RAAF 2OTU - No.2 (F) Operational Training Unit

No.2 (F) Operational Training Unit was formed at Port Pirie, SA, on 6 April, 1942, and operated initially with Wirraways and Fairey Battles. During May 1942 the unit moved to Mildura and soon acquired a wide variety of aircraft including Kittyhawks, Vultee Vengeances, Avro Ansons, Boomerangs, Spitfires and Oxfords. In March 1943, the unit became associated with Williamtown, NSW, when the spitfire section became a lodger unit.

The wartime history of 2OTU was one of high achievement. At the conclusion of the Pacific War, the unit was converted to a care and maintenance unit; the final disbandment came on 25 March 1947. 2OTU was reformed at Williamtown on 1 March 1952 to satisfy an acute shortage of trained fighter pilots for 77 Squadron's valuable contribution to the United Nations force in Korea. Advanced training was transferred to the Vampire Jet which continued until September 1958. In 1954, WGCDR (ret'd) Dick Cresswell established the Fighter Combat Instructors (FCI) course in order to rectify severe deficiencies in air combat skills seen between the end of WWII and the Korean War. It was identified that without training pilots dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in all forms of air combat, the overall effectiveness of the force will rapidly decline and future Australian war fighting capability would be compromised. 2OCU has been responsible for the conduct of FCI course since its inception. FCI course has had a proven record of producing world class weapons officers and is testament to the professionalism and capability of 2OCU.

On 1 September 1958, the unit was renamed No.2 Operational Conversion Unit (2OCU). In November 1958, a Sabre Trials Flight was introduced at 2OCU and Sabre courses were commenced on 1 January 1959 to train Sabre pilots for the four Sabre Squadrons. The first Mirage aircraft arrived in Williamtown in March 1964. With the arrival of the Mirage IIIO fighter the role of 2OCU was expanded to include advanced pilot training on this type of aircraft. The first Mirage course commenced in September 1964. The first Macchi aircraft allocated to 2OCU arrived at Williamtown in October 1969, and these aircraft gradually replaced the Vampire as the interim advanced trainer between "Wings" graduation and Sabre Conversion. The reformation of No5 Operation Training Unit (5OTU) on the 1 April 1970 made 2OCU responsible only for Mirage conversion and operational training. In July 1971, the Sabre was phased out and as a result 5OTU was disbanded and Macchi advanced training responsibilities were reverted to 2OCU. From September 1971 to December 1984, 2OCU conducted Macchi/Mirage courses to train fighter pilots for the three operational Mirage squadrons of the RAAF. In December 1984, all 2OCU Mirage and Macchi aircraft were transferred to No77 Squadron as 2OCU prepared for the introduction into service of the F/A-18 Hornet. 2OCU received its first Hornet in May 1985 and commenced Hornet pilot training in August 1985. In July 1987, 2OCU was given the responsibility for Macchi training, which in January 1989 was passed to the reformed No76 Squadron at Williamtown. Since the unit's inception, its Commanding Officers and staff have included the most experienced personnel available for fighter operations. This has contributed to 2OCU's exceptionally high standard of efficiency and safety since its beginning in 1942.

Mildura Airport, Mildura, Victoria, Australia Map

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This webpage was updated 30th June 2023