The commander of the Red Arrows, Wing Commander David Montenegro, has been suspended pending an investigation into a relationship with a female corporal. In an official statement, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed Montenegro had stepped down as commander and explained the investigation into the allegations is continuing.
The MoD spokesperson said: “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.”
Montenegro was suspended and sent home during the Red Arrows’ tour of the Gulf states, leaving the acrobatics squadron without their leader. They are, however, expected to complete the tour.
Earlier in 2022, members of the Red Arrows were accused of misogyny, sexual harrassment and bullying. Over 250 hours of evidence was given to an inquiry into these claims by over 40 members of Royal Air Force personnel.
The probe was raised by 40 members of the Red Arrows. Two squadron members were removed from the team in November - Flight Lieutenants, Damon Green and Will Cambridge.
However, Montenegro is the most senior member of the Red Arrows to be suspended as the investigation continues. Being Wing Commander, he is also the highest ranking member of the squadron.
The Red Arrows were formed in 1964, as all the existing aerobatics teams in the RAF merged together. The planes are painted red to help them stand out in the sky, for both the public’s enjoyment and the safety of the pilots.