The UK and our allies face threats in an uncertain world, from unauthorised aircraft entering protected airspace, to cyber attacks.
Our Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Force based at RAF Lossiemouth (north east Scotland), RAF Coningsby (eastern England), and the Falkland Islands (south Atlantic), are ready to scramble state of the art Eurofighter Typhoons in minutes to intercept threats.
We identify and manage threats before they materialise through intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). We can rapidly deploy aircraft and personnel around the world to deter conflict and defeat our adversaries if necessary.
We are currently active across four continents with significant operations in Eastern Europe, South Atlantic, and the Mediterranean. Our proximity to unstable regions and potential adversaries provides the air power to curb threats and destabilising behaviour.
Watch the skies
We use a combination of state-of-art static radar, mobile units, aircraft, and satellites to gather minute-to-minute information on air activity.
Our Air Surveillance and Control Systems Force continuously compile a Recognised Air Picture of the airspace in and around the UK, providing vital early warning of potential threats such as unauthorised aircraft or missiles.
We also monitor threats in space: from space weather and debris that can damage orbiting satellites, to hostile acts from our adversaries.
We have the aircraft, the know-how, and the reach to get humanitarian aid, equipment, and people into affected areas quickly.
We support government agencies and emergency services on UK operations.
Feature story: Military aid to civil authorities
We also evacuate civilians and military personnel from natural disasters and unrest.
On overseas humanitarian operations we work with the Department for International Development (DFID), and the governments of Commonwealth and partner countries.
Work in partnership
Air power is most effective in a joint action with other military services such as the British Army and Royal Navy, and with government departments, all working towards a common national goal. We call this a full spectrum approach.
We continuously train and deploy with the armed forces of our NATO allies and global partners in places like Estonia, Romania, and in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
Maintaining good relations with our international partners means we can operate from their bases to expand our global reach.
As a world-class air force we also advise and train other air forces to build their capacity to respond to threats and prevent conflict.
Combat cyber threats
Potential adversaries are growing their capability and confidence to launch cyber attacks that could disrupt the UK’s critical civilian and military air and space systems such as air traffic control.
Our RAF cyberspace communications specialists are continuously working in the UK and deployed around the world to combat these threats.