We are delighted to welcome Simon Grapes to our technical services team as an air staff Astra industry coordinator.
Simon joined the RAF in 1988 as a navigator after gaining a degree in Applied Physics at Nottingham University and a short spell at Rolls Royce in Derby. He began his first front-line tour on the Tornado GR1 at RAF Laarbruch followed by 3 subsequent tours at RAF Marham and Cottesmore. During this time, he served in numerous operational deployments flying over Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Kuwait, Iraq and Qatar. He was at Air Command instructing on Expeditionary Airfield Operations when, during Op TELIC 1, he deployed into Iraq as the UK Air Liaison Officer to the 1st US Marine Expeditionary Force.
After his flight commander tour, he was assigned to the Directorate of Equipment Capability MOD, where he was responsible for delivering many Urgent Operational Requirements to fit Air Platform Protection Systems to UK fixed and rotary-wing aircraft. After attending Advanced Command and Staff College he returned to the MOD and served as the Personal Staff Officer to the Assistant Chief of the Air Force during the UK Strategic Security and Defence Review in 2010.
Simon then deployed to Al Udeid Airbase in Qatar where he was the Chief of Combat Operations (CCO) in the US Combined Air and Space Operating Center (CAOC). On return to the UK, he became Officer Commanding Operations Wing at RAF Lossiemouth and at short notice, he commanded 617 Sqn for the first half of their final operational tour on Op HERRICK in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He then deployed once more to Qatar again as the CCO covering Op INHERENT RESOLVE. Afterwards, he became the Chief of Staff Operations at the Air Warfare Centre and then moved to the Lightning Force HQ at RAF Marham where he subsequently established and commanded the UK Lightning Integrated Training Centre. He then returned to the MOD for his last tour as Deputy Director Astra.
Simon has recently left Norfolk to move near to his daughter by Cambridge. He lives with his son and rescue greyhound and enjoys rowing, cycling and cooking. He is also a school community governor and is currently trying his best to learn French.
Welcome to the team, Simon!
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