Air Vice-Marshal promotion for Newcastle graduate

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."

– Head of RAF personnel Air Marshal Baz North