In July 1987, 2OCU was given the responsibility for Macchi training, which in January 1989 was passed to the reformed No76 Squadron at Williamtown.

Since the units inception, its Commanding Officers and staff have included the most experienced personnel available for fighter aircraft operations. This has contributed to 2OCU's exceptionally high standard of efficiency and safety since its beginning in 1942.