No 22 Group

22 Group is responsible for training RAF personnel and providing technical training for the Army and Royal Navy.

Always Rising Again

About this Group

Royal Air Force Number 22 Group provides the qualified and skilled personnel that the RAF and the other two Services need to carry out operations world-wide. 22 Group has a wide area of interest with responsibilities for many aspects of training.

Primary functions

  • Provide the Initial Training to RAF Officers at the Royal Air Force College at RAF Cranwell and Basic Training for airmen and airwomen at RAF Halton
  • Operate the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team (RAFAT), better known as the Red Arrows
  • Run the Royal Air Force Air Cadets (RAFAC)
  • Provide specialist joint training to personnel from all three services, mainly in the following areas:
    • Aeronautical Engineering training
    • Communications and Information Systems training
    • Electro & Mechanical Engineering training
    • Flying training for all types of aircraft (rotary wing, fast jet, multi-engine aircraft)


22 Group directly employs 3,800 military and 1,900 civilian personnel. The Air Cadet Organisation has approximately 41,000 cadets and 12,000 adult volunteers. Each year, the Group trains around 61,000 individuals at varying levels of training across its 53 sites. A selection of these sites house some of the 420 or so training aircraft owned by the Group.

The Group's Six Pillars

Air Officer Commanding 22 Group sits at the head of the organisation as well as occupying the role of Chief of Staff Training for the RAF. The Group is divided into 6 ‘pillars’, each headed by its own 1 Star commander.

These pillars each have their own responsibilities in fulfilling the Group’s mission:

Directorate of Ground Training (DGT)

The Directorate of Ground Training delivers RAF individual training and education policy, governance, assurance and support. Composed of Training Policy and Plans, Adventure Training, Force Development and Air Power Education.

Directorate of Flying Training (DFT)

This provides a wide range of courses that train officers and Non-Commissioned Aircrew (NCA) to the high standards needed when flying on modern operations.

The Directorate of Flying Training delivers competent and highly trained military aircrew, Air Traffic Controllers and Flight Operations personnel to meet front line requirements. Comprising Elementary Flying Training, Advanced Flying Training (Multi-Engine, Fast Jet, Rotary Wing) and the RAF Aerobatic Team, The Red Arrows.

Defence College of Technical Training (DCTT)

RAF, Army and Royal Navy Technical Training delivered through four schools at Cosford, Gosport and St Athan. It educates personnel from all three Services in several different specialist areas: aeronautical engineering, electro and mechanical engineering, marine engineering and communication and information systems.

Royal Air Force Air Cadets (RAFAC)

The RAF's Air Cadets is one of the country's premier youth organisations and the world's largest youth air training organisation, supported by thousands of dedicated volunteer staff. Composed of the Air Training Corps (ATC), Combined Cadet Force (CCF) RAF sections, Gliding and Air Experience Flying.

Royal Air Force College (RAFC)

Delivers Recruit and Officer Training, and administers the University Air Squadrons, from RAF Cranwell.

Directorate of RAF Sport (DRS)

RAF sport at individual, unit, Service and inter-service levels and is responsible for providing guidance to volunteer sporting committees throughout the RAF.

Through these pillars, 22 Group works with local communities, recruits and selects individuals to join the Service, provides comprehensive training, looks after individuals’ professional development and helps them resettle into civilian life after leaving the Service.

Mission Statement

"Deliver world-class trained personnel on time to meet front line requirements, RAF sport and a world-leading cadet force in order to meet Defence commitments."

Air Officer Commanding

Air Vice-Marshal W A W James

Air Vice-Marshal James joined the Royal Air Force on a scholarship in 1985. A helicopter pilot and instructor in his early service, he has operated all over the world. During his career he has commanded the UK’s tri-Service helicopter instructor school, a Search & Rescue squadron (No 202) and, as Station Commander, the base at RAF Shawbury, delivering the UK’s tri-Service helicopter crew training, Air Traffic Control and Flt Operations specialisations.

Appointed as Air Officer Commanding 22 Group, on promotion in June 2017, he is one of only 4 RAF Group Commanders and one of only 6 Operational Duty Holders for aviation safety across Defence.

Who makes this group

RAF Stations

  • RAF College Cranwell
  • RAF Cosford
  • RAF Halton
  • RAF Linton-on-Ouse
  • RAF Shawbury
  • MOD St Athan
  • RAF St Mawgan
  • RAF Valley


  • LVII Squadron
  • IV Squadron
  • 16 Squadron
  • 45 Squadron
  • 60 Squadron
  • 72 Squadron
  • 115 Squadron


Key dates

1918 - 1919

Due to be formed on 1 April 1918, the same day as the RAF was established, the Group was not activated until 1 July that year. It controlled No. 78 Wing RAF and its airfields in Scotland. The Group was disbanded on 30 May 1919

1926 - 1940

The second incarnation began 12 April 1926 when the Group was re-formed from No 7 Group within Inland Area. The Group, responsible for controlling all Army Co-operation work, became part of Fighter Command and was disbanded on 1 December 1940 with the creation of Army Co-operation Command.

1943 - 1972

3 years later, Numbers 72 and 20 Groups were combined and renamed Number 22 Group on 1 Aug 1943 as Technical Training Command. For 30 years, the group was responsible for similar functions to that for which it is responsible today, before its disbandment on 31 January 1972.

2006 - Present

The current iteration of 22 Group began was established on 30 October 2006, encompassing the Training Group which it was replacing.

Contact details

All enquiries to the following address:

Office Manager,
Number 22 Group, Hunter Block
No. 1 Site, RAF High Wycombe
Buckinghamshire, HP14 4UE

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