Sir Rich Knighton

KCB FREng

The Deputy Commander Capability of the Royal Air Force is responsible for delivering the RAF Strategy through people, equipment, digital, training, infrastructure and support to ensure the Service can deliver air and space power for the nation and project power and influence around the World.

"I am delighted to be back at Air Command and proud to be appointed as the new DCOM Cap. I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible and hearing your thoughts over the coming months. And I am looking forward to delivering the Next Generation Air Force with you."

Details

Rich Knighton was brought up in Derbyshire and educated at the local Secondary School.  He joined the RAF in 1988 as a University Cadet and studied Engineering at Clare College Cambridge.  He spent his early career working as an engineer officer on Nimrod and Tornado F3 aircraft and several tours on the Harrier force including being Senior Engineer Officer on 20 Squadron – the Harrier Operational Conversion Unit – at RAF Wittering.  After 2 years in this role, including a short stint as Senior Engineer Officer on 1 Squadron in Italy during the Kosovo campaign, he was posted to the Tornado Integrated Project Team as the fleet manager for all marks of Tornado.   

He attended Advanced Command and Staff Course in 2003/4 before returning to the Harrier Force, this time as head of the team charged with transforming the way the Harrier was supported by industry.  After 18 months in post he was selected to be the Military Assistant to Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Equipment Capability) in MOD.  He was promoted to Group Captain in mid-2007 when he became Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff Strategy and Plans at Air Command at RAF High Wycombe.  He attended the Royal College of Defence Studies in 2009, after which he took up his appointment as the RAF’s Logistics Force Commander and Station Commander at RAF Wittering.  

In 2011 he was promoted to Air Commodore and became Head of Finance and Military Capability (Air) in the MOD before setting up and leading the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) Programme in 2014.  In January 2015 he was promoted to Air Vice-Marshal and appointed as the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff.  In this role he oversaw the development of the RAF’s strategy and the planning for the RAF’s Centenary celebrations.  He became Assistant Chief of Defence Staff (Capability and Force Design) in 2017. 

He held this role for a little under two years before he was promoted to Air Marshal and appointed as Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Military Capability).  He was appointed to his current role as Deputy Commander for Capability and People in May 2022.

Deputy Commander Capability Diversity and Inclusion Statement

Career history

1988 - joined the RAF

2004 - became Military Assistant to Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Equipment Capability)

2007 - promoted to Group Captain and became Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff Strategy and Plans at Air Command at RAF High Wycombe

2009 - became Logistics Force Commander Station Commander at RAF Wittering

2011 - promoted to Air Commodore and became Head of Finance and Military Capability (Air)

2014 - set up and led the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) Programme

2015 - promoted to Air Vice-Marshal and appointed as the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff

2017 - became Assistant Chief of Defence Staff (Capability and Force Design)

2019 - promoted to Air Marshal and appointed Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Military Capability)

2022 - became Deputy Commander for Capability and People

Honours

2016 - CB

2020 - FREng

2022 - KCB

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