Air Operations Officer (Systems). £30,000+ after training!

Royal Air Force Air Operations

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Air Operations Branch (Systems) is a diverse, exciting and complex area which directs and supports operations both in the UK and around the world.  The three key areas of employment are within the Aerospace Surveillance, Space Ops/Control and Airfield Operations domains. Officers within this specialisation will use sophisticated radar and communications technology to provide organisations with the information they need to make operational and time-critical decisions that underpin the operational support functions of the RAF.  These include:


  • Monitoring foreign surveillance satellites and the notification to all friendly forces of potential hostile action and espionage.
  • Maintaining Space Situational Awareness and tracking everything from space debris to the International Space Station. 
  • Providing vital information to a number of civilian and military organisations that rely on space surveillance.
  • Form part of the team that operates the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System, detecting and reporting any object that could threaten the UK or our allies. 
  • Process flight data information and monitor the flight progress of all military flying across the globe.
  • Form part of the team that provides the Army and other Services with air situational awareness
  • Generate and maintain military flying programmes and airfield operations.
  • Be the UK’s representative in a multi-national Combined Air Operations Centre.
  • Form part of the tactical Mobile Air Operations Team that support globally deployed helicopter operations and other nation’s rotary wing assets.  


As an Air Operations Branch (Systems) officer you could be working from a field, a bunker, a building, a tent, an E-3D aircraft or even on an aircraft carrier. Regardless, you will be part of a varied and stimulating organisation which offers an excellent career and worldwide employment opportunities that is at the heart of the RAF’s flying outputs.  

Initial Training

Like all our officers, you’ll begin your RAF career with Initial Officer Training (IOT) at the RAF College Cranwell in Lincolnshire.

You’ll follow a challenging 24 week course designed to develop your leadership and management skills. The course includes fitness development, military training and academic study as well as practical outdoor leadership challenges. 

Specialist Training

Specialist training is delivered at the Defence College of Airspace Control which is split between RAF Shawbury in Shropshire and RAF Boulmer in Northumberland.  This training starts with a Foundation Module and is completed alongside the Air Operations Branch (Control) officers and Non-Commissioned (NCC) Controller students.  After this you will be assigned to one of the three core specialisations, Aerospace Surveillance, Space or Airfield Operations and you will complete the appropriate training module for your first role.  You will be able to return at a later date to complete a short conversion course to allow you to undertake roles in any of the other core areas.

Foundation Tour

Your first tour will last approximately 24 months and could be at one of our two Control and Reporting Centres (CRCs), which are located at RAF Boulmer and at RAF Scampton; one of the many RAF airfields around the UK or for space roles at RAF Fylingdales in North Yorkshire or RAF High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire.  You will consolidate your specialist training and develop post-graduate skills allowing you to achieve ‘Combat Ready’ status and deploy on operations.

Your Career Prospects

You will join the RAF on an Initial Commission of 12 years and may be selected to serve on a pension earning commission of 20 years service or age 40, whichever is the later, during this time. Promotion to the rank of Flight Lieutenant is on a time served/satisfactory service basis after 3½ years from completing IOT. Further promotion to Squadron Leader and above is by competitive selection.

Ongoing Development

Subsequent tours of duty may see you being employed in a wide variety of areas, including:


  • One of the other areas of the Air Operations Branch (Systems) specialisation.
  • Planning missions for the RAF’s varied aircraft and systems
  • Co-ordinating and managing transport aircraft schedules
  • Form part of the 3 person Mobile Air Ops Team (MAOT) providing radio communications and Support Helicopter support to forward Battle Groups and other agencies.
  • As ‘Mission Crew’ on the E-3D ‘Sentry’ Airborne Early Warning aircraft based at RAF Waddington.
  • Part of the UK’s deployable, ground based, command and control unit ‘Number 1 Air Control Centre’ located at RAF Scampton.
  • Instructing ab initio and postgraduate students
  • As a Ballistic Missile Early Warning’ Space Operator at RAF Fylingdales in North Yorkshire or the UK Space Operations Centre at RAF High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire.

You may also be selected for advancement to higher management roles, responsible for leading large teams of fellow officers and airmen. Throughout your career, you should expect operational deployments (generally of up but not limited to 6 months duration) to a range of locations worldwide, together with ad-hoc shorter detachments to such locations as Cyprus, Lithuania, Gibraltar, Canada, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and the US.  The RAF also has a variety of exchange opportunities which include instructing the US Marine Corps in Arizona; the US Air Force Space Command in Colorado and the Royal Norwegian Air Force.


You will need a minimum of 5 GCSEs at Grade C (Grade 4 to 5 with effect from Aug 17) or above, including English Language and Mathematics (or acceptable equivalents).

In addition, you need at least 2 A2 Levels, at a minimum of Grade C (or equivalent qualifications, excluding General Studies and Critical Thinking) which must total a minimum of 64 UCAS points

Alternatively you hold a UK degree at Grade 2:2 or higher (or acceptable alternative), you only need 2 GCSEs (Mathematics and English Language) at a minimum of Grade C (Grade 4 to 5 with effect from Aug 17).


  • 17.5 – 40 (Must have entered IOT before 41st birthday).

RAF Requirements;

To join the RAF you will also need to meet fitness, health, nationality, residency which will be discussed at your local Armed Forces Careers Office after applying. 

Job is available to apply for from 1300L 3rd April 2018

Application closed

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