Unit History: Operational Conversion Unit
With the reduction of the RAF after World War II, the need for new aircrew was considerably reduced and the 150 or so Operational Training Units were gradually reduced in size and many were disbanded. It was decided to continue with the idea of separating type conversion and crew familiarisation from operational activities and Operational Conversion Units (OCUs)were established in their place.
OCUs teach pilots how to fly an aircraft and which tactics best exploit the performance of their aircraft and its weapons. The Royal Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force practice this method of training.
Some historic RAF Operational Conversion Units are:
226 Operational Conversion Unit (1946 - 1991)
Role: Fighter pilot training on Tempests, Hornets, Meteors. Lightnings, and Jaguars.
RAF Middleton St George
227 Operational Conversion Unit (1947 - 1950)
Role: Air Observation Post aircrew training.
RAF Middle Wallop
228 Operational Conversion Unit (1947 - 1991)
Role: Night fighter crew training on Mosquitoes, Meteors, Javelins, and Phantoms.
229 Operational Conversion Unit (1950 - 1992)
Role: Fighter pilot training on Vampires, Sabres, Hunters, and Tornado crews (air defence).
230 Operational Conversion Unit (1947 - 1981)
Role: Bomber crew training on Lancasters, Lincolns, and Vulcans.
231 Operational Conversion Unit (1947 - 1993)
Role: Light bomber and photo reconnaissance crew training on Mosquitoes and Canberras.
232 Operational Conversion Unit (1955 - 1986)
Role: V bomber and tanker aircrew training on Valiants and Victors.
233 Operational Conversion Unit (1952 - 1992)
Role: Fighter pilot training on Vampires, Hunters and Harriers.
235 Operational Conversion Unit (1947 - 1953)
Role: Flying boat aircrew training on Sunderlands.
236 Operational Conversion Unit (1947 - 1992)
Role: Reconnaissance aircrew training on Beaufighters, Lancaster, Spitfires, Neptunes, Shackletons and Nimrods.
RAF St Mawgan
237 Operational Conversion Unit (1947 - 1991)
Role: Photo reconnaissance training on Mosquitoes, Spitfires, and Canberras. Subsequently the Buccaneer OCU.
238 Operational Conversion Unit (1952 - 1958) - Night fighter radar training on Brigands, Balliols, Meteors, and Valettas.
240 Operational Conversion Unit (1948 - 1993)
Role: Medium-range transport, then support helicopter aircrew training on Dakotas, Valettas, Devons, Wessexes, Pumas and Chinooks.
RAF North Luffenham
241 Operational Conversion Unit (1948 - 1993)
Role: Heavy transport aircrew training on Yorks, Halifaxes, Hastings, Britannias, Belfasts, VC10s, and Tristars.
RAF Brize Norton
242 Operational Conversion Unit (1951 - 1992)
Role: Transport aircrew training on Dakotas, Valettas, Devons, Yorks, and Halifaxes. Subsequently the Hercules OCU.
RAF Thorney Island
The current Operational Conversion Unit Squadrons in the Royal Air Force (2008) are:
15 Squadron - assigned to the Tornado Weapons Conversion Unit at Lossiemouth in April 1992.
17 Squadron - reformed in May 2005 at Coningsby in Lincolnshire to become the Typhoon Operational Evaluation Unit.
20 Squadron - assigned to the Harrier OCU at Wittering in 1992.
29 Squadron - reformed in September 2003 as the Typhoon Operational Conversion Unit.
41 Squadron -<