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 aviators who have basic military skills, knowledge and behaviours to become effective members of the Air Force team. This transformation occurs over nine weeks of training.


The Australian Defence Force has a workforce comprised 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 Australian Defence Force (ADF), 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 Defence values: Service, Courage, Respect, Integrity and Excellence.


The 1RTU philosophy of training is to enhance qualities already possessed by the recruits 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 the moral and ethical behaviour expected of all members of the Royal Australian Air Force.


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.