The Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering (DSAE) was established on 1 April 2004 as a result of the Defence Training Review (DTR) and is an important step in the migration to where and how Defence technical training will be delivered in the longer term.

The principal task of the DSAE is to provide a high quality, relevant and up-to-date aeronautical engineering (AE) training to fulfill the needs of tomorrow's front line. In parallel with that ‘Main Effort’, the DSAE contributes to sharing best training practice and developing modern training methodologies across the Ministry of Defence. In turn, the College will contribute to the successor to the DTR, the Defence Technical Change Programme (DTCCP), and its eventual delivery of a new model and solution for the delivery of technical training for the UK Armed Services.

Comprised of training establishments across 4 sites, the DSAE embraces the AE and survival equipment elements of RN training at HMS Sultan (Gosport), the REME School of Electronic and Aeronautical Engineering at Arborfield, the RAF No 1 School of Technical Training at Cosford and specialist RAF Engineering Officer Training at Cranwell. Although the DSAE is a federation of military units, it is first and foremost a cost-effective business. For example, Cosford was one of the first Defence College sites to become fully accredited to an ISO 9000-2000 quality assurance system and it has now embarked on substantial business initiatives to secure International Defence Training contracts.

Our Goal

To deliver the best military Aeronautical Engineers, now and tomorrow.

Our Values

Take pride in all that we do. Be open minded and creative. Be forward thinking.

Our Role

The DSAE is responsible for the provision of all Phase 2 and some Phase 3 training for all aeronautical engineers in the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force and, where directed, international military forces

  • Phase 2 (Generic) Training is an initial specialist training which prepares Service personnel for their first employment. (It normally follows on from Phase 1 Training, which is initial training in the basic military skills required by all Service personnel).
  • Phase 3 (Further) Training prepares Service personnel for further employment with an increased skill base and/or responsibility. It also encompasses training to meet career aspirations and professional development.


The Headquarters of the DSAE is located at RAF Cosford, near Wolverhampton. The Commandant DSAE is a Group Captain and he is supported by a Royal Navy Commander who is the Chief of Staff and Deputy Commandant.

RAF Cosford

When the DSAE was first formed, it had a Support Directorate to provide all of the essential support services required to enable the cost-effective delivery of AE training across all DSAE sites. That Directorate has ceased to be and a combination of DSAE and RAF Cosford staff at the Cosford site now provide military and civilian personnel management, medical and dental facilities, security, discipline and policing, supply, catering, accommodation, property and facilities management, SHEP (Health & Safety and Environmental Protection) management and IT. There is also a responsibility to support Cosford`s lodger units, which includes the provision of airfield services. OC Base Support Wing is the Deputy Station Commander.

The DSAE satellite sites at Gosport, Arborfield and Cranwell are parented by their host units for many support services. However, the DSAE HQ staff provide the high-level planning, business development, budgeting and accounting functions and ensure that the services provided to our satellite sites meet the standards set out in the agreements with their hosts.

RAF No 1 School of Technical Training

The DSAE provides AE training for the 3 Services; that training is delivered by DSAE personnel located at 4 sites. The Commandant also has the single-Service responsibility of being OC of the RAF No1 School of Technical Training.

RAF No1 School of Technical Training (No1 SofTT) is based at RAF Cosford and consists of Aerosystems Training Wing, Military Training Wing and Training Development Wing.

Aerosystems Training Wing (ATW) delivers Aerosystems Management and Technical Training, including weapons and survival equipment training, to RAF non-commissioned personnel. (Note: Having undertaken Phase 1 training at RAF Halton, the trade of Aircraft Maintenance Mechanic (AMM) is the first step on the route to becoming either a Mechanical or Avionics Aircraft Technician (A Tech ( M) or A Tech (Av)). Trainee AMMs undertake a 26-week (Phase 2) course at RAF Cosford before and initial tour of approximately 18 months on a front-line squadron. Thereafter, they return to Cosford for a second course of training (Phase 3) to technician-level).ATW provides an extensive range of courses through the following Training Squadrons:

238 Squadron is responsible for delivering AMM training which includes skill of hand, basic avionic, airframe and propulsion principles. Those skills are consolidated through activity-based aircraft scenarios involving flight servicing, flight handling, maintenance training and fault rectification. Forward training to AMM trainees, using live aircraft in realistic scenarios. replicates the AMM role on an Operational Squadron.

Avionic and Mechanical Training Squadron delivers technician-level Avionic and Mechanical systems and equipment trade training to Phase 3 and International Defence Training (IDT) students.

Weapons and Survival Equipment Training Squadron provides basic and postgraduate training for the Weapons and Survival Equipment trades for both RAF and IDT students. Weapons Trg Flt deliver basic Weapons trade training plus a large post-graduate training commitment to ensure that the RAF have sufficient personnel qualified in areas such as Explosives Safety Management, Authorised Representatives and Small Arms. Survival Equipment Trg Flt delivers basic SE trade training plus post-graduate training, in the form of courses such as for Night Vision Goggles and the Personal Radio Communicator.

Specific areas of the Wing provide underpinning academic knowledge required for systems training; Management and Promotion training to newly promoted corporals and sergeants; plus life long engineering skills including electrical and mechanical hand skills, aviation policy and documentation training, electronic asset management and human factors training. Pre-employment courses include corrosion awareness, early failure detection and aviation fibre optic maintenance.

Military Training Wing is responsible for the efficient management of Phase 2 trainees and International students of No1 SofTT. It also provides and develops all military skills, physical fitness, leadership, team, personal and Force Development activity for trainees of No1S of TT and both military and civilian permanent staff at the RAF Cosford site.

The decision to implement a discreet split in the responsibility for the management of ‘training delivery' (in ATW) and ‘trainee management' (in MTW) has stemmed from the combined needs to deliver multi-skilling in the on-aircraft engineering trades and in anticipation of the ‘House System' for Defence Training Establishments in the future.

Training Development Wing is established to manage all aspects of curriculum development within the Defence Aeronautical Engineering Training Environment. This approach ensures that the strategic and operational AE training development needs of all 3 Armed Services are satisfied in an efficient and effective manner. The Wing operates under the Defence Systems Approach to Training and is thus able to analyse customers’ requirements; develop a balanced curriculum to meet those needs efficiently and effectively, and internally validate the effectiveness of the process.

Satellite Sites

DSAE (Gosport)is also known the Royal Naval Air Engineering and Survival Equipment School, and is based at HMS Sultan. The school delivers training to AE Officers, AE Ratings and Survival Equipment Ratings for subsequent employment in the Fleet and Land domains.

DSAE (Arborfield) in conjunction with the Technology Branch, which forms part of the Arborfield element of Defence School of Electro-Mechanical Engineering, is responsible for training all Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) aviation technicians, artificers and engineering officers. (Technology Branch is responsible for teaching academic subjects such as electronic theory and the theory of flight, while DSAE (Arborfield) covers, engineering techniques, aircraft systems and equipment training on the lynx and gazelle helicopters).

DSAE (Cranwell)is responsible for Phase 2 initial specialist training for RAF Aerosystems Engineering Officers; some pre-employment specialist training for all 3 services, MOD civilians and industry; and support to engineer and logistics training at RAF Cranwell. The main activity is the Phase 2 Engineer Officer Foundation Training (EOFT) course for the Aerosystems specialization. The 32-week course prepares junior engineer officers for their duties in their first and second professional appointments by providing a solid engineering foundation and by developing their skills as 'Resource Managers', 'Professional Engineers' and 'Military Commanders' in an engineering environment. This course is also attended by international students.

NB: RAF Cosford - Given the strong likelihood that the DSAE would migrate to St Athan under the DTR plans – i.e. a tri-Service AE college would not eventually be built at Cosford – the decision was taken in early 2009 to resume calling the site ‘RAF Cosford’; the various training schools, headquarters and units lodging on the site. The Commandant DSAE is also Officer Commanding RAF Cosford.

Media relations~Websites~No 22 (Trg) Gp DSAE entry as at Jul 11 (Final)

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