Air Combat Group
Formed in January 2002
Air Combat Group

Air Combat Group commands all the Royal Australian Air Force's fast-jet combat aircraft to deliver Australia's capability to control the air and conduct precision strike. Headquarters Air Combat Group (HQ ACG) commands three operational wings:

  • No 78 Wing conducts operational training (ground and air) on the F/A-18B Hornet and Hawk at Nos 76 and 79 Squadrons
  • No 81 Wing controls the air with Nos 3, 75 and 77 Squadrons (all F/A-18 Hornet squadrons) and No 2 Operational Conversion Unit
  • No 82 Wing strikes designated targets and conducts reconnaissance with Nos 1 and 6 Squadrons (Hornets) and Forward Air Combat Development Unit (PC-9/A)

Air Combat Group is one of the largest Force Element Groups in the Air Force with 145 aircraft, 163 aircrew and 2000 support personnel based across Australia. It is responsible for all of the Air Force ’s F/A-18 Hornet and Hawk squadrons, plus PC-9/A Forward Air Control aircraft. Units that make up Air Combat Group are based at:

  • RAAF Base Amberley, near Brisbane, Queensland
  • RAAF Base Williamtown, near Newcastle, New South Wales
  • RAAF Base Pearce, near Perth, Western Australia
  • RAAF Base Tindal, near Katherine, Northern Territory

Air Combat Group was formed in January 2002 by merging the Tactical Fighter Group and Strike Reconnaissance Group. The merger enhanced our ability to deploy combat air power in a prompt, effective and highly integrated manner. HQ Air Combat Group is at RAAF Base Williamtown.

Since its formation, Air Combat Group squadrons have experienced a level of operational activity not seen in many years. F/A-18 Hornets were deployed to provide air defence as part of Operation Slipper (international coalition against terror) in Diego Garcia and again during Operation Guardian II to protect the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in south-east Queensland. Air Combat Group personnel, including a F/A-18 Hornet squadron, also deployed to Iraq in 2003 as part of Operation Falconer, providing air defence for high-value assets such as Airborne Early Warning and Control Aircraft, close air support for ground troops and striking enemy targets.

Air Combat Group also maintains a busy training schedule for both air and ground crew on the F/A-18 Hornet and Hawk. Highlights have been providing support to Operation Acolyte (Melbourne Commonwealth Games 2006) and participation in high-end exercises such as Exercise Pitch Black in Australia and Exercise Red Flag in the United States.