A female RAF officer with a degree from Newcastle Polytechnic has been appointed Air Vice Marshal, the most senior position held by a regular serving woman.
Sue Gray, 50, is the second female two-star officer after she was appointed director of combat air at Defence Equipment and Support.
Air Vice-Marshal Gray joined the RAF in 1985, she was commissioned into the Engineer Branch and later deployed to Iraq in the First Gulf War in 1991, and on Operation Telic in 2003 when she was chief engineer for the Joint Helicopter Force.
She will now be responsible for the procurement and maintenance of all combat aircraft, training aircraft and remotely piloted air systems for the armed forces.
"It is an immense privilege to have served my country for the last 28 years in the RAF and I am delighted to continue to do this in my new role as director of combat air.
"I look forward to the challenges of ensuring the UK stays at the cutting edge of combat air power, delivering world-class fast jet training aircraft and remotely piloted air systems to our armed forces."
– Air Vice-Marshal Gray
"Sue Gray's promotion to the rank of Air Vice-Marshal is thoroughly well deserved; I wish her every success in her challenging role within Defence Equipment and Support.
"Her promotion, along with that of her colleague, Air Vice-Marshal Elaine West, announced earlier this year, is a tangible demonstration that the RAF provides rewarding careers for our diverse population of professional military personnel and that we realise the potential in our best and brightest people."
Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy says the historic bond between the army battalions and the towns where they have been stationed will be broken by the closure of four barracks. Mr Murphy claimed the Government had only succeeded in creating a great deal of cynicism in the Armed Forces.
Around 11,000 British troops based in Germany will return home by 2016 under plans which will see nearly £2 billion invested in Army housing and bases, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond will announce today.
Under the speeded-up withdrawal, the remaining 4,500 troops will be back in the UK by 2019, a year earlier than planned.
Around £1bn of the funding being announced today will go towards 1,900 new houses for service families and accommodation for 7,800 single soldiers.
Another £800 million will be spent on infrastructure and refurbishment of bases.
The Government hopes the plans will mean more cash is ploughed back into the British, rather than German, economy as well as creating new construction jobs in the UK.
Savings of around £240 million a year are also expected to be made through reductions in operating costs.