Survival Equipment Specialists fit and repair the equipment that saves lives. They specialise in either Survival Equipment – fitted to aircraft – or individual Aircrew Equipment.

Learn more about this role

Pay During First Six Months £16,840+ + Benefits

Pay Until Completion Of Phase Two Training* £21,420+ + Benefits

Is this for you?


  • Be aged 16 – 47 years old (Must attest before 48th birthday)
  • A minimum of GCSE grade C/4, Scottish National 5 grade C or equivalent in English Language and Mathematics.
  • Be a citizen of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, holder of dual UK/other nationality or have been a Commonwealth citizen since birth
  • Commit to minimum 3 years post Phase Two Training
  • Pass the Defence Aptitude Assessment
  • Pass a Fitness Test - Details below


  • Building and Problem solving
  • Aircraft
  • Travelling the world




  • Maintain, test and repair cutting-edge aircrew equipment used in flight and during aircraft emergencies.
  • Pack, maintain and repair the parachutes used in ejection seats and by airborne forces.
  • Provide a key role aiding aircrew and aircraft passenger survival; both in the UK and deployed overseas

Survival Equipment Specialists - known in the RAF as Survival Equipment Technicians are experts in the maintenance, modification, diagnostics and repair of the Airborne Life Support Equipment and Pilot Flight Equipment fitted to aircraft and crew members.

As a Survival Equipment Specialist, you will perform a key role supporting the operation of frontline aircraft, such as RAF Typhoon, Lightning II, Hawk (Red Arrows), Atlas, C17 Globemaster III, Poseidon, Rivet Joint, Shadow, Puma and Chinook, as well as Army Air Corps aircraft, like Apache and Special Forces Dauphin. A core team member, carrying out safety-critical engineering at a variety of locations in the UK or overseas, you may be responsible for the maintenance of Pilot Vision Enhancement Devices, mission-integrated protective helmets and oxygen masks, emergency locator beacons, life preservers including body armour and anti-G protection; emergency escape parachutes designed to save the lives of Pilots on ejection; or restraint systems, life rafts & survival packs to help ensure survival in aircraft accidents or emergencies. Survival Equipment Specialists also maintain man-carrying parachuting equipment used by UK Special Forces and specialist RAF, Army & Royal Marine units. 

You will have the opportunity to deploy worldwide, supporting air operations and training in areas as diverse as Europe, USA, Middle East, South East Asia and many more. Like most people in the RAF, you may move locations every few years as part of your career development with further opportunities to diversify into a wide range of roles both within and outside of your specialisation.


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

Benefits Salary
Civilian Role
RAF Role
  • Rent from £75p/m
  • Free gym
  • Subsidised food
  • Health care
  • World travel
  • 6 weeks holiday

See All Benefits



Your career will start with 10 weeks of basic recruit training at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire. The course is designed to help you adjust to military life. As well as fitness and military training, you will also learn about the RAF lifestyle.


The next step is Phase 2 Specialist Training at the Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering Cosford, near Wolverhampton, lasting approximately 29 weeks. You will be taught the basic skills of mechanical and electrical engineering and learn the principles of engineering and maintenance of parachutes, life rafts, and Pilot Flight Equipment; including night vision devices, helmet mounted displays and oxygen systems. On successful completion, you will be promoted to Air Specialist Class 2 (AS(2)) and assigned to your first unit.

More Details +


During Recruit Training you will gain Functional Skills Level 2 in Maths and English, if required. During Specialist Training you will gain a Level 2 Diploma in Aerospace & Aviation Engineering (Survival Equipment Maintenance) and a Level 3 Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance (Survival Equipment). During your first tour you will complete the portfolio element of the Level 3 Diploma in Aviation Maintenance (Development Competence) and, where eligible and following an End Point Assessment, you will be awarded your Level 3 Survival Equipment Fitter Advanced Apprenticeship. As new equipment and aircraft enter Service, the aim is to accredit specialist training, to ensure that you hold recognised civilian qualifications as part of your career development.


After your initial Recruit and Specialist Training, you will be assigned to a UK unit where, under supervision, you will apply your newly-gained skills in a live environment; adding immediate value to RAF and UK air operations.
You may work on a Royal Air Force flying station providing direct support to the operation of combat air, multi-engined aircraft or helicopters. Alternatively, you may work within the Airborne Forces environment, maintaining parachute equipment for UK military parachutists; this could involve working on active parachute drop zones both in the UK and overseas.
You may support the delivery of Survival, Evasion, Resistance & Extraction training, providing assistance in the instruction of aircrew practicing survival training on land, or at sea.With additional experience and when demonstrating the required competence levels, supervision will be reduced. After completing one year’s total service, providing you have passed Specialist Training and a Professional Workplace Assessment, you will be eligible for promotion to AS(1). Following promotion to AS(1) and on completion of a further Professional Workplace Assessment and the level 3 Diploma; you will attain the rank of AS(1) Technician. This may afford the opportunity for further training, providing you with the skills to carry out additional and more complex tasks in your workplace.


Throughout your career we will continue to train you and provide you with through-Service career development. There are opportunities to undertake the management and leadership training required for promotion and to join relevant civilian professional associations and bodies; as an Air Specialist Class 1 (AS(1)) holding the Level 3 qualifications as part of your training, you meet the UK Engineering Council standard as an Engineering Technician and are able to apply for registration as such. Furthermore, you will be able to employ your new-found military and leadership skills on adventure training expeditions in the UK and around the world.



As an AS(1), you may be able to undertake a tour at an overseas location, such as RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus and Brunei in South East Asia. As your skill levels and leadership potential develop further, promotion to the rank of Corporal and beyond is judged on merit and by competitive selection.
As you gain more experience you may be offered employment in areas such as
at the RAF Centre of Aviation Medicine: Undertaking the development, trials, testing and aircraft integration of new, often technologically advanced, Airborne Life Support Equipment and Pilot Flight Equipment entering Service; or providing expert advice in support of aircraft accident investigations and determining causes of equipment failure.
As a Corporal, you will be trained in Pilot Flight Equipment fitting and pilot Aircraft Integration: Undertaking precise Pilot Flight Equipment fitting and integration which provides the pilot with audio or visual acuity; respiratory enrichment and counterpressure support for safe operation of the Aircraft.
Instructional Posts: On promotion to Corporal or above, and on completing instructional techniques courses, you may train recruits during specialist training, provide trade-related management training to other Survival Equipment Specialist or teach Survival, Evasion, Resistance & Extraction techniques. You may also be able to undertake further training such as Jungle, Desert, and Extreme Cold Weather environmental survival courses to enhance your abilities as an instructor.
There may well be opportunities to work outside the specialisation. As you advance through the ranks on merit, you will have an increased opportunity to lead and direct; managing resources and manpower within your work to deliver the required outputs whilst instilling the high standards expected within the RAF, maintaining excellence both within and outside your chosen specialisation of Survival Equipment Specialist.


The qualifications, experience and skill sets that you develop as an SE specialist, engineer and manager are recognised and highly regarded in civilian industry which mean that, should you ever decide to pursue a career outside the RAF, you will be well placed to find employment.



Be a citizen of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, holder of dual UK/other nationality or have been a Commonwealth citizen since birth (with ‘right to work’ immigration status).

Be aged 16 – 47 years old (Must attest before 48th birthday)

*Until at least you have completed one year of service and successfully completed Professional Workplace Assessments on first posting.


Have these minimum grades:

Mathematics C/4 Grade 5
English Language C/4 Grade 5

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


You must be a citizen of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, holder of dual UK/other nationality or have been a Commonwealth citizen since birth (with ‘right to work’ immigration status).

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


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 on day one of your initial training. 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).

MALES - 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
45-47 12.54 7.07 16 23


FEMALES - 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
45-47 15.19 5.04 6 20

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

PJFT/PRFV Protocols

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


RAF MSFT: Bleep Test

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

RAF PRFV 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.



There are health requirements that must be met by all applicants:

  • Body Mass Index requirements:


Male and female minimum

Male and female maximum

Male maximum with additional assessment

Female maximum with additional assessment

18 +





16 to < 18





  • Eyesight requirements vary for different roles. A requirement to wear glasses or contact lenses may be allowed for aircrew.

Get in touch if you have any questions about the health criteria, or would like to find out if any additional health requirements apply to your role of interest.


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). In addition, tattoos must not be visible below the sleeve cuff while wearing uniform, although a single finger (not thumb) tattoo that could be covered by a ring may be 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 contact your local AFCO.


Start your application here.

Apply as a Regular