Air Force welcomes new chief

Department of Defence

Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, AO, DSC, has officially transferred command of the Royal Australian Air Force to Air Marshal Robert Chipman AM, CSC.

The formal change of command ceremony took place today at Sir Thomas Blamey Square, Russell Offices.

Change of command ceremonies provide an opportunity to acknowledge an important change in leadership. Today’s event included a parade and flypast from several F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft.

The occasion recognised Air Marshal Hupfeld’s achievements as the outgoing Chief of Air Force and welcomed a new senior leader in the Australian Defence Force.

Air Marshal Hupfeld reflected on his time as Chief of Air Force and the changes that had taken place during his tenure.

“When I commenced my role as Chief of Air Force, we were in a period of great capability transition – we were bringing on some of the very first F-35A Lightning II jets and EA-18G Growler and P-8A Poseidon aircraft,” Air Marshal Hupfeld said.

“I am most proud of our dedicated and skilled workforce who are trusted to deliver air and space power for the Joint Force, wherever it’s needed. Our people are, and continue to be, at the heart of our capability.

Air Marshal Hupfeld said leading Air Force during its centenary commemorations was the peak of his career.

“We were able to honour the service and sacrifice of more than 350,000 past and present members, and inspire future aviators.

“I have no doubt that Air Marshal Chipman will continue to shape and lead our capable and modern Air Force.”

Air Marshal Hupfeld’s career in Air Force began in January 1980 when he joined as a RAAF Academy cadet. He retires after 42 years of dedicated service.

New Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Chipman, reiterated his ongoing commitment to the service of Air Force and the nation. He conveyed Air Force’s appreciation for Air Marshal Hupfeld’s leadership.

“It is an honour to be appointed as Chief of Air Force,” Air Marshal Chipman said.

“I extend my gratitude to Air Marshal Hupfeld who has instilled an Air Force culture that prioritises diversity, inclusion, and professional mastery of air and space power in support of the Joint Force. I am enthusiastic for my tenure and the journey this appointment will bring.”

Air Marshal Chipman joined Air Force in 1989. He qualified as an aeronautical engineer and has had an extensive career as a fighter pilot.

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