To continue to protect the UK and our allies into the future, the Royal Air Force must be radically forward looking in the face of fast evolving challenges and emerging threats. We must adapt at pace, in depth and across our Service. We need to be ready and able to act faster, with greater precision, lethality, and in more places around the world simultaneously than we do today - and do it sustainably too.
It requires substantial changes to our way in warfare, how we command and lead and how we are structured. It will require a shake-up of the way we do HR, our bases, equipment and training. Our campaign to do this, to build the Next Generation Royal Air Force, is called Astra.
Astra isn’t just about the big-ticket projects and programmes that will help us to realise our ambitions. Just as importantly, it’s about involving the Whole Force of regulars, reserves, civilians and contractors in making the change, by identifying the barriers that hold us back – however big or small – and overcoming them by working collaboratively, working smarter, innovating internally and with Defence partners to create the right environment for ideas to flourish.
As we near the end of Astra’s first year, we will share with you on RAF social media and the RAF website some of the progress that we’ve made in 2020. This includes:
- Enhancing our offer to personnel through modern, flexible working options and accommodation models that allow more freedom of choice while demonstrating our commitment to the wellbeing of our people.
- Establishing a network of 1,000 Astra Ambassadors across every RAF Station to encourage conceptual thinking and support the growth of grassroots ideas.
- Integrating more online and virtual reality modules in our training courses, including cutting-edge synthetic training to help significantly reduce the time it takes for personnel to reach the front line. This brings additional benefits, including substantially reduced costs and less environmental impact.
- Launching a 10-year infrastructure plan to upgrade accommodation and facilities, so they are fit for the Next Generation Air Force. This supports our ambition to achieve Net Zero 50 by constructing sustainable buildings with accurate energy monitoring, real-time energy consumption and the identification and elimination of wasted energy.
- Introducing new 3D printing technology across a network of units that enables us to produce replacement parts for equipment quickly and efficiently.
“Our greatest legacy to our successors in 10, 20 or 30 years-time is not the outstanding operational track record of today. Of much greater importance is that we design and start to build the Royal Air Force of the future that our successors will operate, fight and win with in the battlespace of the future. Astra is our campaign for building the Next Generation Royal Air Force.”
Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston
Chief of the Air Staff