Swift To Attack

About this Group

No 1 Group coordinates all of the RAF's frontline, fast-jet force elements and the Intelligence Surveillance, Targeting and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) work.

The 8,500 personnel in No 1 Group are ready to meet any emerging threats to the UK or UK interests around the globe, including:

  • Protecting UK airspace 24/7 365 days a year with the Typhoon Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) aircraft
  • Continued air defence of the Falkland Islands
  • Exercising with NATO partners

Achieving No 1 Group's mission

The Group has to ensure the RAF stays one step ahead in an uncertain world. It does this by:

  • evolving the RAF's tactics
  • realistic training and exercises in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and the United States
  • exploiting the RAF's equipment

Lightning Force

The near term mission for the Lightning Force (LF) is to establish the foundations of Lightning capability by training the initial cadre of LF personnel and developing the process to generate and sustain the Force at RAF Marham. This is to bring the LF to initial operating capability.

Typhoon Force

To generate, operate and sustain effective Combat Air power in all tasked roles and environments.


To deliver battle-winning knowledge and effect to commanders at every level.

Red Arrows

To operate the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team (RAFAT), better known as the Red Arrows.


Air Officer Commanding

Air Vice-Marshal Allan Marshall

Following completion of a Service sponsored engineering degree at Cambridge University and pilot training, AVM Marshall spent the first ten years of his career flying the Harrier. During this period, he completed several operational tours, including Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan; gained experience of embarked operations on Invincible-class aircraft carriers and undertook instructional, standardisation, and test and evaluation roles within the Harrier Force.

Subsequently, he gained procurement experience as the UK requirements manager for the Joint Strike Fighter programme, before converting to the Intelligence, Surveillance, Targeting and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) role and command of No V (Army Co-operation) Squadron, operating Sentinel and Shadow aircraft on operations in Afghanistan, Libya and Mali.

Two joint roles within the Ministry of Defence followed: Assistant Head Global Commitments and Counter Terrorism within the Operations Directorate and Deputy Principal Staff Officer to the Chief of the Defence Staff, before he took command of RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, responsible for Reaper, Rivet Joint, Sentinel, Sentry E-3D, Shadow and intelligence analysis capabilities.

After completion of the Higher Command and Staff Course, the US Capstone Programme and a short visiting research fellowship at Oxford University focusing on strategic intelligence, he returned to the Ministry of Defence in 2018 as Head of Defence Commitments and Crisis within the Security, Policy and Operations area. In April 2020, he was appointed as Air Officer Commanding Number 1 Group, responsible for Defence’s Combat Air and Air ISTAR Forces, and the Air and Space Warfare Centre.

Key dates

1918 - 1936

No 1 Group first formed to perform air defence in the South East of England against German zeppelin and Gotha Raids. It continued in the air defence role until renumbered as 6 Group in 1924 but was reformed the same day at a new location at which it operated until 1926. 1 Group was reactivated the next year, again in the air defence role which it continued until 1936 when it was again renumbered as 6 Group, 1 Group becoming a light bomber group.

1936 - 1945

As a light bomber group 1 Group went to France in 1939 as the Advanced Air Striking Force. An advance arm of Bomber Command rather than, as often thought, an army cooperation unit. The 1 Group designation was used briefly in 1939 by Bomber Command, but stood up permanently in June 1940 and has been active ever since. Largely based in North Yorkshire, the Group carried out more bombing raids than any other over the course of the War.

1946 - 1999

After the War, 1 Group stayed active. It took control of US loaned Thor ballistic missiles for a period between 1958 and 1963, and in 1968 transitioned in to Strike Command.


The Group again took command of air defence within the UK and responsibility for the RAF's offensive air power on operations.


Contact details

1 Group, RAF High Wycombe, Walter's Ash, HP14 4UE