No 38 Group

38 Group provide essential engineering, logistics, communications and medical operations support to the Royal Air Force worldwide, enabling it to deliver operational effect. 

A noble pair of brothers

About this Group


38 Group HQ is located at RAF High Wycombe. The Group comprises engineering and logistics, communications and Medical Operations Force Elements, in addition to units such as RAF Music Services. Air Officer Commanding Number 38 Group has responsibility for UK-based United States Visiting Forces (USVF) units and for RAF personnel detached to other armed forces around the world. Overall, the Group employs around 2600 Service personnel and 310 MoD civilians across multiple Defence sites in the United Kingdom and deployed locations worldwide.

Force Elements


The deployable engineering and logistics arm of the RAF is known as the A4 Force. It sends personnel from over a dozen regular and reserve squadrons to support UK air operations and exercises all over the world. The A4 Force units are located principally at RAF Wittering and RAF Brize Norton. The main units are No 1 Air Mobility Wing (air movements), No 42 Expeditionary Support Wing (deployable engineering) and No 85 Expeditionary Logistics Wing. Integrated with this capability are our Reserve squadrons of No 4624, 501, 504 and 605.


No 90 Signals Unit (90SU) satisfies the RAF’s deployed communications requirements from satellite communications to IT systems, as well as providing deployable airfield navigational aids and specialist cyber defence and protection for air networks and platforms. 90SU is primarily based at RAF Leeming and RAF Digby, with smaller detachments at several other RAF stations. 90SU consists of two wings: Tactical Communications Wing (expeditionary communications systems and their support) and Operational Information Services Wing (defensive cyber, airfield navigational aids support, trials and the Unit’s operational planning system management functions).

Medical Operations

The Medical Force provides direct medical support to the deployed force drawing personnel from across the RAFMS and also delivers medical expertise, training and support within the Firm Base. RAF Centre of Aviation Medicine, located at RAF Henlow, conducts a wide range of activities delivering aircrew and aircraft integration, aviation medical training and specialist support through research and medical boards. Tactical Medical Wing (TMW) based at RAF Brize Norton, provides operational outputs including aeromedical evacuation, deployed primary care, pre-hospital and hospital capabilities. TMW are supported by two medical Reserve squadrons, No 612 and No 4626, based at RAF Leuchars and RAF Brize Norton respectively.

Music Services

The RAF has an establishment for four professional bands, which includes Auxillary personnel, and a Salon Orchestra. The Central Band of the Royal Air Force, the Band of the Royal Air Force Regiment and the Royal Air Force Salon Orchestra are based at RAF Northolt. The Band of the Royal Air Force College and the Band of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force are based at RAF College Cranwell.

Air Officer Commanding

Air Vice-Marshal Simon D Ellard MBA MSc MA BSc(Hons) CEng FRAeS RAF

His early appointments included a squadron tour as the Phantom F4 Junior Engineering Officer of 74(Fighter) Squadron as the aircraft retired from service, a station tour providing Tornado F3 avionic support at RAF Coningsby, and an exchange tour with the German Luftwaffe in Bavaria programming real-time software for the ECR Tornado fleet.

Following promotion to Wing Commander, he served as the Military Assistant to the Chief of Defence Logistics and remained in post as his principal became the first Chief of Defence Materiel on the creation of Defence Equipment & Support. He has completed roles in multiple departments in the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall, as well as in Defence Equipment & Support as: the Group Captain Type Airworthiness Authority for Eurofighter Typhoon and Battle of Britain Memorial Flight; and the Air Commodore leading the Unmanned Air Systems Team

He was appointed as the Air Office Commanding Number 38 Group (and Chief of Staff for Support) at Headquarters Air Command in December 2018.


Who makes this group

RAF Stations



  • 90 Signals Unit

Key dates


Number 38 Group was first formed during World War II. In addition to deploying members of the elite Special Operations Executive and Special Air Service, its aircraft flew in scores of famous missions including Operation Overlord.


After World War II Number 38 Group was disbanded, but was reformed twice during the Cold War and a third time in 1992. Its list of aircraft is a ‘Who’s Who’ of aviation icons and includes the Harrier, Jaguar, VC10 and Westland Wessex.


Number 38 Group reformed on 3 March 2014 and celebrated with a Reforming Parade on 2 July 2014 at Royal Air Force Wittering. 

Contact details

Business Coordinator, No 38 Group, Air Command, RAF High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire,  HP14 4UE

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