Awarded in recognition of an exceptional and innovative contribution to aviation.
2021 Awarded to: Squadron Leader James Skinner RAF
Squadron Leader James Skinner is responsible for implementing and monitoring policy, tactics and standards that lead to the safe and operationally effective execution of Typhoon operations. Through syllabi of his design, he is responsible to the RAF Combat Air Force Commander for assuring RAF Typhoons are ready and capable to conduct the myriad of Air Power roles of which the Typhoon is capable.
Since 2018, Typhoon’s overall capability has increased with the arrival of new weapons including the Meteor air to air missile, Storm Shadow cruise missile and Brimstone 2 air to surface missile. Noting the concomitant increased workload and complexity for single-seat pilots, Skinner has revolutionised Typhoon training. From ab-initio conversion to advanced qualifications he has introduced a single training continuum for teaching, briefing and assessment as well as re-balancing mission focus between live flying and simulator training, to optimise the gains derived from each environment.
In the live flying environment, he has moved the Force away from planning-heavy ‘scenario-based’ live flying training, towards a focus on core fighter pilot skills transferrable to any threat environment. This includes an innovative ‘Tactical Intercept’ philosophy, which drills pilots in the core weapon and tactical skill sets through high-tempo evolutions, thus increasing training for the same amount of resource. The focus of these evolutions are skills that cannot be adequately replicated in the simulator such as high g-force, dynamic serials, such as air combat manoeuvring.
In tandem with this new Tactical Intercept philosophy, the focus of simulator work is now on those aspects of air fighting that are harder to generate efficiently in the live environment. Beyond Visual Range work with multiple and scalable threats feature heavily. Skinner has also led his team to generate a synthetic syllabus which offers more flexibility to squadron commanders, allowing them to port more of their preparations towards NATO Very High Readiness status into the simulated environment, thus maximising training opportunities where live resource may be limited. These marked changes better exploit the two training environments has been embraced by Squadron Commanders who testify that this new approach to training has significantly increased tactical proficiency at the Frontline.
As a result of Skinner’s innovative approach, the Typhoon Force has undergone a significant training mindset shift, shortening time to Combat Ready status whilst simultaneously improving the lethality of frontline pilots. His skilful use of training resource also embraces the ethos of the RAF’s Astra campaign to build a Next-Generation air force. Universally respected by his peers and seniors as a humble, approachable and capable pilot, Skinner typifies the qualities the Royal Air Force seeks in its Qualified Weapons Instructors. His performance in his role as Staneval has been exceptional and he is accordingly awarded the Sir Barnes Wallis Medal.
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
2021 Squadron Leader James Skinner RAF