Air operations support

SNCO Weapons Controller

The SNCO Weapons Controller role is a diverse, exciting and complex employment area which directs and supports operations both in the UK and around the world. A Weapons Controller directs fast jet aircraft to intercept potentially hostile aircraft that threaten the UK or Overseas battlespace.

The 3 key employment areas of a Weapons Controller are at a Control and Reporting Centre, at the UKs deployable Command & Control Unit or as part of a crew on an E-3D Sentry aircraft.

Using state of the art radar and communications technology you will be trained to:

• Safely integrate military and civilian aircraft.
• Part of the team that order Typhoon Fast-jets to scramble and intercept suspicious aircraft.
• Control fighter, bomber, surveillance, refuelling and even unmanned aircraft as they support a number of operational tasks and training exercises.
• Provide specialist battlespace management support to both UK and multi-national exercises and operations around the world.

As a SNCO Weapons Controller you could be controlling aircraft from a field, a bunker, an E-3D aircraft or even an aircraft carrier. You will be part of a varied and stimulating organisation that offers an exciting career with worldwide employment opportunities that is at the heart of the RAFs flying outputs.

Battlespace Management Transformation

You should be aware that the RAF intends to bring together the roles of SNCO ATC and SNCO Weapon Controller to form a single specialisation called Non-Commissioned Controller (NCC). This change is expected to occur in Apr 2018. Further information regarding this change will be available in the near future; in the interim, applications for SNCO ATC and SNCO Weapon Controller should be submitted as usual, since these roles will remain largely unchanged within the new specialisation.

Royal Air Force - Regular & Reserve

RAF Regulars and Reserves work side by side.

Scroll down to explore the opportunities as a SNCO Weapons Controller in the RAF.

Key Facts

Full Time

Initial pay after training

£33,807 + Benefits

Pay during training

£14,931 + Benefits

Royal Air Force - Regular & Reserve


Royal Air Force - Regular & Reserve

Full Time

Initial Training

Recruit & Non-Commissioned Aircrew Initial Training

As a direct entrant joining the Royal Air Force at the rank of Sergeant (rank attained upon completion of Weapons Controller training), your career will start with a 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 service life. Following recruit training, you will complete the Non-Commissioned Aircrew Initial Training Course (NCAITC) at the RAF College Cranwell in Lincolnshire. This 10-week course is designed to develop your leadership and management skills and includes fitness development, military training and academic study as well as practical outdoor leadership challenges.

Specialist Training

After the NCAITC, you will complete the 6 week Aerospace Battle Management Foundation Course at RAF Boulmer. This will be followed by the Weapons Controller course, also delivered at RAF Boulmer. During this 6 month course you will learn to direct fighters to intercept threat aircraft, carry our air-to-air refuelling and defend the UK from suspicious aircraft.

Foundation Tour

Your first tour will be at one of our 2 Control and Reporting Centres, which are located at RAF Boulmer in Northumberland or RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire. You will consolidate your specialist training and develop post-graduate skills making you Combat Ready and ready to deploy on operations anywhere in the world.

Your Career Prospects

You will join the RAF as an airman under an initial 12 year engagement. Following 4 years’ service, you will be eligible to apply for an extension of service to complete a Pension Earning Engagement of 20 years’ service or age 40, whichever is the later, during this time.

On-going Development

Subsequent tours of duty may see you being employed in a wide variety of areas, including:
a. As ‘Mission Crew’ on the E-3D ‘Sentry’ Airborne Early Warning aircraft based at RAF Waddington.
b. Part of the UK’s deployable, ground based, Command & Control Unit ‘Number 1 Air Control Centre’ located at RAF Scampton.
c. Instructing ab-initio and postgraduate students.

You may also be selected for advancement to intermediate management roles, responsible for supervising teams of specialists. Throughout your career, you should expect operational deployments (generally of up to but not limited to 6 months duration) to a range of locations worldwide, together with ad-hoc shorter detachments to such locations as Cyprus, Lithuania, Gibraltar, Canada, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and the US. The RAF also has a variety of overseas exchange opportunities.

Transferable Skills

As a SNCO Weapons Controller, you will obtain plenty of transferable skills including advanced leadership (CMI Accredited), change and project management and the opportunity for further academic development. Opportunities for closer alignment to the civilian air traffic control licences are being continually assessed.

Visit to an RAF Unit

Opportunities exist to visit an RAF unit where you will be able to meet serving SNCO Weapons Controllers and learn more about the Specialisation and the various roles you could find yourself employed in. These visits are called Realistic Job Previews, for which on-site accommodation and funding is available. However, places are unavoidably limited and you are therefore strongly encouraged to book early through the RAF staff at the various Armed Forces Careers Offices.


Full Time

Job requirements


You need
GCSE at Grade C/4-5 in English Language
GCSE at Grade C/4-5 in Maths
GCSEs at Grade C/4-5 in 3 other subjects
SCE Standard Grades at Grade 2/Scottish National 5 in English
SCE Standard Grades at Grade 2/Scottish National 5 in Maths
SCE Standard Grades at Grade 2/Scottish National 5 in 3 other subjects


17½ - 40 (Must enter Recruit Training before 41st birthday.)

RAF Requirements

To join the RAF you will need to meet the fitness, health, nationality, residency and other criteria detailed below.


Full Time