The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has had a change of command, with Air Marshal Stephen Chappell stepping in as the new chief.

Chappell replaces Air Marshal Robert Chipman, who has led the RAAF since July 2022.

RAAF Chief

Source: Commonwealth of Australia

Air Marshal Chappell (centre, with gold braid), assumes the leadership of the RAAF as Australia faces an increasingly difficult geopolitical environment

“Australia faces its most challenging strategic environment since the Second World War,” says Chappell.

“Our key to success is twofold – looking after each other through the embodiment of our defence values and doing the ordinary things extraordinarily well.”

Chappell has served with the RAAF since 1993. During his career he has accumulated 2,900 flying hours on types such as the Boeing F/A-18A, F-15C, F/A-18F, and EA-18G.

He has worked closely with the US Air Force (USAF) and was the inaugural exchange officer with the USAF’s 65th aggressor squadron.

Chappell joins the RAAF at a time of significant change for the force, with the arrival of new capabilities such as the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton.

The RAAF is also looking at the future of air combat, and is exploring the capabilities of the locally developed MQ-28 Ghost Bat.

The service life of the RAAF’s 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets is also being extended out to 2040, as it continues to receive Lockheed Martin F-35As.