Deputy Commander Operations


The Deputy Commander of Operations is based at Air Command asthe RAF’s senior warfighter, responsible for the Force Generation and Delivery ofthe RAF’s contribution to Operations both at home and overseas.



ATHA1 Stuart Atha joined the RAF in1984 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 theHarrier GR7 from 1990 to 2003 serving in Germany and the UK as a front-linepilot, flight commander and squadron commander of No 3 (Fighter) Squadron.Between 2006 and 2008 he commanded Royal Air Force Coningsby, serving as the inauguralTyphoon Force Commander and displaying the Hurricane and Spitfire aircraft ofthe Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. He commanded No 83 Expeditionary Air Group in theGulf in 2009/10 and No 1 Group between 2011 and 2014. His staff tourshave included posts in the Air Warfare Centre, the Directorate of OperationalCapability, Personal Staff Officer to the Chief of the Air Staff, Head of Joint Capabilityin the Ministry of Defence and most recently Chief of Staff (Operations) in theUK’s Permanent Joint Headquarters.

Atha has commandedand flown operationally in the UK, Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan, includingcombat 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, andin 2003 he led the Ministry of Defence study into Operation TELIC. In 2011 he headed the Ministry of Defence’sLibyan operations team (Operation ELLAMY). He has flown Quick Reaction Alert missions in the UK and when serving asthe UK’s Air Defence Commander he was responsible for the London Olympics’ AirSecurity Plan. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in 2003, a Queen’s Commendationfor Valuable Service in 2010 and he was appointed as a Companion to the Orderof the Bath in 2015.

Atha is amember of the Franco-British Council, President of the RAF Icarus FootballClub, Mentor to Northumbrian Universities Air Squadron, Honorary Vice-Presidentof Lincolnshire’s Lancaster Association, the Typhoon Entente Cordiale Trust andthe Friends of Metheringham Airfield and is a Patron of the Jon Egging Trust, acharity that seeks to inspire and develop young people. In a similar vein, heenjoys flying Air Cadets most weekends as a junior pilot on No 5 Air ExperienceFlight. Married to Caroline and with 5 children he remembers a time when heenjoyed sailing, skiing and playing football, rugby, golf and the piano, badly.


Combat Aircraft


Typhoon Aircraft

A multi-role combat aircraft, capable of being deployed in the full spectrum of air operations.

Lightning II

Aircraft: F35 (Joint Strike Fighter)

The UK MOD has taken delivery of its first Lockheed Martin F-35B Joint Strike Fighter.


13Sqn's Tornado.

The Tornado GR4 is a variable geometry, two-seat, day or night, all-weather attack aircraft.

Text size: