The UK Royal Air Force has announced a successful first year for ‘Astra’ the campaign to develop a next-generation force capable of meeting the UK’s regional and global security responsibilities.
To continue to protect the UK and its allies into the future, the Royal Air Force must be radically forward-looking in the face of fast-evolving challenges and emerging threats.
Adaptation has been recognised as the key focal point for ‘Astra’, with the RAF focusing on the need to adapt at pace, in-depth and across the service.
The RAF has recognised the need to be ready and able to act faster, with greater precision, lethality, and in more places around the world simultaneously and sustainability than the force does today.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, Chief of the Air Staff, explained, “Our greatest legacy to our successors in 10, 20 or 30 years-time is not the outstanding operational track record of today.”
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 the RAF does HR, our bases, equipment and training.
“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 within the battlespace of the future. Astra is our campaign for building the Next Generation Royal Air Force,” Sir Mike added.
‘Astra’ isn’t just about the big-ticket projects and programs that will help the RAF to realise its ambitions.
The past 12 months has seen a number of successes for the RAF in its transition, including:
- Enhancing the RAF's offer to personnel through modern, flexible working options and accommodation models that allow more freedom of choice while demonstrating commitment to the wellbeing of its 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 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 an 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 the RAF to produce replacement parts for equipment quickly and efficiently.
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 it 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.