What We Do
Respond to Threats
We have to be ready at a moment’s notice, night or day, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.
The UK and our allies face threats in an uncertain world, from unauthorised aircraft entering protected airspace, to cyber attacks.
Our Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Force based at RAF Lossiemouth (north east Scotland), RAF Coningsby (eastern England), and the Falkland Islands (south Atlantic), are ready to scramble state of the art Eurofighter Typhoons in minutes to intercept threats.
The RAF works with partners around the world to strengthen national and international security and to protect the interests and influence of the UK and our allies.
We identify and manage threats before they materialise through intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). We can rapidly deploy aircraft and personnel around the world to deter conflict and defeat our adversaries if necessary.
We are currently active across four continents with significant operations in Eastern Europe, South Atlantic, and the Mediterranean. Our proximity to unstable regions and potential adversaries provides the air power to curb threats and destabilising behaviour.
Watch the Skies
The RAF is monitoring potential threats to UK airspace 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
We use a combination of state-of-art static radar, mobile units, aircraft, and satellites to gather minute-to-minute information on air activity.
Our Air Surveillance and Control Systems Force continuously compile a Recognised Air Picture of the airspace in and around the UK, providing vital early warning of potential threats such as unauthorised aircraft or missiles.
We also monitor threats in space: from space weather and debris that can damage orbiting satellites, to hostile acts from our adversaries.
The RAF are ready to provide urgent assistance in an emergency, from floods in the UK, to the Ebola outbreak in Africa, and devastating hurricanes in the Caribbean.
We have the aircraft, the know-how, and the reach to get humanitarian aid, equipment, and people into affected areas quickly.
We also evacuate civilians and military personnel from natural disasters and unrest.
We support government agencies and emergency services on UK operations. On overseas humanitarian operations we work with the Department for International Development (DFID), and the governments of Commonwealth and partner countries.
Work in Partnership
The RAF collaborates with government, military, and civilian partners in the UK and overseas to promote UK security, prosperity and national interests around the world.
Air power is most effective in a joint action with other military services such as the British Army and Royal Navy, and with government departments, all working towards a common national goal. We call this a full spectrum approach.
We continuously train and deploy with the armed forces of our NATO allies and global partners in places like Estonia, Romania, and in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
Maintaining good relations with our international partners means we can operate from their bases to expand our global reach.
As a world-class air force we also advise and train other air forces to build their capacity to respond to threats and prevent conflict.
Combat Cyber Threats
The RAF is responsible for protecting the UK’s air and space capabilities against cyber-attack.
Potential adversaries are growing their capability and confidence to launch cyber attacks that could disrupt the UK’s critical civilian and military air and space systems such as air traffic control.
Successful cyber attacks could prevent our ability to protect UK airspace and provide air power overseas. Our cyber-security specialists are working to combat such threats.