Red Arrows Sqn Ldr Tom Bould (Picture: MOD).
Red Arrows

Red 1: Who Is The New Red Arrows Team Leader?

Red Arrows Sqn Ldr Tom Bould (Picture: MOD).

After a tough selection process, the Red Arrows have selected a new Team Leader for 2021.

Squadron Leader Tom Bould will hold the role of Red 1, organising the training programme while designing and leading displays for the next three years.

He first joined the aerobatic team in 2015 as a pilot, having completed at least 1,500 flying hours and one frontline tour.

Passing through a week of flying assessments, reviews and interviews, Sqn Ldr Bould embarked on a journey with the Red Arrows until 2017.

His three-year stint saw displays across the globe, but also has enabled the pilot to apply for an exclusive set of tests to become the new Team Leader.

Getting to know Red 1

Education and Training

The 39-year-old, originally from Bradford, West Yorkshire, attended the nearby independent Woodhouse Grove School.

He joined the RAF in 2005 and completed elementary flying training with Manchester and Salford University Air Squadron, whilst studying Aerospace Engineering at Manchester University.


During his frontline tour as a Typhoon pilot, Sqn Ldr Bould featured in several deployments to the Falkland Islands and on exercise in Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.

Following his first campaign in the Hawk T1 jet with the Red Arrows, he secured promotion to Squadron Leader and took on the role of Flight Commander on IV(AC) Squadron at RAF Valley, teaching future fast-jet pilots using the Hawk T2 aircraft.

Red Arrows
The Red Arrows fly over Lincoln during a display earlier this year (Picture: MOD).

Red Arrows

During his initial three-year spell with the team, the pilot took on the role of Red 5 in 2015, Red 7 the following season, before a final year as Red 6 – Syncho Leader for the team.

A historic display tour in China and performances in the Middle East were among the tasks completed to promote the UK’s values abroad and demonstrate world class flying ability.

Reacting to his latest appointment, Sqn Ldr Bould said: "My first reaction was disbelief that I had been chosen as the next Team Leader, which very quickly turned into excitement then trepidation for the enormity of the job.

"The most daunting aspect of taking over as Red 1 is being able to maintain and build on the reputation that the Red Arrows have forged for the last 56 years."

Promising "new formation shapes" for the next campaign, he also thanked his predecessor Squadron Leader Martin Pert, who led the team for RAF 100 celebrations and a tour of North America in 2019.

The new Red 1 will take charge of half-a-year's training in the coming days, ready for the 57th Red Arrows display season since 1965.

Cover image: MOD.

Join Our Newsletter


Is Ukraine using an aircraft-imitating missile to confuse Russian defences?

HIV stats in Armed Forces revealed a year on from serving ban lifted

Over 1,500 soldiers rehearse for role in historic Trooping the Colour