This year’s Lord Trenchard Memorial Lecture be delivered by Air Marshal Stuart Atha CB DSO MA BSs RAF, Deputy Commander Operations, Royal Air Force.
The next eight years represent a continuing period of fundamental yet exciting change for the Royal Air Force as they adapt the way they are organised, both in the UK and on operations. Against a backdrop of Lord Trenchard’s contribution to UK defence, Air Marshal Atha will discuss progress in implementing Joint Force 2025.
Air Marshal Stuart Atha CB DSO MA BSs RAF joined the RAF in 1984 after reading mathematics and physics and flying with the Air Squadron at Glasgow University. Following a tour as an instructor on the Hawk, he flew the Harrier GR7 from 1990 to 2003 serving in Germany and the UK as a front-line pilot, flight commander and squadron commander of No 3 (Fighter) Squadron.
Between 2006 and 2008 he commanded Royal Air Force Coningsby, serving as the inaugural Typhoon Force Commander and displaying the Hurricane and Spitfire aircraft of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. He commanded No 83 Expeditionary Air Group in the Gulf in 2009/10 and No 1 Group between 2011 and 2014. His staff tours have included posts in the Air Warfare Centre, the Directorate of Operational Capability, Personal Staff Officer to the Chief of the Air Staff, Head of Joint Capability in the Ministry of Defence and most recently Chief of Staff (Operations) in the UK’s Permanent Joint Headquarters. He has commanded and flown operationally in the UK, Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan, including combat missions during Operation DELIBERATE FORCE (Bosnia 1995), Operation ALLIED FORCE (Kosovo1999) and Operation TELIC (Iraq2003). Following Operation ALLIED FORCE, he led a team into Kosovo to examine the effectiveness of the RAF’s bombing, and in 2003 he led the Ministry of Defence study into Operation TELIC.
In 2011 he headed the Ministry of Defence’s Libyan operations team (Operation ELLAMY). He has flown Quick Reaction Alert missions in the UK and when serving as the UK’s Air Defence Commander he was responsible for the London Olympics’ Air Security Plan.
He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in 2003, a Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service in 2010 and he was appointed as a Companion to the Order of the Bath in 2015.