The Sir Barnes Wallis Medal

Awarded in recognition of an exceptional and innovative contribution to aviation.


2020 Awarded to: F-16 Cruise Missile Defence Tactics Development Team


Sir Barnes Wallis F-16 - Daniel WynnLieutenant Colonel Jay Baer, Lieutenant Colonel Michael May, Lieutenant Colonel Patrick McGarry, Major Daniel Wynn, Major Jeffrey Entine, and Major Robbie Glenn together have over 90 years of Air Force fighter aviation experience and more than 10,000 flying hours in various F-16 models. In 2019, this team devised and successfully tested a revolutionary tactic using an air-to-ground laser-guided rocket, the AGR-20A Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System, for cruise missile defence. In a matter of 11 months, less than half the typical test schedule, they moved from an idea to an executed test. They demonstrated the effectiveness of air-to-ground rockets against aerial targets simulating cruise missiles, requiring only four rockets to score three hits and destroy the two targets. This novel use of an existing weapon has three important benefits: it radically eases operational planning for cruise missile defence, it radically increases adversaries’ requirements to counter this Sir Barnes Wallis F-16 - Jay Baerunique deterrent, and it’s fiscally efficient as each rocket costs just five percent of a traditional air-to-air weapon.

The team recognised the potential of using the AGR-20A against a cruise missile after receiving a capabilities briefing on new hardware destined for installation on U.S. F-16s in response to an existential threat to the National Capital Region. They postulated that operational planners using existing laser-guided rockets for this role could preserve their precious supply of more capable air-to-air missiles to use against other targets such as adversary attack aircraft. Moreover, each F-16 can carry 42 AGR-20s with four air-to-air missiles, enhancing its standard air-to-air configuration of only six missiles. With this expanded weapons carriage, a single formation of F-16s can destroy a significantly-sized volley of adversary cruise missiles.

To prove the concept of using these low-cost weapons in a manner their designers never imagined, the team had to navigate a test approval process which generally requires 24-36 months. However, the team was able garner an approved test plan in less than eight months. Following this approval, the team partnered with the product vendor for modelling and simulation, negotiated an out-of-cycle approval of scarce aerial targets, and arranged redirection of existing munitions for the test. The team spent countless hours of dedicated planning and coordination to synchronise the various stakeholders that culminated in two successful aerial-target-destroying tests which were widely reported in defence industry publications.

Sir Barnes Wallis F-16 - Robert GlennJeffrey EntinePatrick McGarryMichael MayThe innovative use of this weapon has a worldwide impact that affects coalition operational planners. Shortly after the successful test, the team authored a white paper describing its potential operational use which planners requested in response to recent world events. By using a novel guidance system for which adversaries have limited defences, the team provided a unique and creative answer to a very challenging problem. Additionally, the team increased deterrence by proving the ability to reduce the effectiveness of an attack by an adversary cruise missile assault.

The commitment and passion of the team as aviation innovators with the ability to rapidly plan and execute a paradigm-shifting test in record time deserves recognition as an innovative and exceptional contribution to aviation.  The team members are accordingly jointly awarded the Sir Barnes Wallis Medal.




Previous Winners:

1979/80 Gabe Rob (Jock) Bryce

1980/81 Captain John Archibald Cameron OBE

1982 Not Awarded

1982/83 John A Denyer

1983/84 HMS Endurance Flight

1984/85 Air Commodore Peter Howard

1986 Not Awarded

1986/87 Peter F Cedervall

1988 Not Awarded

1988/89 Jeffrey Kindersley Quill OBE

1990 - 1992 Not Awarded

1992/93 A J Smith

1994 Not Awarded

1994/95 Michael Foale PhD

1996 Not Awarded

1996/97 Keith Perrin

1997/98 Group Captain John Cunningham

1998/99 Wing Commander K H Wallis

1999/2000 Peter Holding

2000/01 Professor Kay Young PhD

2001/02 Lieutenant Commander Paul C J Stone RN and Squadron Leader Justin Paines

2002/03 Dr Martin (Dill) Faulkes

2003/04 Squadron Leader Charles W (Bill) Thompson

2004/05 Kenneth Peter Ross Smart

2005/06 5 Regiment Army Air Corps

2006/07 Sam Wells OBE

2008  Not Awarded

2008/09 Timothy Prince OBE FRAeS

2010 Not Awarded

2010/11 Major David Amlôt MBE

2011/12 Michael John Miller-Smith

2012/13 Nicholas Dean Lappos

2013/14 Hybrid Air Vehicles

2014/15 Dr Richard Raistrick OBE

2016 - 2017  Not Awarded

2018  Air Vice-Marshal Simon "Rocky" Rochelle OBE DFC RAF

2019  Major Thomas W Aseltine USAF

2020  F-16 Cruise Missile Defence Tactics Development Team