Air operations support Air & Space Operations Specialist (Aerospace Systems) CURRENTLY RECRUITING

As an RAF Air & Space Operations Specialist (Aerospace Systems) you’ll be an integral part of our Air and Space Operations teams utilising modern RADAR, tactical data links, communications and IT systems. You will contribute to the RAF’s counter air terrorism, missile warning and space surveillance missions.

Learn more about this role

Pay During Initial Training £15,670+ + Benefits

After Successful Completion Of Phase Two Training £20,000+ + Benefits

Is this for you?


  • Be aged 16 – 47 years old (Must attest before 48th birthday)
  • Have GCSE at Grade C/4-5 or SCE Standard Grades at Grade 2/Scottish National 5 in English Language and GCSE at Grade C/4-5 or SCE Standard Grades at Grade 2/Scottish National 5 in Maths
  • Be a citizen of the United Kingdom or the holder of dual UK/other nationality
  • Commit minimum 3 years post Phase Two Training
  • Meet the health and fitness criteria
  • Pass the Airman Selection Test
  • Pass a Fitness test - Details below


  • Analysis and maths
  • Travelling the world
  • Being creative




  • Assist in the scrambling of Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon jets to intercept suspect aircraft.
  • Keep watch for foreign missile launches and monitor foreign surveillance satellites to warn friendly forces they may be being observed from space.
  • Monitor and identify all aircraft flying within UK airspace and throughout NW Europe.

As an Air & Space Operations Specialist (Aerospace Systems) you are the eyes and ears of the RAF. You will play a vital part in UK homeland defence, contribute to the security of UK overseas territories and UK Armed Forces serving abroad and be a part of the UK Government’s mission to act as a force for good throughout the world. Throughout your career you will operate from a hardened Command and Control Centre; a deployed Command and Control Radar Unit, working and living in field conditions both in the UK and overseas; a missile warning/space surveillance radar unit; RAF Main Operating Bases and Royal Navy (RN) Air Defence ships. 

You will assist in the direction of fighter, ground attack, surveillance and refuelling aircraft operating to maintain control of the air. In the Space environment, you will help provide a 24-hour Ballistic Missile Early Warning and Space Surveillance service to UK and US senior leadership. You may also have the opportunity to work with Data Links and Electronic Warfare units. Throughout your career you may be required to serve overseas on a detachment as part of your role for a number of months, or as a full-time posting to certain locations working alongside other services and nations. Your duties will be similar to those at your home station, but will be more demanding in an operational environment.


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 a 10-week Basic Recruit Training Course 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’ll also learn about the RAF lifestyle.


The next step is the 8-week Aerospace Systems Specialist Course at RAF Shawbury in Shropshire. Here you will learn about:

  • Modern Air Battle Management and its development from the proud legacy of the Battle of Britain.
  • The interpretation and operation of complex radar systems.
  • Data Links and communication networks: how they work and are used to communicate with aircraft, RN ships and ground stations.
  • Missile Warning and Space Surveillance.
  • Joint Land and Maritime operations.
  • The capabilities of aircraft and weapons systems currently operated by the RAF and its allies.
  • You will be trained and examined in a simulated and/or live operational environment.
More details +


Digital Support Technician Level 3 Apprenticeship


As your skills, experience and time in service grow, you could serve in broader trade and wider RAF roles including:

  • Missile Warning and Space duties or overseas in locations such as Falklands, Cyprus, Italy, Germany, Spain and the USA.
  • Serve as an Air & Space Operations Manager working in the management of personnel, systems and information with a 3-5yr assignment duration.
  • Trade/recruit instructor or recruiting duties – 3yr fixed assignment


This is likely to be in an airspace monitoring role at the Control and Reporting Centre at RAF Boulmer or on the mobile radar unit, No 1 Air Control Centre based at RAF Scampton. You may later be selected to be employed with 49 Battery, attached to 16 Regiment Royal Artillery, assisting in the provision of an air situational awareness to the Army. Alternatively, a post on 54Sqn at RAF Waddington would see you supporting the training of E3-D Mission Crews, Electronic Warfare Operator at RAF Spadeadam or as a Space Surveillance Operator at RAF Fylingdales. In all cases you will utilise communication equipment to liaise with air, land or maritime units. All first tours are for a minimum of 3 years.


After completing your first year of service you will be eligible for promotion to Senior Aircraftman, providing you pass Basic Trade Training and a Trade Ability Test. Further advancement to the rank of Corporal and beyond is by competitive selection. If successful, to prepare you for Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) service, you will attend further leadership and management training at the Airman’s Command School, RAF Halton. The courses are accredited by the Chartered Management Institute. There may be future voluntary employment opportunities within Air & Space Operations Specialists (Flight Operations) such as a variety of Squadron or Station Operations environments (Fast Jet, Air Transport, Helicopter and Remote Piloted Air System). Additionally, further opportunities may include working with future platforms such as Lightning II and P8 Poseidon.


• Digital Support Technician (Digital Application) Apprenticeship Level 3
• Communication skills
• Teamwork
• Sound decision making
• Problem solving
• Robustness/Resilience
• Personal responsibility
• Leadership & Management
The apprenticeship and specialist skills you can gain during your service are as valuable in the civilian world as they are in the RAF – which means that whenever you decide to leave the Service, you will be well placed to find another career.



Your training will start with a Basic Recruit Training Course (BRTC) consisting of 4 weekends at your chosen RAF Reserves Squadron, followed by a 15 day residential training course at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire. This training course will prepare you for service life in one of the most respected military forces in the world; it is also designed to help you tune into the military environment and way of life. As well as military training, you will learn about the core values, code of conduct and history of the RAF, as well as its unique lifestyle.


After successfully completing initial training, you will be trained for your specific role in the RAF either at your squadron or another RAF station in the UK.

Commitment and location

You will have to commit to 27 days per year for 12 years minimum.

Each year includes a 15-day block for general RAF training, and 12 separate days for extra training or exercises.

You might be deployed to a UK or overseas base for up to 6 months after the first year.



Be a citizen of the United Kingdom or the holder of dual UK/other nationality.

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


Have these minimum grades:

Mathematics C Grade 4 Grade 5
English Language C Grade 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 holder of dual UK/other nationality.

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.

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. 


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 Familiarization Visit (PRFV). 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:
Age Male and female minimum Male and female maximum Male maximum with additional assessment Female maximum with additional assessment
18 + 18 28 32 30
16 to < 18 17 27 27 27
  • 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.


Apply here and receive an email that invites you to your full online application.

PLEASE NOTE: You are applying to become an Airman within Air and Space Operations as an Air and Space Operations Specialist (Aerospace Systems).

Apply as a Regular