Sir Rich Knighton


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."


Brought up in Derbyshire and educated at the local Secondary School, he joined the Royal Air Force in 1988 as a University Cadet and studied Engineering at Clare College Cambridge. He spent his early career in frontline roles working on Nimrod Maritime Patrol Aircraft, Tornado and in several roles within the Harrier force. He has served as the Station Commander at Royal Air Force Wittering where he was also the RAF’s Logistics Force Commander. 

He has held a range staff appointments in the Ministry of Defence, Air Command and in equipment acquisition and support. He has been closely involved in strategic and capability planning for the Royal Air Force and Defence. He has been the Assistant Chief of Air Staff, where he was responsible for the strategic coherence and coordination of the Royal Air Force and planning for the RAF100 centenary programme. The most senior role he has held in the Ministry of Defence was as the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff for Military Capability. He is currently Deputy Commander Capability and People at Air Command, where he is responsible for the strategic planning and delivery of all aspects of Royal Air Force capability including people, equipment, infrastructure and training. 

He has completed the Advanced Command and Staff Course, the Royal College of Defence Studies and the UK Pinnacle Course. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineers. He is a Vice Patron of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust, an ambassador for the Royal Air Forces Association and President of the Royal Air Force Winter Sports Federation, Hockey Association and Powerlifting Association. He was appointed to the Military Division of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath as a Commander (CB) in 2017 and as Knight Commander (KCB) in 2023.

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


2017 - CB

2020 - FREng

2023 - KCB

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