The role of No 1 Recruit Training Unit (1RTU) is to prepare recruits, newly enlisted Air Force men and women, for military service. Recruit training involves the transformation of civilians into airmen and airwomen who have basic military knowledge to become effective members of the Air Force team. This transformation occurs over 11 weeks of training, culminating in a graduation parade.

The Australian Defence Force has a workforce composed of commissioned officers and enlisted members. All Air Force enlisted members begin their career at 1RTU. Indeed, 1RTU is responsible for two-thirds of the Air Force’s initial training. The remainder is conducted by Officer Training School and the Australian Defence Force Academy, where commissioned officers are trained.

Teamwork, self-discipline, ‘esprit de corps’, and the development of respect for the values of the Air Force, play a vital role in the training at 1RTU. Consequently, the instructional staff at 1RTU, which includes Military Skills Instructors (MSIs), Airfield Defence Guards (ADGs) and Physical Training Instructors (PTIs), as well as other support staff, must embody all the aspects of Air Force values – Respect, Excellence, Agility, Dedication, Integrity and Teamwork.

The 1RTU philosophy of training is to take the qualities already possessed by the recruits, and build on them through instruction, ‘learning by doing’, coaching and mentoring. Making an honest effort, making and learning from mistakes, and doing better next time are essential features of the training process. Importantly, there is a strong emphasis on ‘Airmanship’, which focuses on the moral and ethical behaviour expected of all members of the Royal Australian Air Force.

The quality of instructional staff at 1RTU is a key to graduating airmen and airwomen that the Air Force can be proud of. One of the aspects that enhances Air Force training is our MSIs come from a diverse range of backgrounds. Any airman or airwoman may apply to become an MSI and if successful, they are able to apply for a posting to 1RTU as an instructor. As a result, our pool of MSIs has a range of ranks, experience, musterings (trades), age, gender and background. This diversity offers recruits the very best training opportunities and exposure to a wide range of military and personal experience.

Although subject to recruiting targets, 1RTU can train up to 1200 recruits per year. Recruits are delivered training in very modern facilities that were built in 2008 incorporating sustainable and aesthetic designs, while retaining a military character. In addition to a classroom environment, recruits are exposed to field conditions in our Ground Defence Training Area, and will also undertake live weapon qualifications on a military firing range.

Recruit training is all about delivering members to the Air Force who have mastered basic military knowledge and skills. Recruits graduate with the rank of Aircraftman or Aircraftwoman; however, this is only the start of their training as most 1RTU graduates still need to complete mustering specific initial employment training before posting into the wider Air Force.


To mark the completion of the Royal Australian Air Force Recruit Course, recruits and their instructors take part in a ceremonial parade.

Families and friends of recruits are invited to attend the Graduation Parade at RAAF Base Wagga, Forest Hill, NSW. Graduation parades are held to acknowledge the completion of the Recruit Course for both Permanent and Reserve members joining the RAAF. The Graduation Parade gives family and friends the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of graduating airmen and airwomen.