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Deputy Commander

Air Commodore Keith Taylor

Air Commodore Keith Taylor joined the RAF as a university cadet, gaining an Honours Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Bath in 1989.

On completion of pilot training, Taylor completed an operational tour on the Tornado GR1 with 31 Squadron based at RAF Brüggen, which included supporting Operation JURAL enforcing the no-fly zone over southern Iraq. After a tour as a Qualified Flying Instructor on the Hawk, Taylor returned to the front line with 12(B) Squadron based at RAF Lossiemouth, this time flying the upgraded Tornado GR4. He once again flew on operations over southern Iraq on Op BOLTON and twice on Op RESINATE SOUTH, and was also a graduate from the NATO Tactical Leadership Programme in 2001 before being promoted in 2002.

As a Squadron Leader, Taylor became a staff officer within Number 1 Group, HQ Air Command, as the Tornado GR4 training specialist. He then completed a flight commander tour, once again on 12(B) Squadron and also revisited Iraq for three operational tours, this time on Op TELIC in support of Coalition ground forces throughout the whole of the country.

On promotion to Wing Commander in 2007, Taylor was posted to the Advanced Command and Staff Course at the Joint Services Command and Staff College within the Defence Academy, Shrivenham. Graduating from the year-long course with a Masters with Distinction, he was posted to the RAF Manning organisation at HQ Air Command. Here he supervised the career management of all the junior officer and non-commissioned aircrew in the RAF.

Taylor refreshed on the Tornado GR4 in August 2010 before assuming command of 617 Squadron in the October. During his command he led the Squadron on two four-month operational deployments to Afghanistan in support of Op HERRICK, where he was awarded the NATO Non-Article 5 International Security Assistance Force medal. Reluctantly Keith handed over the Dambusters Squadron in October 2012 and moved to the Air Capability area of the Ministry of Defence, where he was responsible for the protection of all UK air platforms from hostile fire. In this role he was also the UK lead representative on the NATO Air Capability Group 3, which was responsible for Air Electronic Warfare. He assisted with the acceleration of Electro-Optic Countermeasure solutions, helped drive a refresh in Radio Frequency Countermeasures through Sub-Group 2, and explored future Electromagnetic Operations through the Electro Magnetic Spectrum Denial Working Group.

On promotion to Group Captain in 2014, Taylor was appointed Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander British Forces South Atlantic Islands. Although based in the Falkland Islands the Force also held responsibility for Ascension Island, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. Part of his role saw him act as Air Defence Commander for the region; his assets comprised three Type 101 remote radar sites and Typhoon FGR4 aircraft. He also coordinated the HQ staff output through several challenging air-sea rescue missions in the inhospitable waters of the South Atlantic.

Taylor returned to the UK in September 2016 to take up command of RAF Linton-on-Ouse and Number One Flying Training School. His three-year command of the Station encompassed the high of the RAF100 celebrations, as well as the base closure announcement. He oversaw the final three years of RAF Tucano operations, with all the challenges that the Delivery Duty Holder role for this ageing platform brought, and flew the final ever Service sortie of the aircraft type. In January 2020 Taylor deployed to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar as the UK Deputy Air Component Commander of Number 83 Expeditionary Air Group, with responsibility for the operational output of all UK air assets in the wider Middle East. He was promoted to Air Commodore in 2020 assuming the post of Deputy Force Commander and Chief of Staff of the NAEW & Control Force on 31 October 2020

Air Commodore is married to Elizabeth and has two grown up daughters.

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