56 Squadron

Developing the capabilities of the RAF's airborne Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C2ISR) units. 

What if the heavens fall?

A phoenix - approved by King Edward VIII in July 1936. The phoenix was chosen to underline the Squadron's ability to reappear intact regardless of the odds.


  • Stationed at RAF Waddington, as part of the Air Warfare Centre
  • The Squadron crest was awarded after the World War One, during which the aircrew were all lost in a matter of days
  • Contributes to the operational development and optimisation of the RAF's Air C2ISR capabilities


1916 - Formed at Gosport.

1917 -  First Squadron to fly Royal Aircraft Factory S.E. 5a.

1941 - First squadron to fly Hawker Typhoon.

1954 - First, and only, unit to fly the Supermarine Swift Mk.1 and Mk.2.

1963 - Fighter Command's official demonstration team, flying aerobatics with Lightning Mk.1A interceptors.

2008 - Squadron hangs up its fighter boots, taking on the role of Air C2ISR Test and Evaluation Squadron.

Battle honours

Western Front 1917-1918*

Arras 1917

Ypres 1917*

Cambrai 1917

(Second Battle of) Somme 1918*

Amiens 1918

Hindenburg Line 1918

France and Low Countries 1940

Dunkirk 1940*

Battle of Britain 1940*

Fortress Europe 1942-1944

Dieppe 1942

France and Germany 1944-1945*

Normandy 1944*

Home defence 1942-1945

Arnhem 1944*

(Honours marked with an asterisk, are emblazoned on the Squadron Standard)


Please contact the home station Media Communications team for more information or to contact the Squadron

Media enquiries details for RAF Waddington