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RAF non-commissioned aircrew

Alternative titles for this job include Weapons systems operator

Royal Air Force (RAF) non-commissioned aircrew fly patrols over UK airspace and take part in NATO operations.

Average salary (a year)

£26,000 Starter

to

£40,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

Variable variable

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays away from home

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become RAF non-commissioned aircrew

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

Apprenticeship

You could apply to join the RAF through an HM forces serviceperson intermediate apprenticeship.

You'll need to apply directly to the RAF to discuss which is the best apprenticeship route for you. This will depend on your qualifications and which service role you're interested in.

Entry requirements

  • entry requirements vary

More Information

Volunteering

You can join the RAF Reserve to get some experience of what life is like in the air force and to learn new skills at the same time.

You'll need to:

  • be between 18 and 54
  • commit to at least 27 days a year
  • attend a 2-week training camp each year

If you're between 13 and 18 years old, you can join the Air Cadets.

You'll visit RAF bases and develop some of the key skills that the RAF will be looking for in their recruitment selection process should you go on to apply.

Direct Application

You can apply directly to join the RAF.

You'll need:

  • at least 5 GCSEs grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) including English and maths, and a science for some roles
  • to be over 17.5 years old - upper age limit varies depending on the role
  • to be physically fit

For some roles like weapons system operator linguist, you'll need to be fluent in at least 2 languages.

If your initial application is accepted, you'll be invited to talk to someone at your local armed forces careers office about what you want to do, and take an aptitude test.

If you successfully complete the initial stage, you'll be invited to attend further interviews and assessments, which include fitness and medical tests.

More Information

Career tips

You'll need to pass a physical fitness assessment to be accepted into the RAF. RAF fitness has information on how to assess your current fitness and how to improve to the required level if you need to.

Further information

You'll find more details about working in the RAF through RAF Careers.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • physical fitness and endurance
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to work well with others in a team
  • concentration skills and quick reactions
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Depending on your specialism, you could:

  • use radar and sonar to find and monitor submarine and ship movements
  • load aircraft, including weapons, supplies, parachutists, and troops
  • take part in search-and-rescue operations
  • operate a helicopter winch for search-and-rescue
  • operate electronic warfare systems to track movements on land, sea and in the air
  • relay information to commanders about the position of units
  • work on early warning defence systems
  • monitor electronic surveillance equipment
  • translate radio and telecommunications traffic

Working environment

You could work in a warzone or at a military base.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience and further training, you could progress to flight sergeant, then to master aircrew. You could also apply to become a commissioned RAF officer.

You could go into a wide range of careers once you leave the RAF, depending on your skills, training and qualifications.

The Career Transition Partnership, Quest and Troops to Teachers have more information on careers outside the armed forces.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for RAF non-commissioned aircrew right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Public Services BTEC (L2)

  • Provider: WEYMOUTH COLLEGE
  • Start date: 01 September 2021
  • Location: WEYMOUTH

Public Services - Foundation Degree

  • Provider: BLACKPOOL AND THE FYLDE COLLEGE
  • Start date: 13 September 2021
  • Location: Blackpool

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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Skills assessment

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