Officer Commanding Royal Air Force Coningsby
Group Captain Mike Baulkwill MA BEng RAF
Group Captain Mike Baulkwill was educated at Stockport Grammar School before reading Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Bristol. Whilst at university he joined the University Air Squadron where he learnt to fly the Bulldog and in 1991 after graduating, he joined the Royal Air Force. After completing officer training and flying training, Mike was posted to No 20 (Reserve) Squadron, the Harrier Operational Conversion Unit.
On successful completion of the course he was posted to No 3 (Fighter) Squadron at RAF Laarbruch in Germany. Here he served on operations flying from HMS Illustrious patrolling the no fly zone over Southern Iraq and conducting peace keeping missions flying over the Balkans. He was then selected for the Harrier Qualified Weapon Instructor course, and on completion was posted to No 1(Fighter) Squadron at RAF Cottesmore, during this tour he became night carrier qualified and once again conducted peace keeping missions flying over the Balkans.
In 2001 Mike was selected to go on exchange, flying the F16 with the Royal Netherlands Air Force. After learning Dutch at Nottingham University, he served on 322 Squadron based at Leeuwarden. On completion of the exchange tour in 2004, he was promoted to Squadron Leader and posted to the Defence Procurement Agency in Bristol as a Eurofighter Typhoon requirements manager. Here he was responsible for the current and future capabilities for the newly introduced Eurofighter Typhoon; in particular he helped develop Typhoon’s new air to surface capability including the integration of the Litening III laser designation pod and Enhanced Paveway 2 weapon.
After 2 years Mike was fortunate to be selected to fly Typhoon and posted to RAF Coningsby to help stand-up No XI Squadron, the second frontline Typhoon squadron. Here he helped the Typhoon Force develop and bring its new air to surface capability into service, deploying the aircraft to the USA in order to conduct Multi-Role (MR) training prior to the formal declaration of Typhoon’s MR capability in June 2008.
In 2009 Mike attended the Advanced Command and Staff Course at the Joint Services Command and Staff College in Shrivenham. On completion he was posted to the Capability Equipment Plan in MOD Main Building, Whitehall. Here he helped advise, programme and manage Defence’s equipment programme changes through both the Strategic Defence and Security Review in Planning Round 11 and later as the equipment lead programmer in Planning Round 12.
In 2012 Mike was posted to RAF Leuchars to command No 6 Squadron. A frontline Typhoon unit, the Squadron supported Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) North throughout his command, whilst also deploying to the UAE, Sweden, USA and Qatar during this period. The Squadron moved up to RAF Lossiemouth at the end of his time in command and now permanently resides at RAF Lossiemouth. In 2014 he was promoted to Group Captain and served as the Personal Staff Officer to the Chief of the Air Staff. He had the honour of taking command of Royal Air Force Coningsby, Lincolnshire, on 31 Oct 2016.
Married to Cecylia, with 2 teenage boys and Cassie, a working Cocker Spaniel, Mike enjoys playing cricket, hockey, skiing and catamaran sailing. Mike’s main hobby is his 1933 MG J2, though more time seems to be spent servicing it than driving it, however his aspiration still remains to reverse this trend.