Royal Air Force

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The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom's air force, the oldest independent air force in the world. Formed on April 1, 1918, the RAF has taken a significant role in British military history ever since, playing a large part in World War II and in more recent conflicts.

The RAF operates almost 1,109 aircraft and, as of October 2009, had a total man power strength of 44,300 regular, and 2,500 part time personnel. These 46,800 active personnel make it the largest air force in the European Union, and the second largest in NATO. The majority of the RAF's aircraft and personnel are based in the UK with many others serving on operations (principally Afghanistan, the Middle East and the Balkans) or at long-established overseas bases (Ascension Island, Canada, Cyprus, Diego Garcia, Gibraltar, the Falkland Islands and Germany).

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