Royal Australian Corps of Signals

Royal Australian Corps of Signals

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=Royal Australian Corps of Signals

allegiance=Australian Army
type=Field Army
branch=Australian Regular Army
dates=1901 – Present
specialization=Military communications
size=6 Regular Regiments
ceremonial_chief=HRH The Princess Royal
motto= 'Certa Cito', means 'Swift and Sure'.
colors=RASigs do not have Colours.
battles=RASigs are not awarded Battle Honours.
identification_symbol_label=Tactical Recognition Flash
Australia has the unique distinction of having had the first regularly formed signal unit in the British Empire. The Royal Australian Corps of Signals (RASigs) is one of the 'arms' (combat support corps) of the Australian Army. It is responsible for installing, maintaining and operating all types of telecommunications equipment and information systems. The motto of the Signals Corps is "Certa Cito" and is translated as 'Swift and Sure', signifying the aim of the signal service - that communication be carried out with maximum speed and certainty. Like their British counterparts, the Royal Australian Corps of Signals' flag and hat badge feature Mercury, the winged messenger of the gods, affectionately referred to by members of the corps as "Jimmy" (the origin dates back to the merge with Engineers when the Engineer's band's Drum Major had a "Jimmy" on his staff).cite web |title=History of RASigs |publisher=Australian Department of Defence |url= |accessdate=2007-03-19]

Modern Army command and control systems demand reliable, high speed transfer of large volumes of data. The communications systems provided by Signals must keep pace with modern information technology. The control of the electromagnetic spectrum offers a decisive advantage in modern warfare and Electronic Warfare, listening to or interfering with enemy electronic transmissions, is a critical contribution by the Signals Corps to the Army's combat capability.

On the battlefield Signals provides commanders with the means of controlling the battle using road and air dispatch services, radio, microwave and satellite links. A high technology computer switched digital network, capable of providing a high quality, high capacity, secure communications network is being introduced.

The Corps has recently taken over the responsibility for Army Information Systems. Signal Corps personnel now control large integrated information systems and are responsible for the installation and operation of local area networks using state-of-the art computer equipment.

Specialist roles in the Corps include Operator Bearer Systems (Parakeet operaters & Riggers also known in the Corps as "Linies"), Operator Specialist Communication Systems (Radio operators, also known as "Chooks"), Operator Command Support systems (information systems operators or "geeks" which manage and maintains computer networks and related equipment) and Electronic Warfare operators (also known as "bears"). The main technical role available in the Signals Corps is known as Technician Telecommunications Systems (techs), responsible for repairing and maintaining all items of electronic telecommunications equipment.cite web |title=Defence Careers Explorer: Army Non-Technical Trades | publisher=Defence Force Recruitment |url= |accessdate=2007-03-27] cite web |title=Defence Careers Explorer: Technical Trades |publisher=Defence Force Recruitment |url= |accessdate=2007-03-27] cite web |title=Stay Army: Royal Australian Corps of Signals |publisher=Australian Department of Defence |url= |accessdate=2007-03-27]


The Corps began in 1869 as a small "torpedo and signals corp", located in New South Wales and Victoria. These units existed until 1882, when they were disbanded. In 1885, a "signalling corps", composed of one officer and twelve other ranks, was created in South Australia and remained active until 1901.

After the inception of the Commonwealth Forces, an "Australian Corps of Signallers" was formed on 12 January 1906. This day is recognised as the Signal Corps' birthday. The Corps remained as a self contained unit until 1911 when it was merged with Australian Engineers.cite web |title=RASigs |publisher=104 Sig Sqn |url= |accessdate=2007-03-19 ]

On 1 January 1925, the Australian Corps of Signals was formed and all Signals units were separated from the Australian Corps of Engineers.

At the conclusion of World War II, a silver salver was presented to the Australian Corps of Signals by Princess Mary as a memento of the co-operation between the Royal Corps of Signals and the Australian Corps of Signals throughout the Second World War.

On 10 November 1948, His Majesty King George VI conferred the title "Royal" on the Australian Corps of Signals. The day is recognised a "Corps Day", and commemorative functions are held on, or as near as possible to, 10 November each year.

Approval was given by Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne, The Princess Royal, the Signals Corps' Colonel-in-Chief, on 10 September 1980 for the Corps to carry a banner bearing her Cipher. The banner is known as "The Princess Anne Banner", and was presented to the Signals Corps by the then Governor-General, The Right Honourable Sir Ninian Stephen on 29 November 1986.

On 5 July, 2000, a parade was held for her Royal Highness, Princess Anne, The Princess Royal at Simpson Barracks, Watsonia, marking the 75th anniversary of the Corps. [cite web |title=The parade for Her Royal Highness |publisher=Buddha's Place |url= |accessdate=2007-03-17]


The Royal Australian Signals Corps is divided into a number of regiments and squadrons, both Regular Army and Army Reserve. Each brigade of the Army has a Signals Squadron which forms part of the brigade's Command Support Regiment. The Army's two divisions each has a signal regiment.

Regular Army

**1 Signal Regiment (DJHQ/1 Division) (formerly 1 Joint Support Unit)
***101 Signal Squadron
**7 Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare)
**17th Signal Regiment (formerly 145 Signal Squadron)
**102 Signal Squadron (3 Combat Signal Regiment) - 3 Brigade
**103 Signal Squadron (3 Combat Signal Regiment) - 3 Brigade
**104 Signal Squadron (1 Combat Signal Regiment) - 1 Brigade
**105 Signal Squadron (1 Combat Signal Regiment) - 1 Brigade
**110 Signal Squadron - Land Force HQ
**126 Signal Squadron - 4th (Commando) Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
**130 Signal Squadron - Logistic Support Force
**139 Signal Squadron (7 Command Support Regiment) - 7 Brigade
**152 Signal Squadron - Special Air Service Regiment

Army Reserve

**8 Signal Regiment - 2nd Division
**108 Signal Squadron (4 Command Support Regiment) - 4 Brigade
**109 Signal Squadron (13 Command Support Regiment) - 13 Brigade
**141 Signal Squadron (11 Command Support Regiment) - 11 Brigade
**142 Signal Squadron (5 Command Support Regiment) - 5 Brigade
**144 Signal Squadron (9 Command Support Regiment) - 9 Brigade
**155 Signal Squadron (8 Command Support Regiment) - 8 Brigade
**301 Signal Squadron - 1st Commando Regiment


The Royal Australian Corps of Signals has two sets of colours, tactical and domestic. The Tactical colours are White on Royal blue. White symbolises the ribbons wound on the Caduceus of the God Hermes and the Blue representing the Royal Colours. The domestic colours, sky blue on dark blue on dark green, represent the three mediums of communication: air, sea and land.


Soldiers joining the Signals Corps are given training specific to their field at the Defence Force School of Signals after first graduating from recruit training at the Army Recruit Training Centre, Kapooka. The School of Signals is a tri-service educational facility located on Simpson Barracks in Watsonia, Victoria. It is the home of the Signals Corps and the centre for defence training in communications and information systems for the Australian Defence Force. The school was previously located at Balcombe, Victoria, before moving to Watsonia in the late 1960s. though Balcombe was maintained as a training location for some Signals and Army apprentice courses into the 1980s. The School also has an Electronic Warfare wing, called the Joint Telecommunications School, located on Borneo Barracks in Cabarlah, Queensland. [cite web |title=NHQ South Queensland |publisher=Royal Australian Navy |url= |accessdate=2008-09-04]

Regardless of specialisation, all soldiers joining the Signals Corps first complete a six week Combat Signaller course which aims to provide basic Signals skills in radio, line and computing, as well as the operation and maintenance of generators and batteries. The course culminates in a field phase, usually held at Puckapunyal. On successful completion of the Combat Signaller course, students will be placed in a holding platoon while they wait for their trade course to start. During this time students may be placed on other courses, such as driver training.

*Operator Specialist Communications: The trade training for an operator runs for 33 weeks. Subjects include operation and maintenance of radio equipment, cryptographic equipment/security and field antennas. They are trained to operate a wide range of communications equipment, from hand held short range devices to global satellite systems and HF radios, in a variety of environments. At the end of the trade training, it is expected that individuals are able to utilised the equipment from vehicle mounted or carried in backpacks. [cite web |title=Careers Explorer: Operator Communications |publisher=Defence Force Recruitment |url= |accessdate=2007-03-17]

*Operator Electronic Warfare: Electronic Warfare operators attend a 44 week course at the Joint Telecommunications School, the only trade training not conducted at Simpson Barracks. The course teaches Electronic Warfare and Signal Intelligence fundamentals. [cite web |title=Careers Explorer: Operator Electronic Warfare |publisher=Defence Force Recruitment |url= |accessdate=2007-03-27]

*Operator Bearer Systems: Linies attend an 18 week course, incorporating the operation of satellite ground stations, the installation, maintenance, and recovery of field cable and telephony systems, and VHF/UHF Line of Sight telecommunications equipment. [cite web |title=Careers Explorer: Operator Bearer Systems |publisher=Defence Force Recruitment |url= |accessdate=2007-03-27]

*Operator Command Support Systems: Operator Command Support Systems training is an 18 week Information Technology course consisting of subjects such as the fundamentals of computing, fault finding hardware and software problems and network operating systems, installation of applications, hardware and peripheral devices, user support, data communications and operation of a Field LAN detachment. [cite web |title=Careers Explorer: Operator Command Support Systems |publisher=Defence Force Recruitment |url= |accessdate=2007-03-27]

*Technician Telecommunications Systems: Future Technicians first complete a year as an Operator Bearer Systems before commencing their ITT (Initial Trade Training). The ITT consists of TAFE Certificate IV in Electrotechnology, which incorporates theory, laboratory work and workplace practice. Although a civilian qualification, the 14 month course is conducted by the Defence Force at the Army School of Electrical & Mechanical Engineering in Bandiana, Victoria. Subjects studied include; fundamentals of semi-conductors, semi-conductor amplifiers, electrical circuits, series and parallel circuits, transistor transmitters and receivers, communication transmitters and receivers, microprocessors and logic. Laboratory work integrates the theory and practical components of the course, while workshop training aims to develop specialist craft skills and provides situations necessary to practice logical fault finding techniques. The certificate achieved upon completion of the course is a recognised civilian accreditation. The second course is the military IET course and runs for 22 weeks at the Defence Force School of Signals. It incorporates all aspects of the communications equipment used in Signals Units. The Subjects studied include satellite theory and equipment stations, circuit switch networks, telephone systems and local and wide area computer networks. [cite web |title=Careers Explorer: Technician Telecommunications Systems |publisher=Defence Force Recruitment |url= |accessdate=2007-03-27]

At the end of any of the specialist or technical courses, the Corps members are generally, whether warranted or not, expected to be able operate or maintain any/all equipment that is powered by electrical current, from telephones to refrigerators.

The RASIGS corps is under going trade restructure. 'Techs' and 'linies' are merging into one trade. More information as available.


Parakeet was the project name used by the Australian Army's mobile BTN (Battlefield Telecommunications Network). It was introduced into service in the mid 1990s through project JP65. At the time of its introduction, Project Parakeet was considered to be a highly advanced military communications system. It included secure voice and data trunking services. In 2002, the Defence Force raised Project JP2072 to upgrade its sub-systems. Today, years after it's introduction, it is still incorrectly referred to as Parakeet. [cite web |title=BAE SYSTEMS completes production of satellite communications systems for the Australian defence force |publisher=BAE Systems |url= |accessdate=2007-03-17] The Parakeet suite of equipment is operated by members of the Operator Bearer Systems and Technician trade.

Order of precedence



*cite web |title=Australian Army Website |publisher=Australian Department of Defence |url= |accessdate=2007-03-17

External links

* [ Official Signals Corps Website]
* [ Antique Australian military and domestic radio]

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