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RAFs close combat unit opens to women
© Jack Langton

RAF’s close combat unit opens to women

01/09/17Defence

The UK’s Royal Air Force (RAF) has become the first branch of the British military to make every role available to men and women.

From today (1 September) it will accept applications from women to join the RAF Regiment.

The move follows a decision last year to remove the ban on females serving in close combat roles.

The main role of the 2,000-strong regiment is to patrol and protect RAF bases and airfields.

The RAF’s women will not be the first allowed to serve in close combat roles, as some recently joined the Royal Armoured Corps (RAC).

However, it will be another year before women can apply to enter army infantry units and the Royal Marines, where the physical demands can be tougher.

The ban on women serving in close combat units was lifted by then Prime Minister David Cameron in 2016.

In July, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon announced that the RAF Regiment would be open to them from September – ahead of its original 2018 schedule.

He said: “A diverse force is a more operationally effective force.

“Individuals who are capable of meeting the standards for the regiment will be given the opportunity to serve, regardless of their gender.

“This is a defining moment for the RAF.”

Pan European Networks Ltd