Goodbye RAuxAF, hello Royal Air Force Reserves!

The Royal Air Force (RAF) has announced the formal adoption of the term Royal Air Force Reserves to describe members of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force (RAuxAF) and Air Force Reserve

With effect from 1 September 2020, the Royal Air Force will cease use of the terms Royal Auxiliary Air Force and Air Force Reserve, or their abbreviations, when describing or referring to reservists within those forces. The overarching term RAF Reserves will be used instead.

 The Reserve Forces Act 1996 (RFA96) will be changed to adopt the term RAF Reserves in place of the extant reserve air forces. RFA 96 makes provision for the establishment of the Air Force Reserve and the Royal Auxiliary Air Force which, together, form the reserve air forces. This 3-way terminology hinders incorporation of the reserves in the Whole Force as it is overly complex and is not well understood either within or external to the RAF. Therefore, to aid integration and simplify terminology a single term which encapsulates all reserves shall be adopted.

This initiative forms part of the AstraO Reserves Optimisation project which is being led by RAF Chief of Staff Reserves and the Commandant General RAuxAF , the RAuxAF Inspectorate and HQ Air Reserves. Air Vice-Marshal R T I Munro CBE TD DL was appointed to the new post of Chief of Staff Reserves, Headquarters Air Command with effect from 2 July 2020. Air Vice-Marshal Munro remains Commandant General Royal Auxiliary Air Force, a post he was appointed to in September 2019 after serving three years as the Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff for Reserves and Cadets, the most senior reservist role in the British Armed Forces.

The announcement specifies that squadrons and leadership roles will retain the use of the terms in their titles to maintain the heritage and ethos of that Force. Use of the post nominals ‘Royal Auxiliary Air Force’, ‘Royal Air Force Reserve’ or their abbreviations will also cease. The only permissible post nominal for Reserves is ‘VR’.

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