The RAF’s First Ever Female Air Marshal

In February 2019, the Royal Air Force (RAF) announced it had appointed an engineer to become it first ever female Air Marshal, a three-star Commander (OF-8).

Sue Gray has become the most senior female military officer in the British Armed Forces, taking up the role of Director General of the Defence Safety Authority (DSA).

In this role she will lead the way in overseeing the independent organisation, empowered by charter from the Defence Secretary, to undertake the roles of:

  • Regulator;
  • Accident investigation; and
  • Defence Authority for safety.

The 56-year old joined the RAF in August 1985 and has worked in a variety of roles within the RAF including:

  • Engineering on VC10 Transport aircraft;
  • An extensive period with the Joint Helicopter Force during which time she deployed on both Gulf Wars;
  • Tours within the Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) organisation;
  • Leading the Combat Clothing Project Team; and
  • More recently leading the department delivering engineering and logistics support for fighter, training and Remotely Piloted aircraft for all of the Armed Services.

In June 2016, she was appointed Air Officer Commanding Number 38 Group with responsibility for circa 3,000 personnel, across multiple disciplines (including Engineering, Logistics, Aviation Medicine & Catering).

Air Marshal Gray took up her new appointment in March 2019.


MOD (Ministry of Defence). (2019) RAF Engineer becomes first ever UK female military three-star Commander. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 02 April, 2019].


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