Two heads are better than one

About this Group

The RAF’s operational headquarters in the Middle East. 83 Expeditionary Air Group (EAG) is commanded by an RAF Air Commodore who acts as the Air Component Commander and Air Officer Commanding 83 EAG. She is responsible to the UK’s Permanent Joint Headquarters for the control and direction of 4 Expeditionary Air Wings (EAWs) supporting Operations Kipion and Shader as well as the delivery of UK national and Defence objectives across the Middle East. 83 EAG’s area of responsibility extends from the Southern end of the Arabian Gulf to the Eastern Mediterranean, and encompasses numerous relationships and alliances across the region.

The combined efforts of HQ 83 EAG, its EAWs and Force Elements are pivotal in combatting Daesh. They have performed to the highest of standards across a huge variety of Defence missions from Defence Engagement to Air Combat. Nevertheless, 83 EAG are ready to secure Daesh’s lasting defeat and help legitimate local authorities build a stable, prosperous and united future for communities in both Iraq and Syria. Adaptable, capable and operationally focused, 83 EAG stands ready to deliver world class air power wherever and whenever it is required to meet the challenges of the future.

Air Officer Commanding

Air Commodore Nikki Thomas OBE MA BEng(Hons) RAF

Air Commodore Nikki Thomas was commissioned into the Royal Air Force as a Navigator in 2000 after graduating with an Aeronautical Engineering degree from Loughborough University. Posted to the Tornado GR4 in 2003, she completed numerous operational deployments in Iraq with 14 and 13 Squadrons and qualified as a Ground and Airborne Forward Air Controller and Qualified Weapons Instructor. Selected for promotion to Squadron Leader in 2008, Nikki joined 31 Sqn where she led the first Marham Tornado Afghanistan deployment.

Leaving the cockpit in 2010, she moved to the Ministry of Defence managing UK Military Flying Training capability before being selected as Staff Officer to the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff. Graduating the Advanced Command and Staff Course in 2013 with an MA in Defence Studies, Nikki was promoted back into the Ministry of Defence as part of the Carrier Enabled Power Projection team to develop C4ISR, doctrine and logistic enablers as well as building US-UK interoperability.

In 2015, Nikki assumed command of the newly reinvigorated 12(B) Squadron, back on the Tornado, where she was tasked with supporting the UK commitment in Iraq/Syria and providing a world-wide contingent capability. Disbanding 12(B) Squadron in Feb 2018 having personally amassed over 3000 flying hours and 300 operational sorties on the Tornado, Nikki was delighted to be appointed an OBE for her leadership and operational output. Selected as a J3 Air Team Leader in PJHQ leading operations in the Middle East, Nikki was subsequently promoted to Group Captain and selected as the MAB Air Commander, a role she held until attending Higher Command and Staff Course in Jan 2020. On graduating the course, Nikki was appointed as the Station Commander, RAF Akrotiri in June 2020 where she led 3500 personnel in support of Middle East operations from Cyprus. After two years in Command at Akrotiri she was selected for promotion and to become the UK Air Component Commander for the Middle East.

Based in London, Nikki enjoys sailing, surfing, swimming and socialising and likes to spend her free time travelling to far flung parts of the globe in an attempt to find the perfect wave and an expertly mixed cocktail.

Who makes this group


Key dates

1943 - 1946

Formed as part of the Allied Second Tactical Air Force and composed of 10 Wings. The group was created to provide air support to the allied landings in Normandy in 1944, D-Day, and afterwards. The group supported the allied armies through the campaign in North West Europe up until the end of hostilities. Before being absorbed in to 84 Group after the War.


1952 - 1958

Reformed to cover Germany's southern area during the Cold War, again within the Second Tactical Air Force. Flying jet fighters, reconnaissance aircraft and ground attack aircraft comprising five Wings across fourteen Squadrons. It was disbanded again prior to the creation of RAF Germany in 1959.

2006 - Present

Formed on 1 April from the UK air component HQ in the Middle East at Al Udeid, Qatar to provide command and control to the 4 Wings in its area of responsibility.