New Director General Air announced

Published 6 August 2020.

Vice Admiral Richard Thompson will be joining DE&S in September as the new Director General Air

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From September, DE&S will welcome a new Director General Air, Vice Admiral Rick Thompson, who joins from Sealand Support Services.

Rick will lead the Air Domain, which comprises more than 2,200 staff operating across two operating centres and will be responsible for delivering the Air portfolio of equipment acquisition, support and services for Front-Line Command customers.

On the appointment, Sir Simon Bollom, DE&S CEO, said:

“I am delighted to announce that Rick Thompson has been appointed as the new Director General Air in the rank of Vice Admiral and will take up his appointment next month. Rick joins DE&S on promotion from his current secondment as Managing Director of Sealand Support Services. He has had a long career in the Royal Navy and acquisition most notably as Head of the Lightning Team.

“Rick will bring real energy and drive to the role and I’m sure colleagues in the Air Domain will join me and the rest of the Executive in looking forward to welcoming Rick in September.

“I would also like to thank Sir Julian Young who completes a very distinguished and varied career in the RAF including the last four years as Director General Air where he has led the Air Domain quite superbly”.

Rear Admiral Richard (Rick) Thompson is an Aeronautical Engineer Officer who joined the Royal Navy in 1985 and graduated from the Royal Naval Engineering College in 1989. His last appointment at sea was as the Senior Air Engineer of HMS Ark Royal, responsible for the airworthiness and maintenance of all embarked squadrons, air launched weapons and workshop support.

In-between operational appointments, Rick spent two decades managing major international programmes in equipment acquisition, capability delivery and change management. These included business transformation with Joint Helicopter Command, strategic personnel change with the Naval Head Quarters and the design of the Merlin helicopter with a secondment to industry.

His most recent Programme Management role was with DE&S, as the Team Leader responsible for the procurement and integration of the Lightning II aircraft (F-35B) into the UK. Over an eight-year period he procured the UK’s first 18 aircraft, delivering six, and certifying the design.

He also procured the support infrastructure and contracted logistics for RAF Marham, the UK’s Main Operating Base for the aircraft. His design work included integrating the aircraft with the Queen Elizabeth Class Carrier for the short take-off and vertical landing aircraft (STOVL) and carrier variants of the F-35.

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