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Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU)

Aeronautical Research and Development Unit Crest

Originally formed at Laverton, Victoria as No 1 Air Performance Unit in December 1943, the Unit was responsible for carrying out flight trials of new aircraft as well as aircraft modifications.

During the War flying trials included Spitfire, Beaufighter and Boomerang performance tests, as well as evaluations on various aircraft modifications including gun, radar and bombsight installations. In addition, the Unit carried out performance tests on captured Japanese 'Oscar' and 'Tony' fighters.

Following the War the Unit was involved in tests on the CA-15 prototype, a Meteor Mk3, Lincoln bomber and De-Havilland Sea Hornet.

The unit was renamed Aircraft Research and Development Unit in 1947, with detachments operating in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales. By February 1977, ARDU had relocated to Edinburgh, South Australia, from where it continues its vital role of testing and evaluating both aircraft and weaponry in the RAAF inventory. ARDU has flown trials and development sorties on every aircraft in the ADF inventory, including F-111, Mirage, Macchi, Kiowa, Blackhawk and F/A-18.

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