14-17 September 2021, Excel London                       

Simon Rocky Rochelle


Simon Rocky Rochelle

Simon Rocky Rochelle

Chief of Staff Capability, Royal Air Force

Air Vice-Marshal ‘Rocky’ Rochelle joined the Royal Air Force in May 1986 as a direct entrant Navigator. Following initial officer and basic training Rocky converted to the Tornado GR1, beginning frontline flying with IX(B) Squadron at Royal Air Force Bruggen in 1989.

After a successful 2 ½ years, which included Operation GRANBY, Rocky was in the first tranche of first tourists to be selected to the Tornado Qualified Weapons Instructor (QWI) Course.  On completion he returned to IX(B) Sqn for another 18 months prior to posting to 617 Squadron at Royal Air Force Lossiemouth.  He was then posted to XV Sqn for 2 years where he became the lead Instructor of the QWI Course and left on promotion in 1998 to take up a Flight Commander role on 14 Squadron at Royal Air Force Bruggen.  This tour included many months on operations in the desert and included further active duty, during the Kosovo Campaign, flying long duration sorties through Europe from the home operating base.  He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross during this operation.

On completion of his tour in August 2000, Rocky was posted into the Ministry of Defence, Whitehall, for the first time, to work on a number of weapon acquisition programmes including the RAF’s new cruise missile Storm Shadow.  On completion of this tour in 2002, he was promoted to Wing Commander and attended the Advanced Staff Course at the Joint Services Command and Staff College, Shrivenham, where he sat for an MA in Defence Studies.  He returned to the Ministry in 2003 where he joined the Directorate for Air Resources and Plans, working for the Finance Director, in the role of Staff Officer for all Ground Attack issues.

In August 2005, Rocky returned to Royal Air Force Lossiemouth to take command of 617 Squadron (The Dambusters).  He completed two operational tours of duty in the Gulf during his command tour, including the General Petraeus’ surge period in the summer of 2007.  As a result, he was awarded the OBE in January 2008.

At the end of his command tour he was promoted to Group Captain and returned (for the 3rd time) to the MOD in the post of Assistant Head of Equipment Capability. 

He assumed command of Royal Air Force Marham in December 2009 having amassed more than 5 years on operations and three challenging tours in the Ministry.  He thoroughly enjoyed the demands of a challenging command tour at Marham which included the Tornado Force simultaneously delivering on operations in Afghanistan and Libya.  Additionally, this included ensuring the delivery of 3000 mile roundtrip operations from RAF Marham to Libya and back for an 8 month period.

On completion of his command at Marham, Rocky attended the Higher Command and Staff Course at Shrivenham before returning to Head Office for the 4th time in June 2013, in the rank of Air Commodore, as the new Head of Centre Managed Programmes, initially in charge of both the Complex Weapons programme and as Head of the Carrier Enabled Power Projection.

In Mar 2015, upon completion of this tour he relished the challenge of using his operational credentials and capability planning experience in the appointment of ACOS for Capability Development in Headquarters Air Command. 

Rocky was subsequently advanced to Air Vice-Marshal in April 2017 and assumed the appointment of Chief of Staff Capability.


  • DSEI showcases the best of British defence technology and innovation on the world stage. The UK Government looks forward to engaging with strategic partners, international delegations and pioneering defence companies on the global defence and security agenda.
    Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, Minister for Defence Procurement
    UK MOD
  • I very much look forward to continuing my personal support to DSEI. It provides an excellent opportunity to explore the development of airpower capability, through engagement with the widest range of industry and international partners.
    Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier KCB CBE DFC MA RAF Chief of the Air Staff
    Royal Air Force
  • I much look forward to DSEI. We intend to build on the very positive experience as we construct the partnerships we need to deal with the complexity of the future operating environment
    General Sir Nicholas Carter KCB CBE DSO ADC Gen Chief of the Defence Staff
    Ministry of Defence
  • Once again the Royal Navy is proud to be at the vanguard of DSEI 2019 and I look forward to what I know will be a hugely beneficial opportunity for us all to explore maritime warfare development with so many partners from industry and academia, and with our counterparts from overseas.
    Admiral Sir Philip Jones KCB ADC, The First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff
    Royal Navy
  • DSEI is a highlight within the defence calendar, I use it to find out what the most recent developments are in every technological area affecting for defence. Without DSEI I fear this sort of interaction, information exchange and knowledge of developments across all domains would be lost. DSEI is an invaluable international biannual event .
    Rt Hon Dr Julian Lewis MP, Chairman, House of Commons Defence Select Committee
    UK Parliament
  • DSEI is a fantastic showcase for defence companies where international buyers, sellers, developers, thinkers, educators and the trainers can all get together. The UK defence industry is looking to recruit more engineers, scientists and developers into 200,000 jobs and up to 10,000 apprentices within UK defence companies. DSEI is an excellent tool to highlight the challenges the industry face as well as showcase its capabilities domestically and overseas.
    James Gray MP, House of Commons Defence Committee
    UK Parliament

Platinum Partners


  • General Dynamics

  • BAE Systems

International Partner


  • UAE Pavillion




Supported By

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  • Ministry of Defence

  • Department for International Trade