No. 80 Squadron Returns to Service: Royal Australian Air Force Joint Reformation Ceremony

In a joint reformation ceremony held at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida on April 15th, the Royal Australian Air Force officially welcomed back No. 80 Squadron into service, alongside personnel from the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.

The squadron’s revival marks a significant milestone as it now focuses on mission data programming and software development for F-35 aircraft types in Australia and the United Kingdom. This initiative is part of the Australia, Canada, and United Kingdom Reprogramming Laboratory.

Commander Chris Wilcox RN, the squadron’s new commanding officer, expressed excitement about the prospects the reformed squadron offers, emphasizing its role at the forefront of software and data-enabled weapons systems. He highlighted the autonomy afforded to the squadron in its operations, fostering innovation and development for warfighters.

The No. 80 Squadron comprises personnel from the United Kingdom, with roughly half of its contingent consisting of individuals from the Royal Navy, including aircrew, air engineers, and electronic warfare specialists. Jeff Goodwin, an electronic warfare leading hand from the Royal Navy, praised the opportunity to work on F-35 mission data reprogramming in Florida, describing it as a rewarding experience that broadened his expertise.

The squadron’s name carries historical significance, having been utilized by both the Royal Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force in the past. Originally formed in 1943 as a fighter squadron equipped with P-40 Kittyhawk fighter aircraft, the Royal Australian Air Force’s No. 80 Squadron played a crucial role in World War II, undertaking various missions against Imperial Japanese forces in the Pacific.

Similarly, the Royal Air Force’s No. 80 Squadron, established in 1917, served on multiple fronts, including World War I and World War II, before being disbanded in 1969. The revival of No. 80 Squadron represents a continuation of its esteemed legacy, now geared towards modern challenges in air warfare.

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