Portrait of Air Commodore Rob Woods

Air Commodore Rob Woods

OBE MA BEng (Hons) RAF


Air Officer Wales supports the Air Force Board Executive Committee, through the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff, in order to enhance the public image and positive awareness of the RAF across Wales.

In line with the Defence Mission, the RAF Command Plan, and the RAF Engagement Strategy, Air Officer Wales establishes and maintains close liaison and working relationships with: Leaders and Officials of the Welsh Government; Local Authorities and Community Councils; Lord Lieutenants; Regional senior Royal Navy and Army representatives; Academia; Industry; Charities (esp Service Charities); and Veterans.


Air Commodore Rob Woods was born in 1969 and educated at Ardingly College in West Sussex. Following in his father’s footsteps, he was commissioned in the Royal Air Force in 1987 prior to studying Aeronautical Engineering and Design at Loughborough University on the University Cadetship scheme. He graduated in 1990 and immediately attended Initial Officer Training and engineer officer specialist training. His first tour was as OC ‘C’ Flight on ‘A’ Line Servicing Squadron at RAF Lyneham where he was responsible for the first-line maintenance of 25 Hercules C-130K aircraft. 

In January 1993 he was posted to RAF Mount Pleasant in the Falkland Islands as the Engineering Officer on No. 1312 Flt responsible for the maintenance of the resident Hercules air-to-air refuelling aircraft. On his return to the UK, he undertook another period of specialist training before being posted first to RAF St Athan as OC No. 1 Aircraft Repair Flight on the Repair Support Squadron and then in 1996 to RAF Wyton as the ASTOR (Sentinel) Project Officer within RAF Logistics Command. In 1999 he was promoted to Squadron Leader and posted to HQ Strike Command at RAF High Wycombe. 

In July 2000 he was selected as the first Senior Engineering Officer on the C-17 Globemaster III strategic transport aircraft. During this very busy tour he was responsible for the ‘site activation’ and reformation of No. 99 Squadron at RAF Brize Norton as well as for supporting early operations into Afghanistan. In August 2002 he moved back to HQ Strike Command to become the Personal Staff Officer to Air Officer Logistics & CIS (RAF Chief Engineer). Following promotion to Wing Commander and attendance at No. 8 Advanced Command and Staff Course at the Joint Service Command and Staff College, Shrivenham, he moved, in August 2005, to MOD Abbey Wood as part of the Nimrod MRA4 Integrated Project Team. In August 2007 he was selected for command and took over as both the Station Commander RAF St Athan and Commanding Officer No. 4 School of Technical Training. He returned to Abbey Wood in July 2009 as SO1 Air Plans before deploying, in June 2011, on a 6-month operational tour to No. 83 Expeditionary Air Group in the Middle East as Chief of Staff to the UK Air Component Commander. After a very brief spell in the Military Aviation Authority in the MOD, he was promoted Group Captain in May 2012 and assigned to the DE&S Materiel Strategy Team where he was responsible for engagement with the Front-Line Commands. In September 2014 he became the first Chief of Staff for the new Defence Safety Authority, responsible for establishing the federation of Defence Safety Regulators and driving forward changes to regulatory oversight and accident investigation. On 1 March 2017 he was appointed Station Commander RAF High Wycombe and Group Captain United States Visiting Forces. Promoted Air Commodore in April 2019, he was assigned as Chief of Staff (Air) at Defence Equipment & Support. Between March 2020 and April 2021, he was seconded to stand up and lead the DE&S Operations Team, co-ordinating the response to and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic as well as support to Brexit. In 2024, Air Commodore Woods will take up two new appointments: Air Officer Wales and Aide-de-camp to His Majesty The King; and Implementation Lead for Sub-Boundary 2 in DE&S.

Air Commodore Woods was appointed OBE in the New Years’ Honours List 2010. He is married to Margaret (who is Welsh!) and they have three children: James, Scarlett and Esther. A keen sportsman, he is the President of the RAF Orienteering Association and spends his spare time competing (and trying not to get lost) in the UK and overseas.

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