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WEAPON SYSTEM OPERATOR
(LINGUIST)
Currently recruiting
Aircraft Being creative Analysis & maths
PAY DURING INITIAL TRAINING (PHASE 1)
£18,600
+ Benefits
PAY AFTER DIRECT ENTRANT SNCO COURSE
£37,711
+ Benefits
PAY AFTER SPECIALIST TRAINING
£46,377
£43,080 + NCA Pay £3297 + Benefits

As a Weapon Systems Operator (Linguist) you will be fluent in two or more languages and will monitor, collect and analyse foreign-language voice transmissions and offer intelligence support.

Already applied? See what the next steps are >

What will you do?

You’ll need to use your initiative, prioritising information and producing tactical reports for military commanders. Your role will include:

 

  • Interpreting foreign transmissions in real time
  • Providing up-to-date intelligence to military commanders
  • Flying several missions a week from the base in Lincolnshire
  • Flying from a Deployed Operating Base overseas
Minimum education requirements
  • Have GCSEs at Grade C/4 or Scottish National 5 at Grade C in English Language, Maths, a Modern Foreign Language and at least two other subjects.
Requirements
  • Be aged 17.5 – 28 (Must attest before 29th birthday)
  • Must be a citizen of the United Kingdom since birth and must not hold (and must never have held) any other nationality or citizenship (including joint nationality) with the exception of dual British Irish citizenship
  • Must have resided in the UK for at least 7 years immediately preceding application
  • Your parents/spouse must currently have UK citizenship
  • Commit to minimum 12 years service
  • Pass the Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre (CBAT)
  • Pass a Fitness test - Details below
  • Candidates must be able to swim - see details below
CAREER, TRAINING
& EDUCATION
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.
01
Phase one training
Basic Recruit training
white stopwatch icon for duration 10 weeks
white map-pin icon for location RAF Halton
You’ll start with your Basic Recruit Training Course (BRTC) at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire.
02
Phase one training
Direct entry Sergeants training
white stopwatch icon for duration 8 weeks
white map-pin icon for location RAF Halton
Following Basic Recruit Training, prospective Weapon Systems Operators will complete the Direct Entrant Senior Non-Commissioned Officer (DE SNCO) Course.
03
Phase two training
Military Aviation Ground School
white stopwatch icon for duration 5 weeks
white map-pin icon for location RAF Cranwell
The DE SNCO course is followed by a 5.2 week Military Aviation Ground School (MAGS) course at RAFC Cranwell.
04
Phase two training
Specialist training
white stopwatch icon for duration 18 months
white map-pin icon for location Chicksands
You’ll undergo intensive language training at Chicksands in Bedfordshire or Shrivenham in Wiltshire.
05
First tour
Specialist training
white stopwatch icon for duration Ongoing
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You will be posted to a flying station in the UK.
06
Your career prospects
Ongoing training
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You will join the RAF as an airman under an initial 12 year engagement.
07
Ongoing development
Ongoing training
white stopwatch icon for duration Ongoing
white map-pin icon for location As assigned
As your career progresses, we will continue to train you in new skills.
08
Transferable skills
Ongoing development
white stopwatch icon for duration Ongoing
white map-pin icon for location As assigned
As your career progresses, we will continue to train, mentor and grow your skills in leadership, instructional and specialist areas.
09
In-service degree
Specialist training
white stopwatch icon for duration Ongoing
white map-pin icon for location As assigned
An In-service degree for Aircrew is available for some roles.
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WHY JOIN
THE RAF?

Thanks to subsidised food, travel, accommodation and free gym you get more money in your pocket.

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Rent from £75p/m
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Free gym
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Subsidised food
Benefits icon for Health care
Health care
Benefits icon for World travel
World travel
Benefits icon for Training
Training
WHAT HAPPENS
AFTER APPLYING
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.
1
Aptitude test
2
Selection Interviews
3
Health Assessment
4
Fitness Test
5
OASC
6
Acceptance
7
Training
1
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
2
Selection Interviews
Stage 2 of 7

 

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

Your interview will take place at a local AFCO and cover the following topics:

  • Family life
  • Education
  • Work experience
  • Special interests or hobbies
  • Interest in the RAF
  • Training
  • The role you’ve applied for
  • The RAF

You will be asked a series of standard questions during the interview, and be able to ask your own questions during the debrief that takes place afterward.

Some roles also require a second interview and/or test to determine your suitability. These are normally conducted over a one to three day period at an RAF base where you can see and experience the kind of environment you’ll be working in. Details about which interviews are relevant for you will be provided during the application process.

 

3
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. Please refer to entry requirements below for more information about the health standards you’ll need to meet.

4
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.

 

The performance level you’ll need to meet differs by age and gender. 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.

5
OASC
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.

 

6
Acceptance
Stage 6 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.

7
Training
Stage 7 of 7

Basic Recruit Training

This takes place over 10 weeks at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire. It will make you fitter and more confident. It will challenge you mentally and physically, and it will prepare you for your career with us. There are 6 phases:

  • Arrival - You’ll be sworn into the RAF and be given a service number
  • General Service training - You’ll learn about marching, drills, core values and our code of conduct
  • Initial Force Protection training - Fighting and survival in a military environment
  • Exercise Blue Warrior - 4 days in the field with real battle conditions
  • Force development training - Apply your skills in new environments with adventurous training activities
  • Graduation - Learn about what’s required in your first post and display your new skills.

What next?
Now you’re a fully-fledged member of the RAF you can receive role specific training.

ENTRY
REQUIREMENTS

You must be aged between 17.5 and 28 years old. (Must attest before 29th birthday).

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

EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS
  GCSE GCSE 2017 Scottish National 5
Mathematics C Grade 4 C
English Language C Grade 4 C
A Modern Foreign Language C Grade 4 C
Two other subjects C Grade 4 C

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

NATIONALITY & RESIDENCY

Must be a citizen of the United Kingdom since birth and must not hold (and must never have held) any other nationality or citizenship (including joint nationality) with the exception of dual British Irish citizenship.

You must have resided in the UK for 7 years immediately prior to application.

Your parents/spouse must currently have UK citizenship.

Following the MOD announcement that the UK Armed Forces will now be able to recruit commonwealth citizens without the 5 year residency requirement, please note that the RAF continues to apply standard residency requirements for security clearance,  ie, DV employment requires 7-years UK residency immediately prior to enlistment; SC requires 3-years. 

FITNESS REQUIREMENTS

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

The second fitness test will take place at RAF Halton as part of your three-day Pre-Recruit Training Course (PRTC). This consists of the following:

  • Achieving the required score on the Multi-Stage Fitness Test (MSFT or Bleep test)
  • 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).

MEN - 100% pass rates:
AGE 2.4 Km Run Multi-Stage Fitness Test Press-ups Sit-ups
  (Mins) (Score) (No.) (No.)
15-16 11.39 9.03 20 35
17-29 11.11 9.10 20 35
30-34 11.36 9.04 19 32
35-39 12 8.09 18 29
40-44 12.26 8.03 17 26

 

WOMEN - 100% pass rates:
AGE 2.4 Km Run Multi-Stage Fitness Test Press-ups Sit-ups
  (Mins) (Score) (No.) (No.)
15-16 13.54 6.07 10 32
17-29 13.23 7.02 10 32
30-34 13.47 6.08 9 29
35-39 14.13 6.04 8 26
40-44 14.48 5.08 7 23

You can see the protocols for Press Ups & Sit Ups here:

PJFT/PRTC Protocols

You can download an MP3 file of the Multi-Stage Fitness Test below, listen to the introduction file first:

RAF MSFT: Intro

RAF MSFT: Bleep Test

You can see a video demonstration of the PRTC Fitness Test here:

RAF PRTC Fitness Test

A 12-week fitness plan with detailed information to help you get ready for all of the fitness tests can be downloaded here.

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.

RAF SWIMMING TEST

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.

HEALTH REQUIREMENTS

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. 

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.

BACKGROUND CHECKS

YOU MUST:

  • 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
DISQUALIFYING FACTORS

YOU CAN'T APPLY FOR THE RAF IF YOU:

  • Have been or are 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.

APPLY
NOW
Got what it takes? Start your application here.
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