Harvey Smyth


Harvey Smyth
AVM Harvey Smyth (cropped).jpg
Air Vice Marshal Smyth, 2018
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchRoyal Air Force
Years of service1991 –
RankAir Vice Marshal
Commands heldNo. 1 Group
RAF Marham
No. 4 Squadron
Battles/warsKosovo War
Iraq War
War in Afghanistan
AwardsCompanion of the Order of the Bath
Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Flying Cross
Officer of the Legion of Merit (United States)
Meritorious Service Medal (United States)

Air Vice Marshal Harvey Smyth, CB, OBE, DFC is a senior Northern Irish Royal Air Force officer. From July 2018, he served as Air Officer Commanding No. 1 Group.[1][2] In February 2020, he took up the new post of Director Space, UK, in the Ministry of Defence.

RAF career

Smyth grew up in Northern Ireland during The Troubles.[3] He joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1991, being commissioned as an acting pilot officer on 9 May.[1][4] His rank was made substantive on 9 May 1992 and advanced to flying officer twelve months later,[5][6] before he was posted to the Harrier Force in 1995.[1] He was advanced to flight lieutenant on 9 November 1996.[7] Smyth served with No. 1 (Fighter) Squadron as weapons instructor from 1999, and was promoted squadron leader on 1 July 2001.[8] He subsequently served in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.[9] Smyth was promoted to wing commander on 1 January 2006,[10] and commanded No. 4 Squadron from 1 September 2008 to 31 March 2010.[1][11] Smyth was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2011 New Year Honours,[12] was subsequently advanced to group captain, and appointed the United Kingdom's National Director of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II procurement programme in Washington, D.C.[1] He was aide-de-camp to The Queen from 13 December 2013 to 30 July 2015.[13][14]

As an air commodore, Smyth was appointed Honorary Colonel of the 2nd (Northern Ireland) Battalion, Army Cadet Force from 1 June 2016,[15] and attended the Higher Command and Staff Course at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom in 2017. Following a stint as the Combined Air and Space Operations Centre Director at the Al Udeid Air Base in Doha, Smyth was promoted air vice marshal and appointed Air Officer Commanding No. 1 Group in July 2018.[1] He was awarded the United States' Legion of Merit, and was granted permission to wear the award by the Queen on 5 April 2019.[16]

Smyth was appointed as the first Director Space in February 2020,[17][18] and was succeeded in command of No. 1 Group by Air Vice Marshal Allan Marshall.[19] Reporting on Smyth's new post, Defense News wrote that "up to 25 civilians and military personnel involved in finance, policy and capabilities will support the new space directorate" in the Ministry of Defence's Main Building.[17] It also wrote that No. 23 Squadron RAF had been reformed, as a space squadron, "responsible for day-to-day space command-and-control" and the remote control and manoeuvring of satellites.[17] Smyth was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in the 2020 Birthday Honours.[20]

Private activities

Smyth is patron of the Jon Egging Trust which commemorates Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging, who died in an accident in 2011 as part of the Red Arrows flying display team after succumbing to g-LOC.[21]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "No 1 Group - Air Officer Commanding". raf.mod.uk. Royal Air Force. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  2. ^ "Senior Appointments". raf.mod.uk. Royal Air Force. 31 October 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2018. and Wardle, Sally (2 August 2016). "RAF commander is new patron of Ulster Aviation Society". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  3. ^ "Air Vice Marshal Harvey Smyth". Jon Egging Trust. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  4. ^ "No. 52609". The London Gazette (Supplement). 22 July 1991. p. 11211.
  5. ^ "No. 52945". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 June 1992. p. 9731.
  6. ^ "No. 53324". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 June 1993. p. 9824.
  7. ^ "No. 54602". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 December 1996. p. 5.
  8. ^ "No. 56261". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 July 2001. p. 7816.
  9. ^ "No. 57100". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 October 2003. p. 5.
  10. ^ "No. 57862". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 January 2006. p. 10.
  11. ^ "Sqn Commanding Officers". fourfax. IV(AC) & IV(R) Sqn Association, RAF. 9 October 2017. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  12. ^ "No. 59647". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2010. p. 6.
  13. ^ "No. 60718". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 December 2013. p. 24901.
  14. ^ "No. 61313". The London Gazette (Supplement). 4 August 2015. p. 14363.
  15. ^ "No. 61669". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 August 2016. p. 17092.
  16. ^ "Honours and Awards". London Gazette. London. 5 April 2019. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  17. ^ a b c Former fighter pilot picked to lead British military’s space command, Andrew Chuter, DefenseNews, 2020-01-15
  18. ^ "RAF Senior Appointments". raf.mod.uk. Royal Air Force. 8 January 2020. Retrieved 17 February 2020. Air Vice-Marshal H Smyth OBE DFC to be appointed Director Space in the Ministry of Defence in February 2020. This is a new post.
  19. ^ "RAF Senior Appointments". raf.mod.uk. Royal Air Force. 3 February 2020. Retrieved 5 February 2020. Air Commodore A P Marshall OBE to be promoted Air Vice-Marshal and to be Air Officer Commanding No 1 Group in March 2020 in succession to Air Vice-Marshal H Smyth OBE DFC
  20. ^ "No. 63135". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 October 2020. p. B3.
  21. ^ "Air Vice Marshal Harvey Smyth". Jon Egging Trust. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
Military offices
Preceded by Air Officer Commanding No. 1 Group
Succeeded by