Groups are the subdivisions of operational commands; these are responsible for certain types of operation or for operations in limited geographical areas. As from 1 April 2007, three groups exist:
- 1 Group (the Air Combat Group): controls the RAF’s combat fast jet aircraft and parents airfields at RAF Odiham, RAF Benson, RAF Leeming, RAF Coningsby, RAF Leuchars, RAF Wittering, RAF Cottesmore, RAF Marham and RAF Lossiemouth in the UK in addition to RAF Unit Goose Bay in Canada, which is used extensively as an operational training base. RAF Spadeadam, in Cumbria, is also within its sphere of responsibility.
- 2 Group (the Air Combat Support Group): controls the strategic and tactical air transport aircraft, the RAF Regiment, the RAF’s air-to-air refuelling aircraft as well as Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) and search and rescue assets.
- 22 Group: responsible for recruiting, personnel management and training.
In addition, No. 83 Group RAF, under the command of the Permanent Joint Headquarters, is active in the Middle East, supporting operations over Iraq and Afghanistan.
An RAF station is ordinarily subordinate to a group and it is administratively sub-divided into wings. Since the mid to late 1930s RAF stations have controlled a number of flying squadrons or other units at one location by means of a station headquarters.