The head of studies at the Royal Air Force pilot training college is a convert to Islam who has criticized Nato air strikes on Libya in a Muslim magazine.

Dr Joel Hayward is dean of the college at Cranwell, the RAF’s equivalent of Sandhurst, and has taught many of the pilots spearheading the military operation against Colonel Qaddafi.

But, to the dismay of defense chiefs, he has cast doubt on the widely held belief that the Nato actions averted the mass killing of civilians in Benghazi. He also warned against the RAF becoming ‘the air corps of a rebel army’.