May 17th 2021 saw the official stand-up of the RAF Waddington UK Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) Air Wing. The Wing will be under the command of Group Captain Chris Melville with RAF Waddington continuing to be commanded by Group Captain Stephen Kilvington.
The Air Wing has been formed as part of the RAF Future Operating Model, a proposal that was set out by the Chief of the Air Staff to create the next generation Air Force. The ISTAR Air Wing will comprise the flying Squadrons, Air Support Wing, Air Engineering Wing, Number 1 Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing and the ISTAR Operational Conversion Unit.
RAF Waddington will continue to operate as normal, with the base enabling the ISTAR Force and supporting the operational outputs of the Air and Space Warfare Centre, 8 Force Protection Wing and its various Reserve Units, whilst future projects include the implementation of Protector and integration of the Red Arrows.
“The restructure of command at RAF Waddington recognises the size, scope and complexity of Station activity and will provide the opportunity to focus on the full breadth of our endeavours. I look forward to working together with Commander Air Wing to develop our people, infrastructure and engagement, whilst sustaining exceptional operational output and paving the way for future capabilities."
Group Captain Kilvington
Station Commander RAF Waddington
The restructuring of command at RAF Waddington follows in the footsteps of changes recently implemented at RAF Brize Norton and is part of the RAF’s continuing improvement focus.
“I am hugely excited to assume the role of Commander Air Wing for the Waddington based ISTAR assets. The job will be challenging but enormously satisfying and continues the RAF’s transition towards a new operating model. Throughout its history the RAF has continually evolved and embraced new ways of working, and this is another step on that journey as we head towards the next-generation RAF."
Group Captain Melvill
Commander ISTAR Air Wing