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What does STEM mean for the RAF?

What is STEM?

STEM is an abbreviation for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics all key disciplines and areas of expertise that the Royal Air Force and industry partners strive in.

What does STEM mean for the RAF?

STEM plays a necessary role for the continued success of the RAF and it has done since it was formed in 1918. The RAF would simply not function without the talented people in critical STEM roles such as engineers, logistical officers, aviation technicians, pilots, cyberspace specialist, medics… and the list goes on.

It is the foundation for engineering, maintaining and flying our aircraft, but break it down even further and it opens up a host of different streams in which support the success of operations and exercises, enabling air and space power to protect our nation and support allies.

We want to see all young people continue to study STEM subjects to open up the opportunities for exciting and rewarding careers. That’s why we work with schools and communities around the UK and overseas to run hands-on activities and competitions with school students.

At the moment it is difficult for us to do this so along with the Virtual Air Tattoo we want to give you and insight and further understanding into STEM in the RAF and how you could get involved and maybe one day be one of many incredible people who make up the Royal Air Force.

Inspiring STEM Careers in the RAF

We’re engaging and inspiring the next generation to pursue diverse and rewarding STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) careers.

Our Inspire page gives an insight into some of the many roles which make up STEM and test your knowledge with Red 1 to see if you have what it takes.

Find out more on Inspiring STEM Careers

The Red Arrows

The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, is one of the world’s premier aerobatic display teams.

Representing the speed, agility and precision of the Royal Air Force, the team is the public face of the service. Flying distinctive red Hawk fast-jets, the team takes to the skies for some of the most incredible aerobatic displays, and apart from the pilot’s masterful skill in the cockpit and synchronised co-ordination their success wouldn’t be possible without the team of engineers and support staff with frontline and operational experience.

Every single detail of the Red Arrows boils down to precise calculations, in the air and on the ground.

You have the aircrafts maintenance by “The Blues”, the wonderful vapour trails or “smoke” amalgamated by the Dye Team and the pilots. When it comes to the engineering there are many aspects that make-up the hawks getting up in the air and being fitted safely to protect the pilots – you have Mechanical Technicians, Avionics Technicians and Weapons Technicians that all play a key role for a successful flight. 

Many of us from all over the world have had the amazing opportunity to see the spectacle of the Red Arrows. The planning and logistics of getting the team and aircraft all over the world is a massive task in itself and the team behind that are just as important because without them we wouldn’t be able to get the Red Arrows up the air to display.

Our Aircraft 

Our Aircraft wouldn't be as incredible as they are without STEM, to find out more and see 3D models of our aircraft click the links below.

Team Tempest

Tempest will be a sixth-generation Combat Aircraft, operating at the cutting edge of technological innovation, and securing the UK's position as a global leader in Combat Air.

It is being developed by the RAF Rapid Capabilities Office and UK industry working together, as part of a £2 billion investment from the Ministry of Defence.

RAF Storytellers

We have RAF Storytellers which are RAF Personnel who tell their story through their social media profiles, and some of their jobs are STEM roles.

Flight Lieutenant Lucy Nell

Lucy is an RAF Medical Officer

Seargant Jonathan Wilcox

Jonathan is an Aircraft Technician (Avionics), working alongside industry partners and the Royal Navy

Wing Commander Manjeet Ghataora

Manjeet is a Senior Engineering Officer currently supporting EUFOR in Sarajevo.


With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the RAF had personnel involved in the relief effort for the UK and the rest of the world. That includes RAF medics and nurses, personnel to support the build of NHS Nightingale, supporting oversea territories with the transportation of supplies, assisting the NHS with ambulance drivers, utilising facilities to 3D print PPE for NHS workers and flying helicopters to support the Scottish ambulance service get to patients.

STEM Careers in the RAF

To find out more about a STEM career in the Royal Air Force head over to RAF Recruitment