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4  International Tartan Day - April 6th

Canada's Air Force, 6/4/2008


Today, as the Air Force celebrates its 84th year of service to Canadians, there is much to reflect upon, and much more to look forward to.

From its genesis on April 1, 1924 as the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), Canada's Air Force has been a strong and proud force, ensuring the security of Canadians while contributing to peace - sometimes at a cost of great sacrifice. This sacrifice continues today, as men and women contribute to the economic, environmental and military security of Canadians. Whether watching over the approaches to North America or flying into Afghanistan and many other corners of the world, the Air Force continues to be relevant and responsive to the security needs of Canadians.



The birth of the RCAF was not an overnight event. It was achieved through a transition period that went on from the creation of the Air Board in 1919, the Canadian Air Force in 1920, and a major reorganisation that culminated in 1924 with the proclamation of a new "Royal" Canadian Air Force. Soon after the royal assent was given by King George V, the new RCAF adopted the sky blue uniforms and insignias patterned after those of the RAF.



Over the years, the RCAF developed from a relatively small force, which also carried out many civilian tasks during its early years, to the fourth largest Allied air power of the Second World War. Since then, Canada's Air Force has continued to evolve - through the establishment of NORAD with our close neighbour, the United States, unification and the disbandment of the RCAF, the creation of Air Command within a unified command structure, the Cold War, and the post 9/11 era - to become the modern, flexible,and well-respected Air Force of today.

Canada's Air Force of the 21st century generates and maintains operationally-ready, combat capable, multi-purpose air forces to meet Canada's defence objectives, including support to domestic and international operations. Its roles include:

  • Surveillance and control of Canadian airspace;

  • World-wide airlift of Canadian Forces personnel and material;

  • Support to Navy and Army operations;

  • Support to other government departments;

  • Search and rescue; and

  • Humanitarian operations