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Royal Australian Corps of Signals

Royal Australian Corps of Signals
Active 1901 – Present
Country Australia
Allegiance Australian Army
Branch Australian Regular Army
Type Field Army
Role Military communications
Size 6 Regular Regiments
Motto 'Certa Cito', means 'Swift and Sure'.
Colors Light blue, over dark blue, over green.
Engagements RASigs are not awarded Battle Honours.
Colonel-in-Chief HRH The Princess Royal
Tactical Recognition Flash

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).[1]

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: Communication System Operator (Known in the Corps as "Operators"),[2] Telecommunications Technician (Known as "Techs" or "Techies"),[3] Electronic Warfare Operator (Known as "Bears" from being primarily posted to a base near Cabarlah (Koala), QLD")[4] and Information Systems Technician (Known as "Geeks").[5]


  • History 1
  • Structure 2
    • Regular Army 2.1
    • Army Reserve 2.2
  • Colours 3
  • Training 4
  • Equipment 5
  • Order of precedence 6
  • Footnotes 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


Princess Anne passes behind the Princess Anne Banner at the 75th anniversary parade for the Royal Australian Corps of Signals
Princess Anne inspects troops at the 75th anniversary parade for the Royal Australian Corps of Signals
The Princess Anne Banner

Australia has the unique distinction of having had the first regularly formed signal unit in the British Empire. 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.[1]

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.[6]

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

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 [6]

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.[7]


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

Army Reserve

  • Regiments
    • 8th Signal Regiment – 2nd Division
  • Squadrons
    • 108th Signal Squadron (4th Command Support Regiment) – 4th Brigade
    • 109th Signals Squadron (13th Command Support Regiment) – 13th Brigade
    • 141st Signal Squadron (11th Command Support Regiment) – 11th Brigade
    • 142nd Signal Squadron – 8th Signal Regiment (ex 5th Brigade)
    • 143rd Signal Squadron – 8th Signal Regiment
    • 144th Signal Squadron (9th Command Support Regiment) – 9th Brigade
    • 155th Signal Squadron – 8th Signal Regiment (ex 8th Brigade)
    • 301st Signal Squadron – 1st Commando Regiment


Domestic Colours

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.[1]


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, before moving to Watsonia in the late 1960s.[1] 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.[8]

After successful completion of the 80-day recruit course at Kapooka, all soldiers joining the Signals Corps, regardless of specialisation, first complete an eight-day Common Corps course which provides basic Royal Australian Corps of Signals skills in radio, line laying and computing and is a prerequisite for all Australian Regular Army RA Sigs trade courses. The course (and most subsequent training) is held at Defence Force School of Signals, Simpson Barracks, Macleod, Victoria. On successful completion of the Common Corps 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.

  • Communication Systems Operator: Communication Systems Operator training is a 25-week course in which trainees are instructed in the operation and maintenance of military High Frequency (HF) and Very High Frequency (VHF) radios, portable satellite terminals, frequency hopping and cryptographic equipment. Communication Systems Operators will also be trained to deploy computer networks and to operate computer-based communications applications. This training is conducted in a range of simulated environments based upon vehicle and Command Post operations.[9]
  • Telecommunications Technician: Telecommunications Technician training is a 72-week course that incorporates all aspects of the telecommunications communications equipment used in RA Sigs Units. Subjects include telecommunications cabling, satellite theory and equipment stations, circuit switch networks, telephone systems and local and wide-area computer networks.[10]
  • Electronic Warfare Operator: The Electronic Warfare Operator course is delivered in two parts due to the security clearance requirements. It trains ARA trainees in Electronic Warfare and Signal Intelligence fundamentals, including basic language skills and typing.
    • Part One is of 22 weeks duration and is delivered at the Australian Defence Force School of Languages, RAAF Williams, Laverton, Victoria.
    • Part Two is of 36 weeks duration and is delivered at Defence Force School of Signals, Electronic Warfare Wing, Borneo Barracks, Cabarlah, Queensland.
To commence Part Two training, trainees must have a Top Secret Positive Vetted (TSPV) clearance, which depending on the individual and on personal history can take from 6 to 12 months to acquire. Both the ADF School of Languages and the Defence Force School of Signals (DFSS) are tri-service training facilities and also train Navy and Air Force personnel.[11]
  • Information Systems Technician: Training incorporates a wide variety of Information Technology (IT) subjects including fundamentals of computing, diagnosing hardware and software problems, network operating systems, installation of applications and peripheral devices, operating a help desk, data communications and operation of a Deployable Local Area Network (DLAN).[12]


Flag of the RASigs

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 its introduction, it is still incorrectly referred to as Parakeet.[13] The Parakeet suite of equipment is operated by all soldier trades within the Corps.

Order of precedence

Preceded by
Royal Australian Engineers
Australian Army Order of Precedence Succeeded by
Royal Australian Infantry Corps


  1. ^ a b c d e "History of RASigs".  
  2. ^ "Defence Careers Explorer: Communication System Operator". Defence Force Recruitment. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  3. ^ "Defence Careers Explorer: Telecommunications Technician". Defence Force Recruitment. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  4. ^ "Defence Careers Explorer: Electronic Warfare Operator". Defence Force Recruitment. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  5. ^ "Defence Careers Explorer: Information Systems Technician". Defence Force Recruitment. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  6. ^ a b "RASigs". 104 Sig Sqn. Retrieved 2007-03-19. 
  7. ^ "The parade for Her Royal Highness". Buddha's Place. Retrieved 2007-03-17. 
  8. ^ "NHQ South Queensland". Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 2008-09-04. 
  9. ^ "Careers Explorer: Communication Systems Operator: Employment Training". Defence Force Recruitment. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  10. ^ "Careers Explorer: Telecommunications Technician: Employment Training". Defence Force Recruitment. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  11. ^ "Careers Explorer: Electronic Warfare Operator: Employment Training". Defence Force Recruitment. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  12. ^ "Careers Explorer: Information Systems Technician: Employment Training". Defence Force Recruitment. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  13. ^ "BAE SYSTEMS completes production of satellite communications systems for the Australian defence force".  


  • "Australian Army Website".  

External links

  • Royal Australian Corps of Signals' Website [2]
  • Antique Australian military and domestic radio
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