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Lord Trenchard Memorial Lecture: Building the Next Generation Royal Air Force – Beyond the Integrated Review

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25 January 2021, 13:00
RUSI Members Only
This year’s Lord Trenchard Memorial Lecture will be delivered by Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, Chief of the Air Staff, Royal Air Force, who will discuss implementing the UK Integrated Review and his vision for building the next generation Royal Air Force.

The Integrated Review sets out to define the Government’s ambition for the UK’s role in the world and its long-term strategic aims for our national security and foreign policy. The UK needs Armed Forces which are radically forward-looking, integrate seamlessly and are ready and able to embrace new technologies in the face of fast-evolving threats.

Looking ahead to 2040, Air Chief Marshal Wigston will outline his vision for the Royal Air Force of the future, and his strategy to secure its success on operations today and in decades to follow.

Speaker Biography

 Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston KCB CBE ADC was appointed Chief of the Air Staff on 26 July 2019.

Commissioned on a University Cadetship in 1986, he completed his pilot training on the Tornado GR1 in 1992 followed by a succession of frontline tours, including operational deployments enforcing the no-fly zones in Iraq. He commanded 12(Bomber) Squadron, flying the Tornado GR4 and leading the Squadron on two operational tours in Iraq and large force exercises in Canada, Malaysia and the USA. Appointments in operational headquarters have included Al Udeid Airbase, Qatar, as the Chief of Combat Operations in the Combined Air and Space Operations Centre; Basrah International Airport, Iraq as Commander 903 Expeditionary Air Wing; and one year in Afghanistan as the Director Air Operations in Headquarters ISAF Joint Command. He was appointed CBE in 2013 for his contribution to that mission.

Staff appointments in the Ministry of Defence have included the Operations Directorate and the predecessor to what is now Military Strategic Effects. In 2013, after a short spell as the Tornado Force Commander, he became the Principal Staff Officer to the Chief of Defence Staff. In January 2015, he was appointed Administrator of the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia and Commander British Forces Cyprus, responsible for the civil governance of the Sovereign Base Areas and command of British forces based permanently in Cyprus.

Senior Royal Air Force appointments have included Assistant Chief of the Air Staff, responsible for the strategic coherence and coordination of the Royal Air Force, and oversight of the RAF100 centenary programme. Prior to becoming Chief of the Air Staff, he was Deputy Commander Capability, responsible for the strategic planning and delivery of all aspects of Royal Air Force capability including people, equipment, infrastructure and training.

Education and training includes: reading Engineering Science at Oriel College, Oxford; the Advanced Command and Staff Course; an MA in Defence Studies from King’s College London; the Higher Command and Staff Course; and the UK Pinnacle Course.  He is a Vice Patron of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust and President of the Royal Air Force Rowing Association.

In October 2020, he was appointed to the Military Division of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath as Knight Commander (KCB). 

The event is chaired by Professor Malcolm Chalmers, Deputy Director-General, RUSI.

This event is open to RUSI members only and will take place online via Zoom. To become a member, please click here.

To take part you must pre-register no later than 24 January using the ‘Register Now’ button above.

 After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. If you have any questions, please e-mail

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