In his new book, News Limited's award-winning national defence writer Ian McPhedran tells the exclusive, inside story of the Royal Australian Air Force in the modern era of air power.
From bombing missions over Baghdad to spy flights over Afghanistan and medical and humanitarian missions across the globe, Air Force gives a unique insight into one of the world's oldest, most professional and busiest air forces in its 90th anniversary year.
McPhedran takes the reader to the heart of the RAAF through the personal accounts and unique photographs of the pilots, mechanics, cooks, doctors and many others who make it tick.
The past decade has been a very busy time for Australia's air force but the next one promises an exciting era of stealth and technology that was considered science fiction just a few years ago.
Ian McPhedran is the Sydney-based national defence writer for News Limited. He has been a journalist all his working life and has covered conflicts in Burma, Somalia, Cambodia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq. In 1993 he won a United Nations Association Peace Media Award and in 1999 the Walkley Award for best news report for his exposé of the navy's Collins class submarine fiasco. His first two books, The Amazing SAS: the inside story of Australia's special forces and Soldiers Without Borders are both national bestsellers. McPhedran lives in Balmain with his wife, Verona Burgess, and daughter, Lucy.
Harper Collins Australia
Author: Ian McPhedran
Interview with Ian McPhedran
Question: What inspired you to write Air Force?
Ian McPhedran: The reason for writing Air Force was that the Air Force has been so busy over the last decade and not many people understood or knew what the Air Force was doing. When people see camouflaged uniforms on the television they often think it is the Army but often it is the Air Force who are first in and last out of a job. The technology is extraordinary and due to the changes in the Air Force and I believed that it was time for the information to be available in the public arena.
Question: What do you hope Air Force, the novel, achieves for the Royal Australian Air Force?
Ian McPhedran: I hope Air Force opens people's eyes, a little bit into the Air Force and what technology the Air Force is using and that the fact is they are extremely busy interacting with all corners of the world whether they are helping people who have experienced a natural disasters in the Pacific or Asia to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Question: Can you talk about the research that went into Air Force?
Ian McPhedran: I spent about 18 months working on the research side of Air Force, I was travelling around the world to where the Air Force was operating and also attending all the Australian bases, I could get to. The Air Force was helping me a great deal with the research and travel - they really opened the doors to me. I went to Texas where the Royal Australian Air Force is helping build a Strike Fighter; I also went to the Middle East where the Air Force is involved in the war. In Australia I travelled to where the fighters are based and that was a very interesting experience. I have stayed at Camp Rhino as a part of the Afghanistan mission.
I have also been in fighter jets and that is a pretty interesting experience for an amateur pilot, like myself.
Interview by Brooke Hunter