Red Arrows Officer Commanding David Montenegro
Wing Commander David Montenegro has been suspended from the aerobatic team pending an investigation (Picture: RAF).
Red Arrows

Red Arrows commander sent home as 'affair with team member' investigated

Red Arrows Officer Commanding David Montenegro
Wing Commander David Montenegro has been suspended from the aerobatic team pending an investigation (Picture: RAF).

The Officer Commanding of the Red Arrows has been suspended from his post while an investigation is carried out into an alleged relationship with a junior member of his team.

Wing Commander David Montenegro, a former frontline Tornado pilot who took over as the commanding officer three years ago, was suspended from the aerobatic team on Monday, pending an investigation.

The commanding officer, known as Monty, allegedly had an affair in 2017 which is reported to have resulted in the colleague's pregnancy.

British newspapers reported that Wng Cdr Montenegro, whose official title is Officer Commanding the RAF Aerobatic Team (OC RAFAT), has been sent home from a Red Arrows tour of the Middle East.

An RAF spokesperson said: "All RAF personnel are expected to maintain the highest standards of behaviour.

"The RAF is aware of historic allegations from 2017 that have been made against the current Officer Commanding the RAF Aerobatic Team (the Red Arrows), which will be thoroughly investigated. 

"Pending that investigation and without prejudice, the individual has been removed from post.

"We will not be commenting further while the investigation is ongoing."

The historic allegations, first reported in a national newspaper, are understood to refer to an earlier period when Wng Cdr Montenegro held a previous role within the Red Arrows team.

The OC RAFAT post – the administrative head of the unit – is not a flying role and the display team will continue to fly.

Wng Cdr Montenegro's suspension follows an earlier announcement by the RAF last week when it said some personnel had been dismissed following allegations from members of the Red Arrows team.

The RAF said in a statement that an inquiry in response to the allegations "revealed a broad range of unacceptable behaviours".

The Air Force said "several RAF personnel" had been investigated, resulting "in a range of outcomes up to and including dismissals from the RAF".

An investigation was launched into the Red Arrows in August following allegations of what the RAF called "unacceptable" behaviour.

It came after The Times newspaper reported in August that members of the team were being investigated over allegations of misogyny, bullying and sexual harassment.

The newspaper later reported that the aerobatic display team received "unacceptable behaviours and active bystander training" after more than 40 personnel, including young female recruits, gave evidence to an inquiry.