Catalogue description Royal Air Force, Strike Command: Reports, Files, Memos and Operation Orders

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Details of DEFE 58
Reference: DEFE 58
Title: Royal Air Force, Strike Command: Reports, Files, Memos and Operation Orders

This series consists of files and reports, memos and operation orders of all RAF Strike Command's constituent groups.

The series includes reports, memoranda and notes of Operational Research Branches, Strike Command and No 18 Group; missile firing reports from the Missile Practice Camp and Air-to-Air Missile Establishment RAF Valley, Anglesea; files of Offensive Operations Branch; and Maritime Intelligence Digests from the Joint Maritime Intelligence Centre, Northwood, London.

Date: 1958-2002
Related material:

Records of the Air Council AIR 6

Records of the earlier Bomber Command AIR 14

Records of the earlier Coastal Command AIR 15

Records of the earlier Fighter Command AIR 16

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)

Royal Air Force, 1918-

Physical description: 538 files and volumes
Access conditions: Open unless otherwise stated
Immediate source of acquisition:

From 2004 Ministry of Defence

Accruals: Series is accruing
Administrative / biographical background:

During the 1960s, studies conducted by the Air Staff pointed to the need to revise the RAF's command structure in line with changing defence commitments. The first major change took place on 30 April 1968 with the merging of two of the RAF's three existing operational commands within the UK - Bomber and Fighter Commands - to form a new integrated command, designated RAF Strike Command. Both Bomber and Fighter Commands assumed the status of groups within Strike Command and adopted the identities of formations long associated with their respective roles. The bomber and air-to-air refuelling squadrons of Bomber Command now fell within No.1 Group; Fighter Command's fighter and surface-to-air missile force in the UK, together with the ground radar network, became No.11 Group. In 1969, the third of the RAF's operational commands - Coastal Command - joined the new structure as No.18 (Maritime) Group.

The consolidation of the RAF's operational assets within Strike Command culminated in 1972 with the merger of Strike and Air Support Commands, the latter's tactical reconnaissance, close support and transport forces being grouped in Nos. 38 and 46 Groups, Strike Command. With this step, all operational squadrons within the UK and their associated support units were brought together under the Strike Command umbrella.

Although further revisions to the group structure were to follow, the basis of Strike Command remained largely unchanged during the 1970s and 1980s. However, the withdrawal of RAF squadrons from Germany, the development of joint-service headquarters and the emergence of new commitments and challenges in the aftermath of the Cold War resulted in the wholesale reorganisation of Strike Command during the late 1990s, culminating in the three-group structure in use at the beginning of the 21st Century.

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