Pay and benefits


How much you get paid in the RAF depends on a wide range of factors such as your rank, your experience or your qualifications. If you have special skills like parachuting, you may be entitled to earn more in some jobs. And you may be paid more if, for example, you are deployed to work abroad.

In the RAF – unlike as a civilian – you will be paid while you train. During your initial training, it won’t be as much as your full pay. But you will get full pay during any training you do later on in your career.

We'll pay your salary directly into your bank account at the end of each month, having taken out your income tax and national insurance contributions.

For more details of what you can expect to earn, see the Airmen/airwomenNon-Commissioned Aircrew and Officers pages.


The RAF subsidises both your food and your accommodation on base, so your salary will go further than if you were earning the same amount in a civilian job.

The RAF also provides free medical and dental care. Medical benefits are sometimes extended to partners and children of RAF personnel – each UK base has its own rules about this. RAF families on overseas bases receive full medical and dental cover.

You may also be able to study at university as part of your job training, paid for by the RAF – so you could get your degree without building up huge student debts.


All RAF jobs come with six weeks’ paid holiday, plus the eight public holidays.


If you retire after at least 18 years’ service, you should have a very good pension, as well as a tax-free lump sum equal to three times your annual pension. The size of your pension will depend on your length of service and rank on retirement. To find out how much you could be entitled to, visit our Pension Calculator.

Maternity and paternity entitlement

Servicewomen have two basic maternity options in the RAF: return to work after a period of maternity leave or leave the RAF due to the pregnancy. Generally, servicewomen qualify for up to 26 weeks of statutory maternity pay (JCA). You may also qualify for additional maternity entitlements.

Fathers are entitled to two weeks’ paternity leave.

RAF Fitness challenge

Pay and benefits

Text size:

Follow us