Basic Recruit Training in the Royal Air Force

a fighter formation at an air show image by Gary from

The United Kingdom's Royal Air Force (RAF) has more than 90 year's history. It began in 1918, and it was this branch of the British military forces that frustrated Hitler's plans to conquer Great Britain during World War II. The RAF has since become one of the premier air force commands in the world.

Recruits must learn their mission statement: Develop a solid foundation with the attitude, knowledge, and skill needed to meet the modern demands of the RAF with delivering effective firepower.


The RAF offers a two-day Pre-Recruit Training Course (PRTC) to potential trainees to familiarise them with the training environment before they enter into Phase One of training. This pre-training course is also given by the RAF to allow potential recruits to take various physical fitness tests, to brief recruits about healthy living and fitness, to issue footwear, and to dispel rumours about the basic training process. Ultimately, the RAF wants to prepare the recruits for Phase One training and to have them complete this training with a realistic expectation about the program.


Recruits normally arrive on the Halton training grounds around 9-10:30 a.m. They should have their arrival packs that had been sent to their addresses. Once in line, they will be greeted by their flight staff, and processing will begin. Men will receive haircuts (which they have to pay for), all trainees will be given a tour of the barrack blocks, and then everyone will be sworn in to protect the Queen and country as a part of the Royal Air Force. Recruits will then complete documentation such as P45 (a UK work absence form), bank details, and Armed Forces Career Office (AFCO) information.

Training Program

Training begins with the recruit training squadron greeting the recruits and clearly explaining what is expected of them and what the program will entail. Recruits will be given critical lectures on equal opportunities, diversity and healthy living. Trainees will then be shown how to iron and polish uniform items and how to properly clean their living areas. They will also receive kits that they have to prepare to prescribed standards. Soon trainees will learn how to work together as a team and be taught the four personal qualities that the RAF expects from all of its troops--Respect, Integrity, Service before Self and Excellence.

Ongoing Training

Over the next few weeks, recruits will be taught how to keep spotless uniforms and lockers. Every day they will receive physical training, plus they will be frequently inspected to ensure that they are upholding standards of cleanliness and, most important, obeying orders. Recruits will then be given instruction on RAF history, its values and principles. Saluting, drill and marching will be taught in this period.

Final Weeks

Halfway through, the training recruits will be instructed in Initial Force Protection (protecting airbases), Chemical, Biological, Radioactive and Nuclear (CRBN) training, first aid, rifle training and a military exercise called Blue Warrior that tests the recruits to see how well they learnt their skills. Trainees will work with the local community for the Charity Project Weekend. There is more training, drills and inspections up until the time for graduation. The RAF training program lasts 10 weeks.