Following the sacking of two former Red Arrows pilots and the suspension of the RAF’s aerobatic display team’s chief commander as part of an inquiry into unacceptable behaviour, there are question marks over the future of the famous squadron based at RAF Waddington near Lincoln.
The Red Arrows are in the midst of the largest scandal in the team’s near 60-year history, as multiple whistleblowers and RAF personnel have come forward accusing members of the Royal Air Force aerobatic display team of bullying, misogyny and sexual harassment.
It has prompted an inquiry into the behaviours of the Red Arrows team, and news has broke recently of three pilots at the team being disciplined over allegations of their actions.
Flight Lieutenant Damon Green, who stepped back from the team due to ‘family circumstances’ before the start of the 2022 season, was reportedly sacked over claims of sexual assault.
This was followed just days later by the apparent sacking of Flight Lieutenant Will Cambridge, who is believed to have engaged in the sexual harassment of a colleague.
Wing Commander David Montenegro, who is the Officer Commanding the Red Arrows, was suspended following claims he had an affair with a junior colleague and got her pregnant, while he was married with children.
All three of these acts of discipline were reported in November, as findings from the RAF’s inquiry continue to provide damning indictments of the suspected behaviours within the Red Arrows squadron.
Calls are now emerging for the RAF to evaluate the Red Arrows’ future, with some even suggesting that it might be time for them to disband due to the dark cloud these allegations have cast over the display team – however authorities associated with RAF personnel feel this is an unlikely course of action.
Philip Ingram MBE, from the Independent Defence Authority, said: “I’ve heard a number of the victims calling for the Red Arrows to be disbanded.
“In reality what they are saying is that they should almost be suspended for a period of time, so that a lot of this inappropriate behaviour and the individuals associated with it can be identified and cleaned out.”
However, the RAF said in a statement last week: “Following allegations from individuals within the RAF Aerobatics Team (The Red Arrows), an Inquiry was initiated that revealed a broad range of unacceptable behaviours.
“The RAF Police Special Investigations Branch investigated specific allegations and whilst there were no criminal cases to be answered, we continue to look into the circumstances that led to the inquiry.
“To date, several RAF personnel have been investigated under the RAF’s Major Administrative Action Procedures. These investigations have resulted in a range of outcomes up to and including dismissals from the RAF.
“The inquiry recommended a variety of measures to improve behaviours and culture on the unit. Many of these recommendations have already been implemented and all are being pursued as a priority. They included actions to improve understanding of what is and isn’t acceptable and how to stop unacceptable behaviours.”
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