Dr Peter Gray BSc., LLB, MPhil, PhD, FRAeS, F Inst L&M

Dr Peter Gray

School of History and Cultures
Senior Research Fellow in Air Power Studies
Centre for War Studies

Contact details

Arts Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I joined the University of Birmingham on 1st September 2008 as a Senior Research Fellow in Air Power Studies having retired from the Royal Air Force in June 2008.  My career has been a mixture of practicing, studying and writing on air power and wider aspects of international relations and defence policy.


My early flying career as a navigator was spent in air defence duties on the Phantom F4 and I later commanded 101 Squadron flying VC10K tankers. Staff appointments included 3 years in the Cabinet Office, Strategic Plans in MoD and as Director of Defence Studies for the RAF.  In this last appointment I taught on the Higher Command and Staff Course (HCSC). My final job was as Director of the Defence Leadership and Management Centre within the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom.

My first degree was a BSc in Maths and Physics from the University of Dundee; I later gained an LLB from London.  I then completed an MPhil in International Relations at the University of Cambridge. I completed my PhD at the University of Birmingham in 2010. I am a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and of the Institute of Leadership and Management.


Peter Gray teaches on all years of undergraduates and has developed, and run, the MA in Air Power History Theory and Practice.

Postgraduate supervision

Peter Gray is available to supervise, or advise, on air power issues specifically. Peter is in great demand as a supervisor at Doctoral and MPhil levels

Find out more - our PhD History  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


Peter Gray is currently researching various aspects of contemporary and historical air power with particular emphasis on the senior leadership aspects.

Other activities

Peter is in considerable demand as an air power speaker at home and abroad. He is an academic adviser to the RAF Centre for Air Power Studies and is on the academic review panel for the RAF Air Power Review.



  • ‘Air Power History; Turning Points from Kittyhawk to Kosovo’, Ed with S Cox (Head AHB), (London: Cass, 2002). Chapter 17, The Balkans: An Air Power Basket Case.
  • ‘Air Power Leadership – Theory and Practice’, Ed with S Cox, (Norwich: HMSO, 2002). Introduction and Chapter 10 ‘Dowding as Commander, Leader and Manager’.
  • ‘Air Power 21 – Challenges for the New Century’, Ed, (Norwich: HMSO, 2000). Introduction.
  • ‘British Air Power’, Ed, , (Norwich: HMSO, 2003). Introduction and Chapter 7, ‘Challenges for British Air Power in the Age of Transformation’.
  • ‘Military History into the 21st Century’, Ed, Strategic Combat Studies Institute, Occasional No 43, December 2001. Introduction and Chapter 1, ‘Why Study Military History?

Book chapters

  • The Falklands Conflict Twenty Years On; Lessons for the Future, Eds S Badsey, R Havers, M Grove, (Abingdon: Cass, 2005), ‘Air Power: Strategic Lessons from an Idiosyncratic Operation’.
  • The Normandy Campaign; Sixty Years On, Ed J Buckley, , (Abingdon: Cass, 2006),  ‘The Bombing of Caen’.
  • In Pursuit of Excellence: International Perspectives of Military Leadership, Eds Colonel Bernd Horn &Lt Col Allister MacIntyre, ‘Strategic Leadership Education’ (with Jonathan Harvey), (Kingston ON: Canadian Defence Academy Press, 2006)

View all publications in research portal


  • Armed forces
  • Military leadership
  • Foreign policy
  • Overseas military aid