Fighter pilot is unveiled as the head of UK’s new Space Command


The first commander of Britain’s new space force has been revealed as a fighter pilot who has served in the RAF for 30 years.

Air Commodore Paul Godfrey will carry the new rank of Air Vice Marshal when he takes the helm at Space Command.

The father, who was made an OBE in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours, joked he is watching Steve Carell’s Space Force on Netflix to prepare for the role.

He wrote on Twitter: ‘Thanks to everyone for the very kind comments. Clearly an enormous administrative mix up again, but I’d rather be lucky than good!

‘Really looking forward to the job and working with some amazing people. Currently binge-watching Space Force on Netflix for ideas…’

Air Commodore Paul Godfrey will carry the new rank of Air Vice Marshal when he takes the helm at Space Command

Air Commodore Paul Godfrey will carry the new rank of Air Vice Marshal when he takes the helm at Space Command

The father, who was made an OBE in the 2014 Queen's Birthday Honours, has also flown Spitfires (pictured)

The father, who was made an OBE in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours, has also flown Spitfires (pictured)

He joked on his Twitter page about the job, saying he is watching Steve Carell's Space Force on Netflix (pictured) to prepare

He joked on his Twitter page about the job, saying he is watching Steve Carell’s Space Force on Netflix (pictured) to prepare

Space Command will be a Joint Command based at RAF High Wycombe and staffed by personnel from all three services of the UK military.

Space operations, space workforce generation and space capability will be brought together under a single 2-Star military commander.

The regiment will work closely with Space Directorate and Strategic Command to deliver defence ‘needs to operate and fight’ in the information age.

Capabilities to be developed in the space domain include satellite communications, position, navigation and timing, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance.

Paul Godfrey’s sky-high career:

May 1991: Commissioned into the RAF after graduating from RAF Cranwell

2008: Watched live as Richard Hammond raced a Typhoon on Top Gear.

2014: Made an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours

2015: Served as a Harrier Jump Jet pilot before becoming station commander at RAF Lossiemouth

2017: He rose to Air Commodore and was made Head Carrier Enabled Power Projection in the Ministry of Defence.

July 2020: He was made Combined Air & Space Operations Centre Director in Al Udeid, Qatar.

Boris Johnson announced in November £16.5billion more for defence over four years.

The bigger settlement is expected to be spent on Space Command – which could launch Britain’s first rocket in 2022.

Air Commodore Godfrey joined the RAF in 1991 and has been a fighter pilot most of his career, in addition to RAF Lossiemouth Station Commander.

He recently planned and employed coalition air and space power across the Middle East within the US Air Force Combined Air and Space Operations Centre.

In the past few years he has risen the ranks, going from Group Captain to be Officer Commanding Royal Air Force Lossiemouth in November 2015.

Two years later he rose to Air Commodore and was made Head Carrier Enabled Power Projection in the Ministry of Defence.

And last July he was made Combined Air & Space Operations Centre Director in Al Udeid, Qatar.

He was present when Richard Hammond used a Bughatti to race a Typhoon on Top Gear in 2008 and flew actor Ewan McGregor in a Typhoon for a TV special.

He also hosts the Pilot Episodes Podcast with fellow flying legends Duncan Mason and Anthony Parkinson.

Godrey has flown Spitfires, Hurricanes and Chipmunks during his distinguished career, including three seasons with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

In an ‘RAF stories’ video he speaks about the time he almost crashed a Spitfire when trying to land it during his first flight in the iconic plane.

He took off in the Mark 5 Spitfire and did a 500ft display before coming down to a 100ft display ‘very close to the ground’ but ‘she flew like a dream’.

He said: ‘It’s exactly what you thought it would be like – until I got to land. I landed, it was a nice landing… it wasn’t what’s termed a three-point landing where you’re almost stalling on to the runway.

‘It was a landing where the tail was up because I’d landed a little bit fast because it was gusty.

‘The guys had told me that this particular aeroplane went right on landing, but when the tail wasn’t coming down I made the massive mistake of just tweaking it down.

‘The left wing lifted and I ended up arching off the runway, I just missed the windsock.

‘At this time I thought ”I’m going to crash a Spitfire, this is going to be horrendous”.’

He said the wing came down but then the right wing lifted, sending him into a curve with the brakes not working back towards the runway.

He added: ‘Fortunately I managed to wrestle that wing down, I started braking and the brakes are a bit like a bicycle brake on a curved stick.

‘So I started braking and the tail was coming up so I don’t want to dig the prop in. I eventually wrestled her back on to the runway and came to a stop and… it was very nice to meet some of the firemen who came out to meet me after seeing me ”crash” off the side.’

On his new role, Godfrey said: ‘I am incredibly honoured to be selected to lead the new joint Space Command.

‘Having just returned from a role embedded with the United States military, where I was privileged to be able to plan and direct air and space power in support of coalition operations, I have seen first-hand how critical the space domain is and how it underpins not only military operations but broader everyday activities.’

Director Space Air Vice-Marshal Harv Smyth said: ‘Space, and our assured access to it, is fundamental to military operations.

‘Loss of, or disruption to, the Space Domain, will impact our ability to undertake the majority of Defence Tasks, and has the potential for significant effect on civilian, commercial and economic activity.

Group Commander Martin Sampson (left) and then Wing Commander Paul Godfrey (right) speaking to journalists at the Italian airbase Of Gioia Del Colle Near Bari in 2011

Group Commander Martin Sampson (left) and then Wing Commander Paul Godfrey (right) speaking to journalists at the Italian airbase Of Gioia Del Colle Near Bari in 2011

‘The threat from adversaries in this rapidly maturing domain is real and it is here now. If we fail to understand how to operate successfully in the Space Domain through integrated operations, we lose our battle-winning edge.

‘The establishment of a UK Space Command for Defence is a crucial step in our development, and will underpin our ability to understand and operate in Space.’

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, said: ‘This Government’s determination to establish UK Space Command is a huge step forward because Space is fundamental to our national security and to our way of life.

‘UK Space Command will protect and promote the United Kingdom’s interests in space, working with like-minded allies around the world for the benefit of all.’

General Sir Patrick Sanders, Commander of Strategic Command added: ‘The benefits we derive from Space are vital to our economy, our way of life and to our national security.

‘In particular we rely on space for the military command and control systems, cyber capabilities, communications, and surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities that Strategic Command provides with our partners to defend the UK and our allies.

‘I look forward to Strategic Command, working very closely with the new Space Command to deliver the integration of these capabilities to our Armed Forces as they operate in the air, on the land, at sea and in cyberspace.’



Source link

Spread the love

Written by bourbiza

Stepson is charged with attempted murder after man run down by car in Telopea Sydney

Nick Kyrgios’ glamorous girlfriend shares cryptic Instagram post