The Royal Australian Air Force Ensign was approved in its current form by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1981 and proclaimed an Australian Flag by His Excellency the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1982. This effectively made the Ensign the Battle Ensign of the RAAF. Accordingly, the Ensign is always to be treated with the dignity and respect befitting the proud history of the RAAF.
With the formation of the Royal Australian Air Force on 31 March 1921, as the successor to the Australian Flying Corps which had been established by the Australian Army in 1913, it was decided to have an Ensign which could reflect the national identity of our military aircraft and would include a distinctive roundel. However, while a specific RAAF Ensign was formally approved by Air Board and the then Minister for Defence on 10 August 1921, it was not processed for Royal approval. Consequently, the RAF Ensign was adopted without change by the RAAF and was flown until 1948.
The RAF Ensign is a light blue (Air Force Blue) British Ensign emblazoned with a large RAF Roundel. This Roundel consists of concentric circles of red, white and dark blue.
In 1948 it was decided to have an Ensign that would better reflect an Australian identity. Consequently the Southern Cross and the Commonwealth Star were added and the Roundel, although retained, was reduced in size. This design was granted Royal approval in October 1948.
From 1948 to 1982 the RAAF flew the RAAF Ensign (without the Red Kangaroo). This was a light-blue ensign with a Roundel in the lower fly and the Southern Cross on the fly. On 2 July 1956 a unique Australian roundel was formally adopted for use on ADF aircraft where the RAF central red circle was replaced with a red kangaroo in motion. However, the Air Force Ensign with its British Roundel was not altered until 1982.
On 6 May 1982, the current RAAF Ensign received Royal approval. The only change in design was the replacement of the RAF style Roundel with the RAAF Roundel introduced in 1956.
A proclamation was made by the Governor-General on 6 May 1982 recognising the ensign (described in the Schedule) under section 5 of the Flags Act 1953 as the ensign of the Royal Australian Air Force and to be known as the Royal Australian Air Force Ensign.
The RAAF Ensign is flown on all RAAF Bases and establishments with ceremonial protocols applied to how it is raised and lowered. The Ensign may also be carried as part of a ceremonial parade or used to cover the coffin at a RAAF military funeral.
The Ensign maybe used by service related organisations (e.g; the RAAF Association, RSL sub branches, etc) at ceremonies such as Anzac Day parades or Remembrance Day services. The RAAF Ensign may also be used at funerals to cover the coffin of a retired member of the RAAF.
The RAAF Ensign is not to be used for commercial or other profit making purposes with out the authority of Air Force Headquarters.
The manufacture, purchase and use of the RAAF Ensign is strictly controlled. The RAAF does not donate Ensigns to individuals, organisations or businesses. However, service related organisations and funeral directors may apply to Air Force Headquarters for permission to purchase an Ensign. If approved, guidelines for the use of the RAAF Ensign will be provided with the certificate of authority
To obtain permission please send a written application, with your contact details, to the following address:
Air Force Headquarters
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