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HISTORY: Royal Air Force centenary infographic
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Britain commemorates 100 years of the Royal Air Force

Graphic News

April 1, 2018 -- The Royal Air Force celebrates its 100th birthday, marked by special events, activities and other initiatives at local, regional and national levels running from April to the end of November 2018.

Formed towards the end of World War I in April 1918, the RAF is the world’s oldest air force to become independent of army or navy control.

1924: Fleet Air Arm formed from RAF units operating at sea

1940: During World War II, RAF defends UK from German air attacks in Battle of Britain

1940-45: Campaign by RAF Bomber Command includes night attacks on German cities such as Hamburg and Dresden, and “Dambusters” raid

1948-49: In first major crisis of Cold War, RAF provides 17 percent of all supplies delivered during Berlin Airlift

1956-69: RAF’s V Bomber force carries responsibility for UK’s strategic nuclear deterrent

1982: RAF takes part in Falklands War alongside Fleet Air Arm, flying from Ascension Island in mid-Atlantic and Royal Navy aircraft carriers

Post-Cold War: Large-scale RAF operations include two Gulf Wars, Kosovo War in 1999, Afghanistan War and 2011 intervention in Libya

Current: RAF flying combat missions against so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria

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