No 41 (Radio Direction Finding) Wing was formed

16 Feb 1943

Motto: Pass not Unseen

Battle Honours: Moresby 1943, New Britain 1943, Pacific 1943-44, Markham Valley 1943-44, New Guinea 1943 – 44, Milne Bay

No 41 (Radio Direction Finding) Wing was initially formed on 16th February 1943 in Papua, near Port Moresby, and operated under complex command and control arrangements involving RAAF Headquarters in Melbourne, No 9 Operational Group, and the American Fifth Air Force. 

The role of No 41 Wing was to manage air battle spaces and assigned airspace, as well as training and area-related surveillance. It had four subordinate units: Nos 1 Remote Sensor Unit, 3 Control and Reporting Unit, 114 Mobile Control and Reporting Unit, and the Surveillance and Control Training Unit.

The Wing was formed under the command of FLTLT Bertram F.N. (Bert) Israel. Due to the nature of the war, the Wing headquarters needed to be more mobile, and it was decided to disband the Wing on 31 July 1944. At its peak, it had thirty-seven radar stations under its command.

The Wing was reformed on 2 February 1987 under the command of GPCAPT David T. Bowden as part of a large-scale restructure. It was now part of the Tactical Fighter Group and in command of Nos 2 and 3 Control and Reporting Units, No 114 Mobile Control and Reporting Unit, No 1 Software Support Facility, and from 1 July 1992, No 1 Radar Surveillance Unit.

On 20 January 1997, there was an increase in requirements. Ten Air Traffic Control Flights were transferred to No 41 Wing. On 1 January 1998, Army air traffic functions were transferred to the RAAF and No 41 Wing became the only unit in the Australian Defence Force to provide air command services. To assist with the large workload, No 44 Wing was reactivated on 27 November 2000.

Events that the Wing has participated in include active air defence of the Australian airspace for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Queensland in March 2002.  During Operation Acolyte in support of the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Victoria, the Wing first operated its new AN/TPS-77 Tactical Air Defence Radar System.  This system has been part of the Wing’s management and surveillance role since that time.

In April 2017, No 41 Wing became the only RAAF unit to fully deploy to Afghanistan for Operation Slipper, and in 2011 the Wing took part in Exercise Aces South. In 2019 the Wing participated in Exercise Red Flag and in Exercise Virtual Pitch Black in 2020.

To learn more see this extract from Units of the Royal Australian Air Force by Despina Tramoundanis.