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+ Benefits
+ Benefits

As an Air Operations Systems officer you could be working from a field, a bunker, a building, a tent, an E-7 Wedgetail aircraft or even on an aircraft carrier.

Already applied? See what the next steps are >

What will you do?

You will be responsible for directing and supporting operations both in the UK and around the world, using sophisticated radar and communications technology to provide organisations with the information needed to make time-critical decisions. In your role you will:


  • Create the recognised air picture, identifying all aircraft flying over the UK and monitor any suspicious air activity
  • Be part of the team that provides the Army, and other services, with air situational awareness
  • Run airfield operations in the central ops room ensuring that all flying programmes run smoothly and on time
  • Task planning and coordination of a flying squadron to make sure operations run smoothly
  • Negotiate with foreign partners to access international airspace
  • Coordinate all UK armed forces for advance planning of an overseas deployment
  • Monitor foreign surveillance satellites and highlight potential enemy action and espionage
  • Track what’s happening in space, from space debris to the International Space Station
  • Be 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
Minimum Education Requirements
  • As a minimum, you will need GCSEs at Grade C/4 or Scottish National 5 at Grade C in English Language, Maths and at least three other subjects.


  • In addition, you need at least 2 A2 Levels/3 Highers at Grade C or above (excluding General Studies or Critical Thinking) which must total a minimum of 64 UCAS points. 

Air and Space Operations Systems Officer managing controllers at temporary ATC
  • Be aged 17.5 – 47 years old (Must attest before 48th birthday)
  • You must be a citizen of the United Kingdom or holder of dual UK/other nationality
  • Commit to a minimum of 3 years post Phase 2 Specialist Training
  • Meet the health and fitness criteria
  • Pass a Fitness test - Details below


View all entry requirements >

At any level or position your personal success is vital to make us succeed too. We are dedicated to your future, as it is essential to ours. You will receive basic and specialist training in your field and we even provide the option to pay for your education. The experience you gain with the RAF will equip you to work at the top of your field, both in the UK and overseas.
Phase one training
Officer Training
white stopwatch icon for duration 24 weeks
white map-pin icon for location RAF Cranwell
Your career will start with the Modular Initial Officer Training Course (MIOTC) at RAF College Cranwell in Lincolnshire where you will follow a challenging 24-week syllabus to develop your leadership and management skills.
Phase two training
Specialist training
white stopwatch icon for duration 28/30 weeks
white map-pin icon for location RAF Shawbury
Specialist training is delivered at the Defence College of Air and Space Operations at RAF Shawbury in Shropshire followed by Aerospace Surveillance at RAF Boulmer in Northumberland.
First tour
Specialist training
white stopwatch icon for duration 24 months
white map-pin icon for location As assigned
Your first tour could be at our Control and Reporting Centre or at one of the many RAF airfields around the UK.
Your career prospects
Ongoing development
white stopwatch icon for duration Ongoing
white map-pin icon for location As assigned
You will join the RAF on an initial commission of 12 years and may be selected to continue your service on a pension earning commission of 20 years’ service or to age 40, whichever is the later.
Continued development
Ongoing training
white stopwatch icon for duration Ongoing
white map-pin icon for location As assigned
Subsequent tours of duty may see you being employed in a wide variety of areas, including:
Transferable skills
Accredited training
white stopwatch icon for duration Ongoing
white map-pin icon for location As assigned
Much of our in-house training is accredited and/or recognised by external awarding bodies.
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Thanks to subsidised food, travel, accommodation and free gym you get more money in your pocket.

bar chart depicting difference in benefits value and salary vs civilian recruiter
Benefits icon for Rent from £75p/m
Rent from £75p/m
Benefits icon for Free gym
Free gym
Benefits icon for Subsidised food
Subsidised food
Benefits icon for Health care
Health care
Benefits icon for World travel
World travel
Benefits icon for Training
Joining the RAF takes several steps. Below is an overview of the process. The purpose of this process is for us to gauge whether you’re the right person for the RAF and for you to show us all of your skills and experiences that have made you who you are.
Aptitude test
Filter interview
Health Assessment
Fitness Test
Familiarisation visit
Aptitude test
Stage 1 of 7

The first step in the application process is a series of Computer Based Aptitude Tests (CBAT). These tests ensure we match the right candidate to the right role. They take place over one day at the Officers and Aircrew Selection Centre at the RAF College Cranwell in Lincolnshire, and measure your ability to perform specific tasks such as:

  • How well you respond physically to visual information
  • Your ability to interpret information in two dimensions and devise a three-dimensional solution
  • Your ability to complete several tasks simultaneously
  • Your natural abilities, including deductive reasoning, spatial reasoning, work rate and concentration, and verbal and numerical reasoning
Filter interview
Stage 2 of 7

Selection interviews help us get to know you a little better – and vice versa. You’ll get to show your skills and experience, and we’ll answer any questions you have about joining the RAF.


The interviews covers the following topics:

  • Family life
  • Education
  • Work experience
  • Special interests or hobbies
  • Interest in the RAF
Health Assessment
Stage 3 of 7

You’re legally required to meet certain medical standards, and must pass an occupational health assessment to show you’re fit for military duty. As part of this assessment we will check your overall health, focusing on areas like hearing, eyesight and body mass index.


We’ll also investigate any past illnesses and screen for health issues that may prevent you from carrying out your role. View details below for more information about the health standards you’ll need to meet.

Fitness Test
Stage 4 of 7

A good level of fitness is critical to joining the RAF, it’s also something that must be maintained throughout your career. You’ll need to complete a Pre-Joining Fitness Test (PJFC). This will take place at a local gym near to you, and includes a 2.4km run, push up test and a sit-up test.


Please refer to the entry requirements below for more information about the health standards you’ll need to meet. You can also find help, and a training plan, to assist you in your preparation here.

Stage 5 of 7

This will be your second visit to the Officers and Aircrew Selection Centre. OASC lasts one day, but you will arrive the day before. During this time the officers will be assessing your leadership, teamwork, communication, motivation, and problem solving.


The day will end with an interview. The first half of the interview covers your achievements at school and college, in sports, your community, at work, and as a cadet, scout or guide.

The second half explores your motivation for joining the RAF – what you know about current affairs and the RAF’s role in the national and international arena, current operations the RAF is involved in and your knowledge about the RAF and the role you've applied for.


Familiarisation visit
Stage 6 of 7

This takes place over 2 days and is designed to give you an insight into officer training. You’ll be issued with your initial kit, including your boots, attend lectures, and also repeat the fitness test taken at OASC.

Stage 7 of 7

Once you’ve successfully completed each phase of the application process you’ll be invited to a provisional offer of service interview at your nearest AFCO.


This is to ensure that you understand the terms and conditions of service in the RAF, are fully committed to joining, and prepared to commence training.


You must be aged between 17.5 – 47 years old (Must attest before 48th birthday)

Applicants must also read all of the sections below and make sure they meet all entry requirements before submitting an application.



Have these minimum grades:

  GCSE pre-2017 GCSE 2017 and after Scottish national 5
Mathematics C Grade 4 C
English Language C Grade 4 C
Three Other Subjects C Grade 4 C

In addition, you need at least 2 A2 Levels/3 Highers at Grade C or above (excluding General Studies or Critical Thinking) which must total a minimum of 64 UCAS points.

Or, if you hold a UK degree at Grade 2:2 or higher (or acceptable alternative), you only need Mathematics and English Language at a minimum of GCSE Grade C/4 or Scottish National 5 grade C.

You can see what the RAF accepts in lieu of GCSEs & A Levels here.



You must be a citizen of the United Kingdom or holder of dual UK/other nationality.


Whether or not you were born in the United Kingdom, you should have resided there for the 5 years immediately preceding your application, but candidates with a minimum of 3 years may be considered.

If you have resided abroad for a period due to work or study, you may still be eligible on a case by case basis. 


You must be physically fit to complete both initial and specialist training, and to do your role effectively. To check your fitness levels, we put every candidate through at least two separate fitness tests as part of the application process.

The first of these is the Pre-Joining Fitness Test (PJFT) which takes place at a fitness centre local to you. This consists of the following:

  • 2.4km (1.5m) run on a treadmill (set to zero incline)
  • Achieve the required number of press-ups - within 60 seconds
  • Achieve the required number of sit-ups - within 60 seconds

How fit you need to be to pass these tests can vary depending on role, age and gender. The requirements are listed on the charts below (Male and Female).

AGE 2.4 Km Run Press-ups Sit-ups
  (Mins) (No.) (No.)
15-16 12.39 20 35
17-29 12.11 20 35
30-34 12.36 19 32
35-39 13.02 18 29
40-44 13.30 17 26
45-49 14.00 16 23
50-54 14.34 15 20


AGE 2.4 Km Run Press-ups Sit-ups
  (Mins) (No.) (No.)
15-16 14.59 10 32
17-29 14.30 10 32
30-34 14.55 9 29
35-39 15.21 8 26
40-44 15.58 7 23
45-49 16.32 6 20
50-54 17.06 5 17

See here for more information about the tests and a training plan

The second fitness test will take place at RAF Cranwell as part of your familiarisation visit. This includes press-ups, sit-ups and the Multi-Stage Fitness Test (MSFT or Bleep test). Standards to achieve will be given during the visit.


Candidates joining the RAF must be medically fully fit, both physically and psychologically, to meet the challenges of military service, during which they will be expected to deploy, potentially at short notice, to locations world-wide that are remote from established medical care. 


Certain medical conditions could preclude entry to the RAF. Further details can be found in this document. 

Before your application, please note that Body Mass Index Requirements are as follows: 

Age Male and female minimum Male and female maximum Male maximum with additional assessment Female maximum with additional assessment
18 + 18 30 32 32
16 to < 18 17 27 27 27

Calculate your BMI here 


Eyesight requirements vary for different roles. A requirement to wear glasses or contact lenses may be allowed for aircrew. 
If you are unsure about any health criteria, please continue your application and your eligibility will be assessed at the medical examination stage.  


During your application, the Medical Risk Assessment that all candidates undergo is there to make sure that you are healthy enough for the intense training required by the RAF. Your application will be rejected if you fail to meet the minimum acceptable medical standard for entry. Your medical history is confidential and is not disclosed to those not authorised to hold this information. 



  • Declare any previous spent and unspent convictions
  • Check if you qualify under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 through this summary
  • Have a basic background check to get Security Check level clearance


  • Have been or are a member of a group that stirs up racial hatred and violence
  • Are waiting to appear in court, or have unspent convictions. You may also have to declare spent convictions for certain roles
  • Misuse drugs, solvents and anabolic steroids. But each case is considered upon its own merits
  • Have tattoos, brands or bead implants that are obscene or offensive. 
    Any permanent or temporary tattoos, whether ordinarily visible or not, must not be obscene or offensive (eg, racist, anti-religion or belief, crude, overtly sexist, homophobic, drug related or of an extreme political nature). Tattoos may be worn on the side and back of the neck but tattoos on the back of the neck must not extend above the natural hairline (scalp tattoos are not permitted). 
  • Have body piercing which causes holes that do not close up
  • Declare yourself to be an 'undischarged' bankrupt

Beard Policy: A revised facial hair policy has been agreed by the Air Force Board which will allow serving personnel to wear a smart, neatly-trimmed, full-set beard whilst maintaining high standards of appearance. The length of acceptable beards is between Grade 1 (2.5mm) and Grade 8 (25.5mm). The wearing of beards during Phase 1 and Phase 2 training is currently under consideration and details will be advised when available

If you don’t have any of the above, you might still be able to apply. For more information please contact us.

Got what it takes? Start your application here.
RAF Air Operations Systems Officer using computer while on phone