Celebrating 80 Years Of The RNZAF With Our Friends
The New Zealand Permanent Air Force (NZPAF) was formed from New Zealand elements of the British Royal Air Force, and it became an independent force in 1923. Despite the formation of this sercvice, many New Zealand aircrew continued to serve in the Royal Air Force until the end of the 1940s.In 1934 the NZPAF was renamed the Royal New Zealand Air Force and it officially became an independent service in 1937. Thus 2017 marks the service's 80th birthday. The RNZAF fought in World War II, Malaysia, the Korean War, Vietnam and the Gulf War plus various United Nations peacekeeping missions. From a 1945 peak of over 1,000 combat aircraft the RNZAF has shrunk to a strength of around 51 aircraft in 2016, focusing on maritime patrol and transport duties in support of the Royal New Zealand Navy and the New Zealand Army.
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RNZAF Base Ohakea is an operational base which was first opened in 1939. An air base was originally proposed in the area in 1927, when Ohakea was selected as the most suitable site for a mooring mast for airships of the British Imperial Airship service. It was proposed to build one mast for a demonstration flight, with the potential for expansion to a full airship base with three masts, airship sheds and hydrogen production. However, there was no point in going ahead with the development of the site without a commitment from the Australian Government to build masts to provide bases in that country. When the Australian Government declined to build masts, the New Zealand Government declined likewise.During the Second World War, Ohakea was the RNZAF's main training base for operational conversion to fighters, observers/navigators for medium bombers and air gunners. After the war, Nos 14, 42 and 75 Squadrons were re-formed at Ohakea.