31 Squadron is stationed at RAF Waddington and is the first UK-based Protector RG1 squadron.

First into Indian skies


By remotely operating the Protector aircraft, 31 Squadron are  protecting the UK through the credible and agile delivery of decisive Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and Attack capabilities, seamlessly integrating a world class Remotely Piloted Air System (RPAS) with national, allied and partner forces across multiple domains.


1915  Formed at Farnborough

1916  The first operational military unit in Indian skies, along the North West Frontier, assisting the Army.

1919  Took part in operations during the Third Anglo-Afghan War between May and August.

1931  From February to June, the Squadron replaced their outdated Bristol F.2Bs with the Westland Wapiti IIA.

1939  Inherited Vickers Valentia from 216 Squadron.

1939 The outbreak of WWII saw the Squadron's Frontier work continue in Iraq, Syria, Iran and Egypt.

1941 Receipt of Douglas DC2s brought a significant upgrade and moved the Squadron to fully Air Transport.

1942  Flew the Dakota in Burma from early 1942, supporting the Fourteenth - the 'Forgotten Army'

1947  31 Squadron disbands

1948  31 Squadron reformed at RAF Hendon, its first home base, operating the Anson XIX and then the Devon C1.

1955  Returned to the front line at RAF Laarbruch in Germany, operating Canberra PR7s.

1971  Moved to RAF Brüggen and re-equipped with the Phantom FGR2.

1976  Retained its role as strike/attack with the introduction of the Jaguar GR1.

1984  Saw the introduction of the Tornado GR1

1999  Upgraded to the Tornado GR4

2014  Last RAF jet unit to return from Operation Herrick

2019  31 Squadron disbands with the retirement of the Tornado.

2023  On the 11 October 2023, 31 Squadron reforms as the first to operate the Protector RG1.


1916 - 1918*   North West Frontier

1919 - 1920   Afghanistan

1919 - 1920   Mahoud

1919 - 1925  Waziristan

1939   North West Frontier

1941*   Iraq

1941   Syria

1941 - 1942*   Egypt and Libya

1941 - 1942*   Burma

1943 - 1944*   North Burma

1943 - 1944*   Arakan

1944*   Manipur

1941 - 1942*   Burma

1991   Gulf

1999*   Kosovo

2003*   Iraq

2003 - 2011   Iraq

*Honours’ marked with an asterisk, are emblazoned on the Squadron Standard