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Air Commodore JD Ball

Head of Space Capability
Ministry of Defence (MOD)


Air Commodore Jules Ball joined the RAF as a direct entrant, and was posted to the Tornado F3 in 1992. He flew on operations patrolling the no-fly zone over Bosnia (Op DENY FLIGHT), supplemented with detachments to the Falkland Islands and Quick Reaction Alert duties in the UK. In 1997 Ball completed the Tornado F3 Qualified Weapons Instructor course before being selected for exchange duties with the United States Navy, flying the F14 Tomcat. Ball was promoted Squadron Leader in 2002, returning to the UK to commence a staff tour at the Air Warfare Centre, responsible for the development of tactics, techniques and procedures underpinning the integration of upgraded weapons on the Tornado F3 and Typhoon.

Ball returned to the cockpit in 2005 as deputy Officer Commanding XXV(F) Sqn. During this tour he was also selected for Advanced Staff Training in Toronto, Canada and was promoted Wing Commander in 2007. On return to the UK, he was posted to J3 within the Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) at Northwood, where he acted as the senior desk officer responsible for all air and aviation matters in support of operations in Iraq (Op TELIC) and Afghanistan (Op HERRICK).

In 2009, Ball was selected to command 39 Squadron, operating the MQ-9 Reaper, based at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada. During his tenure 39 Sqn tripled in size, flying almost 20000 hours on operations over Afghanistan. For his leadership of the Unit, during a time of significant expansion, Ball was appointed an Officer of the British Empire (OBE).

Ball was promoted Group Captain in 2011 and posted to 83 Expeditionary Air Group, Al Udeid, as the UK’s Deputy Air Component Commander for Op HERRICK and Op KIPION. Here he was responsible for Air operations in both Afghanistan and the Broader Middle East, with command responsibility for the RAF’s operational presence in Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and UAE.

In 2012 Ball returned to PJHQ, this time working in J5, heading a team with responsibility for Joint contingency planning across the Middle East. After 18 months, he moved to Air Commitments, responsible for the preparation and generation of RAF capability in support of contingent air operations, both in the UK and across the Globe.

Ball was selected to attend the Royal College of Defence Studies in 2015-16 where he gained an MA in Strategic Studies and International Relations. On completion, Ball was appointed Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff 2 Capability Development, charged with the planning of Air’s ‘prepare’, and ‘protect’ capability development areas. Thereafter, in 2017 Ball was promoted Air Commodore, and given responsibility for leading pan-portfolio Capability and Force Development at Headquarters Air, and appointed as the UK's National Director of the FVEYES Air Force Interoperability Council. In 2020, Ball moved to the newly formed MOD Space Directorate as Head of Space Capability, charged with directing and cohering pan-Defence Space ambition.

Air Commodore Ball is married to Nicola and has 2 teenage children. He is a Governor at Waddesdon Church of England School, and a director and trustee of the academy. Ball enjoys both the demands and rewards of family life, has a passion for travel and enjoys distance running, cycling and tinkering with his ageing Porsche in his spare time.


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