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ISTAR Development Programme Manager

Vacancy summary

Royal Air Force
OF-5 - Capt RN - Col - Gp Capt
Group Captain

10/12/2021, 23:55 

April 2022
1 year, 11 months
Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, Army
RAF Waddington
United Kingdom
FTRS - Home Commitment

Vacancy detail

A vacancy has arisen for a Group Captain – any Branch – to serve as the Development Programme Manager at the Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) Force Headquarters (FHQ), RAF Waddington on Full Time Reserve Service (Home Commitment) Terms and Conditions of Service, with an initial proposed start date of 25th April 2022 (or earlier, depending upon candidate status).

The programme was retitled from Transformation to Development as its governance was developed but it remains the same scope and role. The post is funded and the intent is to fill the position as soon as practicable, dependent upon the recruiting process and the agreed availability of the successful candidate.   

IDP Background

The Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) 15 initiated the procurement of E-7, P-8A and Protector platforms, increased Shadow aircraft/crew numbers and extended the Rivet Joint fleet by 10 years to 2035. Subsequent decisions in the 2020 Integrated Review  (IR) resulted in, the Sentinel, Sentry and Islander / Defender aircraft being withdrawn from service  and RAF Aerobatic Team relocating to RAF Waddington by 2023. As a result, the ISTAR Force capabilities including 1 Intelligence Surveillance & Reconnaissance Wing will change significantly. To meet the challenges resulting from these funded changes, the ISTAR Force requires development to ensure it continues to meet current requirements as well as delivering the IR mandated outputs and the challenges to deliver Joint Force 2025 (JF25). The scale and span of the overall change activity is considerable, and a single programme pan-DLOD approach has been taken – this is the ISTAR Development Programme (IDP).  Chief of the Air Staff has issued a mandate assigning AOC 1 Gp as the SRO. An ISTAR Vision has been written and from that 6 top-level projects with circa 40 sub projects have been developed. An OF5 FTRS(HC) post has been funded to manage the overall programme.


This role is a key appointment of the ISTAR Development Programme which offers challenge combined with a high profile and an exciting opportunity to directly shape the future of the ISTAR Force and be part of the RAF’s Astra journey. The Programme Manager is part of the ISTAR Force HQ’s senior leadership team and sits on the ISTAR Force Cdr’s Management Board.

Working through the ISTAR Force Commander for the IDP SRO (AOC 1Gp), the IDP Programme Manager is responsible for leading the Programme by defining, resourcing and managing all aspects of the day-to-day running of the IDP. This includes line management of civil servant and military personnel within the IDP PMO.

Key responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:

  • Supporting the SRO in discharging his responsibilities for the IDP. 
  • Represent the IDP to external and senior stakeholders. 
  • Guide and support the IDP Programme Management Office (PMO) and provide senior level guidance to each of the project OF5 leads. 
  • Establishing and maintaining governance arrangements for the delivery of the Programme; defining clear roles, responsibilities and accountabilities, that align with organisational practice.
  • Consolidating and documenting the fundamental components of the programme (scope, schedule, resource requirements, budgets, risks, opportunities and issues, and quality requirements)
  • Identifying and monitoring programme risks (threats and opportunities) and issues as well as planning and implementing responses to them.
  • Provide oversight and internal assurance of the IDP and the performance of project managers and their teams. 
  • Continuously improve the IDP by drawing on lessons from allied programmes and from across Defence. 
  • Establish, recruit and assign Programme personnel to meet Programme priorities.
  • Lead ASTRA development across the Force
  • Lead on developing the concept of an ‘Air ISTAR Academy’ and any potential Air & Space Warfare Academy.
  • Be the OF5 lead for the 1 ISR relocation to Digby project and provide OF5 coord with UK Strat Com.
  • Must either have been, or currently be a substantive Group Captain (OF5 or equivalent) or a Wing Commander (OF4 or equivalent) who is eligible for promotion in accordance with AP 3393 Vol 1 and AP 7000. All Promotions will be ratified by means of a Promotion Board.
  • The candidate will ideally be a capable leader able to motivate and encourage others across all rank levels and grades and be able to co-ordinate work carried out by different people and organisations - primarily in Air Command but also DE&S, and Strategic Command. Someone who commands respect and trust, is decisive and able to work well under pressure, capable of resolving conflicts, and be good at problem solving.
  • Proven experience in programme management.
  • Proven stakeholder management skills.
  • Proven experience of managing personnel.
  • A strategic thinker with the ability to influence a very wide stakeholder group across multiple ranks and grades of the RAF and civil service.
  • Experience of Identifying, addressing and resolving differences between individuals and/or interest groups.
  • Someone with gravitas and focus but an open mind that embraces change and wants to develop the ISTAR Force of the future.
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written, along with good IT skills.
  • Experience within industry or the armed services, ideally within the ISTAR field, of working in complex and uncertain environments whilst understanding the bigger picture and delivering results under time pressure.
  • Qualifications in programme/project management e.g. MSP, APMP, PRINCE2, M_o_R.

A Selection Board will carry out a rigorous selection process for this post, based principally on an applicant’s last 4 appraisal reports and CV to down-select those for interview. Interviews will focus upon evidence within the reports and CVEnquiries concerning this vacancy should be made to:

Group Captain Adam Northcote-Wright


Applications.  Candidate applications, with a maximum 2-page CV (to include copies of last 4 appraisal reports) should be e-mailed to

The closing date for applications is Fri 10 Dec 2021 (unless prom board required) interviews will take place shortly afterwards.

Unless already commissioned in the Reserve Air Forces the successful applicant will be required to be commissioned in the RAFR with a liability for call-out for permanent service.

The appointment is on Full Term Reserve Service (Home Commitment) in accordance with AP 3392 Vol 7 Part 1 Chapter 16 and AP3392 Vol 7 Part 3 Chapter 2 for an initial period until 31 March 2024.

Confirmation of appointment will depend on successful completion of a RAF Medical Board.  Personnel who do not meet the Age/Permanent Joint Medical Employment Standard (PJMES) may apply for the appointment but will only be considered subject to an executive waiver process on a case by case basis.

Candidates who have been out of regular or reserve service for more than 5 years may be considered for this appointment.  Prior approval must be sought from the relevant Branch & Trade Advisor to confirm current and past experience prior to being invited to interview.

Applicants of an equivalent rank from sister Services may apply but will only be accepted into RAFR service if an appropriate branch/trade sponsor can be identified to sponsor the applicant.  Branch/Trade sponsor approval must be agreed before the interview.

Regular Service Applicants.  Personnel currently serving in the Regular Royal Air Force should be mindful of the current Early Termination Minimum Waiting Time (MWT) for their respective Rank, Branch/Trade and ensure this MWT is compatible with the post sponsor’s proposed start date, prior to applying.

Ex-service candidates who have been administratively discharged through the QR1027 process will have their applications rejected as they are not eligible to join the RAF Reserves in accordance with AP 3391 (Vol 3, Lft 207, Annex L, Para 1a).

Pension Issues.  Personnel who qualify for a service pension should take financial advice from Defence Business Services (DBS) Pensions Department on the effect that undertaking reserve service has on their pension (details can be found on the JPA splash screen). Additional guidance can also be found at Of particular note is reference to the ‘Effect of Re-employment on Commutation’.

Flexible Working Arrangements. In accordance with the Flexible Working (FW) Policy, Reserves personnel are able to request FW arrangements with their line manager.  Any immediate FW requirements should be agreed with the line management at the interview stage.

Individual Reinforcement Training (IRT) (Module 1) and RAF Fitness Test (RAFFT).  Reserve personnel are required to maintain currency in IRT and the RAFFT iaw the relevant TCoS.  The successful applicant will be expected to undertake IRT and the RAFFT within 6 months of commencing employment (if required).

Annual Salary and Leave.  Pay will be in accordance with the pay scales published for the reserve air forces.  Leave entitlement is detailed in JSP 760.

Accommodation. Personnel serving on FTRS(HC) TCoS are eligible to occupy Single Living Accommodation if available, at entitled rates, if serving within the Air Command TLB. However, due to a severe shortage, it is unlikely that accommodation will be available at RAF Waddington.

This opportunity is closed to applications.