Meet Alan – programme manager, Mission Systems

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Meet Alan – programme manager, Mission Systems

“Flying had always been a dream of mine,” says Alan. Upon earning his bachelor’s degree from the London School of Economics, he made the decision to turn his dreams into reality and applied to join the Royal Air Force (RAF). “It was the 1970s—early 80s—and I started out on a permanent commission,” he says undertaking officer training at RAF Cranwell.

After that, Alan completed his flight training and was posted to 617 ‘The Dambusters’ Squadron as a novice navigator. Over the next twenty-three years, he flew over 3,000 hours on the multinational RAF Tornado GR4 aircraft, engaging in peacekeeping missions and operations in the Middle East. “I know it sounds cliché,” he says, “but after spending a lot of time in training, I realised how important my role was—not just in the Royal Air Force—but in serving my country as well.”

In the next phase of his military career, Alan was given the chance to pursue a master’s degree in avionics at Kingston University going on to command fast jet test and evaluation in 2002.

Three decades in the air earned him accolades, including the ‘Gulf War’ medal in 1991 and a ‘General Service Medal Air Operations’ in 2006. After thirty-years he decided to retire from the military and moved into supporting the next generation of aircraft operators.

           “Being able to say that I contributed to my country is deeply fulfilling.”

“I always wanted to stay in defence in some capacity,” he says. He joined General Dynamics Mission Systems UK in 2009 as a Junior Programme Manager and worked his way up. Now, as a Programme Manager, he liaises with multinational customers and oversees a programme team in pursuit of the development and evolution of the Eurofighter Typhoon.

Alan decided to take his practical skills and turn them into a hobby as a private pilot. “I think I was quite fortunate with my background for flying for thirty-years,” he says, “when I got my private license, I took my family out flying; which was very fulfilling.”

As Alan approaches retirement with anticipation later this year, he reflects on his career with pride. “The people here at General Dynamics are like a family,” he says, “it is one of the many reasons that made me stay.” Alan looks forward to his leisurely days on the golf course, cherished moments with his family, and days in the sky as a private pilot.

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