Air Commodore Mike Baulkwill MA BEng (Hons) RAF
Air Commodore Mike Baulkwill was educated at Stockport Grammar School before reading Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Bristol. He joined the University Air Squadron where he learnt to fly the Bulldog. After completing officer training and flying training, Mike was posted to fly the Harrier.
He then served as a pilot on No 3 (Fighter) Squadron at RAF Laarbruch in Germany, serving on operations flying from HMS Illustrious patrolling the no-fly zone over Southern Iraq and conducting peace keeping missions flying over the Balkans. He was then selected for the Harrier Qualified Weapon Instructor course, and on completion was posted to No 1(Fighter) Squadron at RAF Cottesmore, becoming night carrier qualified and once again conducted operational missions flying over the Balkans.
In 2001 Mike was selected to go on exchange, flying the F16 with the Royal Netherlands Air Force. After learning Dutch at Nottingham University, he served on 322 Squadron based at Leeuwarden. On completion of the exchange tour in 2004, he was promoted to Squadron Leader and posted to the Defence Procurement Agency in Bristol as a Eurofighter Typhoon Requirements Manager.
After 2 years Mike was fortunate to be selected to fly Typhoon and posted to RAF Coningsby to help stand-up No XI Squadron, the second frontline Typhoon squadron. Here he helped the Typhoon Force develop and bring its new air to surface capability into service, prior to the formal declaration of Typhoon’s MR capability in June 2008.
In 2009 Mike attended the Advanced Command and Staff Course at the Joint Services Command and Staff College in Shrivenham. On completion he was posted to the Capability Equipment Plan in MOD Main Building, Whitehall. Here he helped advise, programme and manage Defence’s equipment programme changes through both the Strategic Defence and Security Review in Planning Round 11 and later as the equipment lead programmer in Planning Round 12.
In 2012 Mike was posted to RAF Leuchars to command No 6 Squadron, a frontline Typhoon squadron. In 2014 he was promoted to Group Captain and served as the Personal Staff Officer to the Chief of the Air Staff. In 2016 he took command of Royal Air Force Coningsby, Lincolnshire, a Typhoon Main Operating Base and home to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. The Station deployed squadrons on numerous Operation SHADER deployments over Iraq and Syria as well as providing Quick Reaction Alert aircraft in the Falkland Islands and back at Coningsby. In Nov 2018 he was promoted to Air Commodore and took over as the Head of Capability Strategy in the Ministry of Defence, looking after future capabilities for the whole of Defence as well as being an integral part of the cross Government Integrated Review. He is leaving his current role in Nov 21 to be become the Combat Air Force Commander, responsible for the Typhoon, Lightning, and Hawk Forces, across 4 Main Operating bases and other overseas locations.
Married to Cecylia, with 2 sons and Cassie, a mad cocker spaniel, Mike enjoys playing cricket, hockey, skiing and catamaran sailing. Mike’s main hobby is his 1933 MG J2, though more time seems to be spent servicing it than driving it, however his aspiration still remains to reverse this trend.
You can read more about Mike’s career in Issue 9 of the Old Stops’ Review here.