A new Officer Commanding of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team is carrying out his first full day in the position.

In the role, Wing Commander Adam Collins has responsibility for both the air and ground teams that deliver the Red Arrows’ world-class displays, busy engagement programme and “soft” power capability at home and overseas.

He will command the 140-strong unit that includes RAF regular and reserve personnel, Civil Servants and contractors.

The former frontline Tornado pilot succeeds Wg Cdr David Montenegro, who completed his scheduled two-and-a-half year posting with the team yesterday [Thursday, January 12].

Over the last week, the two officers have been carrying out a long-planned handover at the Red Arrows’ home base, at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.

Wg Cdr Collins said: “I am delighted to have taken command of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team and honoured to be leading such a hard-working and talented team of military and civilian personnel. We are all proud to represent the Royal Air Force and the United Kingdom and will continue to endeavour to inspire our audiences both at home and overseas. There’s a very busy year ahead, where the team will be performing for millions of people across the globe, I hope we get to meet as many of them as possible at the events.

He said becoming the Officer Commanding (OC) was an opportunity to continue to help inspire future aviators through the team’s work.

Wg Cdr Collins said: “My interest in aviation was sparked from an early age when, as a child, I’d watch jets flying from RAF Valley near my grandparents’ house in Anglesey. This is when I first focussed on becoming a fast-jet pilot and learned to fly with the Air Cadets when I was 17-years-old. Through the Red Arrows’ displays and engagements, I’ve been fortunate enough to see that same wonder – sparked by the power of aviation – when meeting young people at events. It’s very important we continue to harness that curiosity and encourage the next generation to look at a future involving the subjects of science, technology, engineering and maths.

The Red Arrows are preparing for the 2023 display season, which is expected to begin in late-May, following their return from a successful tour to the Gulf supporting a range of UK interests.

Departing OC Wg Cdr Montenegro said: “I’d like to pay tribute to the current team, for their dedication and hard work – these are extremely talented people, found in every section and role in the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team. “From the impact of the pandemic to moving to a new home base and two challenging overseas tours in consecutive seasons, the last two-and-a-half years have been full of unprecedented challenges. However, the team has never lost its focus to safely deliver displays and events and I am extremely proud of their resilience, determination and professionalism. I wish Adam and the team the very best for the future.