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12 - 15 September 2023

Excel - London

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David Bradshaw

Air Commodore David Bradshaw

ACOS Capability Delivery (Combat Air), Royal Air Force

Air Commodore David Bradshaw is the 1* Assistant Chief-of-Staff within Headquarters Air Command responsible for the delivery of Combat Air programmes including Lightning, Typhoon, Air Weapons and Gladiator (also known as Distributed Operational Training Capability (Air)). As Senior Responsible Owner, he has overseen the achievement of Lightning Initial Operational Capability (Maritime).

David joined the RAF as a University Cadet at Bristol University in 1988. While the Cold War ‘peace dividend’ slowed his progress through the flying training system, he achieved combat ready status on Harrier GR7 in 1996. A busy tour on 3(F) Squadron included operational flying over Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq, the latter while embarked on HMS Illustrious. Following a tour as a 20(R) Squadron staff Qualified Weapons Instructor and the 2001 RAF Harrier Display pilot, David returned to the Joint Force Harrier front line as a flight commander on IV(AC) Squadron at RAF Cottesmore. David was OC Attack for the combined IV(AC) and 1(F) Squadron deployment for the warfighting phase of Operation TELIC.

Two years within the RAF Personnel Management Agency at RAF Innsworth as the career manager for some 350 junior officer fast jet pilots culminated in promotion to wing commander and selection for the Advanced Command and Staff Course at Shrivenham. He graduated with an MA in Defence Studies in mid-2007 and assumed the role of Assistant Director (Integration) within the Directorate of Equipment Capability, Deep Target Attack, with specific responsibility for Joint Fires integration. David was posted to RAF Wittering in 2008 as Chief-of-Staff within the Air Logistics Force Headquarters and Officer Commanding Operations Wing. Following the demise of the Harrier Force in late 2010, David was seconded to 10 Downing Street as the military advisor to the Prime Minister’s Strategic Communications Team during Operation ELLAMY. David then became the Strategy Chief-of-Staff within the Air Staff, providing advice to the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff on myriad Air and Defence-related issues.

Promoted in 2012, David assumed the role of Group Captain Lightning in the Air Capability department of Headquarters Air Command. During a fascinating 18 months, he worked closely with Royal Navy, US Marine Corps, DE&S, MAA, and other international Air Force and industry colleagues to ensure safe initial operations and the successful realisation of this extraordinary Combat Air programme. In January 2014, he deployed to Afghanistan as the penultimate Commanding Officer 904 Expeditionary Air Wing and Commander UK Joint Operating Base Kandahar. During the subsequent 2 years as Station Commander RAF Leeming, David also commanded 135 Combined Expeditionary Air Wing for the UK/French Exercise GRIFFIN STRIKE and deployed as the UK Detachment Commander for Exercise RED FLAG 16-1.

Following the Higher Command and Staff Course and promotion to Air Commodore in early 2017, he assumed command of the Lightning Force and the Tornado GR4 Force. Having overseen the arrival of F-35B to the UK, declaration of Lightning Force Initial Operational Capability (Land) and the respectful disbandment of the Tornado Force, David assumed the role of Senior Responsible Owner Combat Air in April 2019.


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