RAF Strike Command


The Royal Air Force's Strike Command was the military formation which controlled the majority of the United Kingdom's bomber and fighter aircraft from 1968 until 2007 when it merged with Personnel and Training Command to form the single Air Command. It latterly consisted of two formations – No. 1 Group RAF and No. 2 Group RAF. The last Commander-in-Chief was Air Chief Marshal Sir Joe French.

Strike Command
Active30 April 1968–1 April 2007
Country United Kingdom
Branch Royal Air Force
HeadquartersRAF High Wycombe
Motto(s)Defend and Strike[1]
A Vulcan leads four Lightnings in formation to commemorate the formation of Strike Command in 1968.

History edit

Strike Command was formed on 30 April 1968 by the merger of Bomber Command and Fighter Command,[2] which became No. 1 Group and No. 11 Group respectively. Signals Command was absorbed on 1 January 1969,[3] Coastal Command was absorbed on 28 November 1969,[4] becoming No. 18 Group RAF. The former component Coastal Command groups became the Northern Maritime Air Region and Southern Maritime Air Region. Air Support Command (formerly Transport Command) was absorbed on 1 September 1972, becoming No. 46 Group RAF.[5]

NATO Role edit

In 1975, the Command doubled as NATO, Commander-in-Chief United Kingdom Air Forces (UKAIR).[6] UKAIR fell under NATO's Allied Command Europe in Mons in Belgium. In case of war with the Warsaw Pact the command would have commanded all Royal Air Force units in the United Kingdom as well as the US Air Force's Third Air Force based at RAF Mildenhall with its subordinate wings and squadrons. Reinforcements coming from the continental United States, as well as units transitioning to other European fronts, would have also come under UKAIR.

Post Cold War edit

RAF Germany was absorbed as No. 2 (Bomber) Group on 1 April 1993.[7] As of 1 April 2000, the structure was altered to leave No. 1 Group with tactical fast jet forces, No. 2 Group with air transport, air refueling, and reconnaissance, the RAF Regiment, and No. 32 (The Royal) Squadron RAF. No. 3 Group was to include Nimrod long-range Maritime Patrol aircraft, Search and rescue helicopters, and the Joint Force 2000, later to become Joint Force Harrier. Flag Officer Naval Aviation moved over to command No. 3 Group, the first incumbent becoming Rear Admiral Iain Henderson. "At the core of the structure [were] to be the central air staffs, responsible to Deputy Chief of Staff Operations for air power, ongoing operations, joint training, and force development."[8] The Air Warfare Centre at Waddington and the Military Air Traffic Organisation at Uxbridge also joined Strike Command.

The RAF's Process and Organisation Review concluded that Strike Command and Personnel and Training Command should be co-located at a single command headquarters: it was subsequently decided that both commands should be located at High Wycombe and in 2007 Strike Command and Personnel and Training Command were merged into a single command – Air Command.[9]

Structure edit

Headquarters Strike Command (often abbreviated to HQSTC) was located at RAF High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire. The Command was divided into a number of Groups, which at first reflected the function of the old Fighter, Bomber and Coastal Command. Subsequent reorganisations changed things greatly and before the final reorganization, the two Groups which made up Strike Command were:

Component groups of Strike Command included:

Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief edit

Air Officers Commanding-in-Chief included:[10]

Deputy Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Pine, L.G. (1983). A dictionary of mottoes (1 ed.). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. p. 46. ISBN 0-7100-9339-X.
  2. ^ "RAF Timeline 1960–1968". RAF. Archived from the original on 1 March 2012.
  3. ^ The history of RAF Watton in detail for 1969 Archived 27 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Ashworth 1992, p. 222.
  5. ^ RAF Support Command Round-the-World Global Flight
  6. ^ Commander UK Air Forces appointed Flight International, 17 April 1975
  7. ^ RAF Timeline 1990–1999 Archived 24 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine RAF
  8. ^ Royal Air Force, "New Millenium - New Strike Command: Royal Air Force Headquarters to Restructure," Release 430/99, 1 December 1999, accessed at http://www.mod.uk/news/prs/430_99.htm. Copy preserved at http://www.defense-aerospace.com/article-view/release/1182/uk-mod-restructures-raf-strike-command-(dec.-2).html.
  9. ^ RAF Command RAF
  10. ^ Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation – RAF Home Commands formed between 1958 – 2002 Archived 5 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  • Ashworth, Chris. RAF Coastal Command: 1936–1969. Patrick Stephens Ltd. 1992. ISBN 1-85260-345-3

External links edit

  • Royal Air Force Web Site – Strike Command
Preceded by
Bomber Command
From 30 April 1968
Strike Command
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Fighter Command
From 30 April 1968
Preceded by
Signals Command
From 1 January 1969
Preceded by
Coastal Command
From 28 November 1969
Preceded by
Air Support Command
From 1 September 1972
Preceded by
RAF Germany
From 1 April 1993