Mel Hupfeld was born in Sydney, New South Wales, on 7 March 1962, and joined the Royal Australian Air Force as an Officer Cadet in 1980. He finished his training in 1983, won the 'Flying Prize' and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree. He completed a Master of Arts degree in Defence Studies at King's College London in 1997.
During Hupfeld's career he has flown the Dassault Mirage III and McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet flying mainly with No. 3 Squadron RAAF. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross on 27 November 2003 for his command of No. 75 Squadron RAAF during Operation Falconer, and the squadron was awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation.
AVM Hupfeld has commanded several RAAF units during his career, including No. 75 Squadron RAAF, No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit RAAF, No. 81 Wing RAAF, and Air Combat Group RAAF. He was promoted to Air Vice Marshal and appointed as Air Commander Australia on 3 February 2012. He moved to the Capability Development Group, as Head Capability Systems, in September 2014. Air Vice-Marshal Hupfeld took up the newly created position of Head Force Design in Vice Chief of Defence Force Group on 1 April 2016.