Your career will start with the 10-week Basic Recruit Training Course (BRTC) at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire. The course is designed to help you adjust to a military environment. As well as fitness and military training, you will also learn about the RAF lifestyle. Following the Basic Recruit Training Course (BRTC), prospective Weapon Systems Operators and Air Operations (Control) Sergeants, known within the Service as Non-Commissioned Controllers, will complete the Direct Entrant Senior Non-Commissioned Officer (DE SNCO) Course at Airmen's Command Squadron (ACS), RAF Halton. The 8-week training programme will develop the students’ knowledge of leadership within the RAF and increase their understanding of their management responsibilities as SNCOs. The course includes Air Power academic study, Practical Leadership Exercises, an Appraisal Workshop, Interview Techniques and Fitness Development.
WSOP INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE RECONNAISSANCE (ISR). If streamed (ISR) you will undergo a 12-week foundation phase. On completion you will be streamed to either the WSOp Electonic Warfare (EW) or WSOp Acoustics (Aco) specialisation.
WSOP (ISR) ELECTRONIC WARFARE (EW). You will complete a 20 week EW course that will include Synthetic Training and a Flying Training phase at RNAS Culdrose. On completion, you will be assigned to either RAF Waddington or RAF Lossiemouth to complete an Operational Conversion Course of up to 6 months on the aircraft to which you have been streamed. This could be the RC-135 Rivet Joint, Reaper, Sentinel, Shadow, E3D Sentry or P8 Poseidon aircraft .
WSOP (ISR) ACOUSTICS (ACO). You will complete a 20 week Acoustic Analysis course that will include Synthetic Training. On completion, you will be assigned to RAF Lossiemouth to complete an Operational Conversion Course of up to 6 months on the P8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol aircraft.
WSOP ROTARY WING (RW) CREWMAN. You will complete 56 weeks of training at RAF Shawbury. This will cover all aspects of the Rotary Wing Crewman role. You will learn the basics, on the EC-135 Juno helicopter before progressing to advanced crewman training on the EC-145 Jupiter helicopter. Once complete you will be streamed to either the Chinook or Puma helicopter fleets where you will be assigned to RAF Benson to complete an Operational Conversion Course of up to 6 months.
WSOP MULTI ENGINE (ME) AIR LOADMASTER. You will remain at RAFC Cranwell and complete a 31 week training package. This is split into a 5.2 week Military Aiviation Ground School (MAGS) theory phase followed by a 25 week practical and flying phase where you will learn about the roles and responsibilities of a Multi Engine Air Loadmaster. On completion you will be streamed to one of the RAF’s transport platforms. You could be a Mission Systems Operator (MSO) on Voyager, monitoring air-to-air refuelling, or an Air Loadmaster on the Bae146, C17, C130 or A400M fleets. Once steamed you will complete the relevant Operational Conversion Course of up to 6 months.
FLYING FOUNDATION TOURS
For your first two tours you will generally be posted to one aircraft type in the UK. During this time, you will continue to develop your new skills and knowledge to become an expert in employing air power on a front line air system.
YOUR CAREER PROSPECTS
You will join the RAF as an airman under an initial 12 year engagement. Following several years’ service, you will be eligible to apply for an extension of service to complete a pension earning engagement of 20 years’ service or to age 40, whichever is the later. You will hold the rank of acting Sergeant during your professional training. Once you start your front-line job, and you are assessed as being capable of operating independently, you will be promoted to substantive Sergeant. Further promotion to the rank of Flight Sergeant and Master Aircrew is by selection, with commissioning opportunities to Weapon Systems Officer (WSO) available once you have proved yourself as an NCA WSOp.
As your career progresses, we will continue to train you in new skills. There are opportunities to undertake management and leadership training and you can also study for A-levels or a degree as your career develops.
As your career progresses, we will continue to train, mentor and grow your skills in leadership, instructional and specialist areas that will enable you to receive civilian accreditation as mid-level management equivalency in industry.