Monday, August 3, 2009

Sir Stephen Dalton takes over as Chief of the Air Staff

Sir Stephen Dalton takes over as Chief of the Air Staff
August 3, 2009

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton has taken over as Chief of the Air Staff from Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy, effective from Friday 31 July 2009.

The Chief of the Air Staff is the professional head of the Royal Air Force. He is responsible for generating a balanced and integrated Royal Air Force capability, and for maintaining the fighting effectiveness and morale of the Service. A member of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, he reports to the Chief of the Defence Staff, advising on strategy and policy.

Sir Stephen said:

"I am very conscious of the enormous privilege and responsibility that I have been given as the Chief of the Air Staff to lead the Royal Air Force over the next few years. I recognise that I take on this honour at a time when the RAF is continuing to make the vital and highly effective contribution to the UK Armed Forces' enduring military operations in Afghanistan.

"Combining these with the RAF's other operational commitments - 24/7 protection of United Kingdom airspace, the continuing obligation for the protection of the Falkland Islands, maritime air operations around the UK and search and rescue missions across the UK - means that the Royal Air Force is exceptionally busy.

"However, the commitment, resolve and performance that I see right across the Service makes me intensely proud of all Royal Air Force personnel who consistently deliver the highest quality results at home and overseas."

Sir Stephen joined the RAF in 1976 after graduating from Bath University with an honours degree in aeronautical engineering. His career has ranged from active service as a fast jet pilot to more recent Ministry of Defence postings as Director of Air Operations and then Director General Typhoon.

During the height of the Cold War he flew the Jaguar on three tours, based in the UK and Germany, in both the tactical reconnaissance and ground attack roles. Flying the Tornado GR1A he went on to command No 13 Squadron. It was during this posting that Sir Stephen deployed to the Middle East on Operation JURAL, flying armed missions over Iraq in support of the United Nations sanctions.

Previous to his appointment as Chief of the Air Staff, Sir Stephen was Deputy Commander in Chief Personnel, based at HQ Air Command, RAF High Wycombe. He was promoted to Air Chief Marshal in April 2009 and was made a Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath in the 2009 Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Looking forward, Sir Stephen added:

"We will face significant and demanding challenges in the coming years - operational, economic and international - but I have no doubt that as a Service we, the Royal Air Force team, have the requisite qualities, spirit and ability to meet them head on and continue to be a 'Premier League' air force.

"I am acutely aware that it is the quality, commitment and agility of the officers and airmen and women of the Royal Air Force that will enable us to adapt to future circumstances and requirements and thus continue to deliver the highest quality military airpower for this country.

"I am committed to doing my best to meet successfully and help resolve the challenges facing Defence in the round, and the RAF in particular, and I look forward to the honour of leading and working with all those who commit themselves to service in and support of the Royal Air Force."

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