Tally Ho, Old Bean! New British/Australian/Canadian Fighter Squadron Stands Up At Eglin AFB

The No. 80 Squadron stood up at Eglin Air Force Base. The Combined Efforts of the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada will move the Commonwealth's (and the United States') interests forward.

In a moment that blended the old and the new – Eglin Air Force Base witnessed the reactivation of No. 80 Squadron on April 15, 2024. 

The ceremony, installed the new No. 80 Fighter Squadron at Eglin to replace the Australia, Canada, United Kingdom Reprogramming Laboratory. 

High-ranking officers from the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force (RAF), Royal Navy (RN) and The Australian’s Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) were on hand to celebrate the occasion. 

The new squadrone will own the responsibility of managing crucial electronic information essential for aircraft and aircrew to detect, identify, locate, and counter threats within the electromagnetic spectrum.

Commander Chris Wilcox will lead the squadron. He expressed gratitude for the support from the United States and personnel at Eglin Air Force Base in particular.

The ceremony featured the presence of Air Marshal Robert Chipman, Chief of Air Force for the RAAF, and Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Knighton, RAF Chief of the Air Staff.

Chipman emphasized the operational relevance of transitioning the Reprogramming Laboratory into a fully operational squadron, fostering unit identity and pride among aviators.

“The decision to transition the Australia, Canada, and United Kingdom F-35 Reprogramming Laboratory into a squadron holds profound importance,” the Air Marshal said, “It signifies that the people and the work they do are operationally relevant; it fosters unit identity and pride among our aviators.”

Echoing this sentiment, Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Knighton highlighted the coders, programmers, digital specialists, and data scientists roles in enhancing air superiority and dominance across the electromagnetic spectrum. 

No. 80 Squadron’s legacy spans back to World War I, with the RAF’s unit originating in 1917 and the RAAF’s in 1943.

The ceremony concluded with the unveiling of new squadron crests, symbolizing unity and shared purpose across international defense forces.

The Royal Canadian Air Force will join No. 80 Squadron in July 2024, further expanding the unit’s collaborative efforts and operational capabilities within the F-35 program. 

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