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RAF Weapon Systems Officer in Protector RPAS simulator
Aircraft Gaming & computers Analysis & maths
+ Benefits
+ Benefits

As a Weapon Systems Officer you will manage the sensors and weapons of a particular aircraft during operational missions, whilst at the same time gathering intelligence and supporting forces on the ground.

What will you do?

The roles of our Weapon Systems Officer are as varied as our aircraft with the field of Intelligence, Surveillance Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance offering the most opportunities. 

  • Manage a mission crew of highly capable Weapon Systems Operators
  • Track submarines or enemy ships
  • Provide long-range search-and-rescue
  • Operate overland in support of combat operations
Minimum education requirements
  • GCSEs at Grade C/4 or Scottish National 5  at Grade C in English Language, Maths and at least three other subjects.
  • Have at least 2 A2 Levels/3 Highers at Grade C or above (excluding General Studies, Critical Thinking or Citizenship Studies) which must total a minimum of 64 UCAS points
  • Be aged 17.5 - 24 years old (Must enter IOT before 25th birthday)
  • You must be a citizen of the United Kingdom since birth (not naturalised) and must never have held any other nationality or citizenship (including joint nationality) with the exception of dual British Irish citizenship. Immediate family must be British citizens/nationals
  • Commit to 12 years of service
  • Pass a Fitness test - Details below
  • Candidates must be able to swim - see 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
Initial Officer training
white stopwatch icon for duration 24 weeks
white map-pin icon for location RAF Cranwell
You will begin your RAF career by completing the Initial Officer Training Course at the RAF College Cranwell in Lincolnshire.
Phase two training
Specialist training
white stopwatch icon for duration 9 months
white map-pin icon for location RAF Henlow
Your specialist training begins at RAF Henlow in Bedfordshire to learn how the human body reacts to the airborne environment.
First tour
Specialist training
white stopwatch icon for duration Ongoing
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For your first tour you will be posted to a flying station where your specialist aircraft type is based.
Your career prospects
Specialist training
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 will be selected to serve on a pension earning commission of 20 years’ service or to age 40, whichever is the later, on completion of your first Operational Conversion course.
In-service degree
Specialist training
white stopwatch icon for duration Ongoing
white map-pin icon for location As assigned
An In-service degree is available for some Aircrew roles.
Transferable skills
Specialist training
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The skills and experience you would gain throughout your career as a WSO could directly equip you for a number of civilian jobs
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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 Testing
AFCO interview
Health assessment
Fitness test
Familiarisation visit
Aptitude Testing
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
AFCO 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 first of these interviews happens at a local Armed Forces Careers Office (AFCO) and 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

(M)IOT and officer staff training

The Modular Initial Officer Training Course (MIOTC) has been designed to set commissioning officers up for their career in the RAF with the right skills and knowledge. This training will provide a solid platform for your continued development.
Visit our Cranwell training page for more information about (M)IOT and the rest of officer training.


Must be between 17.5 and 24 years old. (Must attest before 25th birthday)

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

  GCSE GCSE 2017 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.

Alternatively, 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 GCSEs 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 since birth (not naturalised) and must never have held any other nationality or citizenship (including joint nationality) with the exception of dual British Irish citizenship. Immediate family must be British citizens/nationals.


Whether or not you were born in the United Kingdom, you should have resided there for the 10 years immediately preceding your application, but candidates with a minimum of 7 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. 


To train as aircrew in the RAF, you must be able to pass the RAF Swimming Test as follows: Swim 100 meters without rest, using any front or sidestroke. Tread water for 2 minutes. Get out of the deep end of the pool unassisted, without the use of steps or the bottom of the pool. 


All personnel attempting the test must wear clothing commensurate with that worn for their normal operating activity, which for aircrew is a flying suit.


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 background check in order to get an enhanced security clearance


  • Have been or are member of a group that stirs up racial hatred and violence
  • Are waiting to appear in court, or have spent or unspent convictions that may be excluded from 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 Weapon Systems Officer in Protector RPAS simulator