Aircrew Weapon Systems Operator (Linguist) CURRENTLY RECRUITING

As a Weapon Systems Operator (Linguist) you will be fluent in two or more languages and will monitor, collect and analyse foreign-language voice transmissions and offer intelligence support.

Learn more about this role

Minimum Average Pay Over Your First Year £17,000+ + Benefits

Initial pay after training £33,936 + Benefits

Is this for you?


  • Be aged 17.5 – 32 (Must attest before 33rd birthday)
  • Have GCSEs at Grade C/4 or SNE at Grade 5 or SCE Standard Grades at Grade 2/SNE 5 in English and Maths and at least three other subjects.
  • You must be a citizen of the United Kingdom since birth
  • Must have resided in the UK for at least 7 years immediately preceding application
  • Your parents/spouse must currently have UK citizenship
  • Commit to minimum 12 years service
  • Pass the Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre
  • Pass a Fitness test - Details below
  • Candidates must be able to swim - see details below


  • Aircraft
  • Being creative
  • Analysis and maths




  • Interpret foreign transmissions in real time
  • Provide up-to-date intelligence to military commanders

With every mission, you have to quickly adapt to unfolding situations, use your initiative, prioritise all the information received and produce tactical reports for military commanders. You can expect to fly several missions a week from the base in Lincolnshire, or from a Deployed Operating Base somewhere overseas.



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 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.

This is followed by a 5.2 week Military Aviation Ground School (MAGS) course also at RAFC Cranwell. You will be taught generic aircrew subjects such as meteorology, aircraft systems and basic survival skills before progressing to your specialist language training.


As a Linguist, you will undergo 18 months of intensive language training at Chicksands in Bedfordshire or Shrivenham in Wiltshire before proceeding to an Airborne Linguist Training Course that will build on previous MAGS subjects, adding airborne specific exercises. You will then be posted to RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire. Here you will complete a 4 month Technical Applied Language Course before proceeding to a 6 month Operational Conversion Course on the aircraft to which you have been assigned.

More details +


For your first tour you will be posted to a flying station in the UK.  During this tour you will be in an operational and training role, probably involving frequent overseas detachments. There will be other more experienced Weapon Systems Operator Linguists to help develop your skills and knowledge.


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 age 40, whichever is the later, during this time.  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 beyond is by competitive selection.


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.


The skills and experience you gain throughout your career as a Weapon Systems Operator Linguist could equip you for a number of civilian jobs, including: translator or interpreter and management roles.




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 since birth and must not hold (and must never have held) any nationality or citizenship (including joint nationality) other than British or that of a British Overseas Territory.

Be aged between 17.5 and 32 years old. (Must attest before 33rd birthday).

To train as aircrew in the RAF, you must be able to pass the RAF Swimming Test as follows: Swim 100 meters without rest, using any front or sidestroke. Tread water for 2 minutes. Get out of the deep end of the pool unassisted, without the use of steps or the bottom of the pool.  All personnel attempting the test must wear clothing commensurate with that worn for their normal operating activity, which for aircrew is a flying suit.


Mathematics C Grade 4 Grade 5
English Language C Grade 4 Grade 5
Three other subjects C Grade 4 Grade 5

Linguists also need a modern language, although evidence of an ability to learn languages without a formal qualification may be acceptable.

You can see what the RAF accepts in lieu of GCSEs & A Levels here.


You must be a UK citizen from birth.

You must have resided in the UK for 7 years immediately prior to application.

Your parents/spouse must currently have UK citizenship.

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 Training Course (PRTC). 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


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

You can see the protocols for Press Ups & Sit Ups here:

PJFT/PRTC 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 PRTC Fitness Test here:

RAF PRTC 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.

To train as aircrew in the RAF, you must be able to pass the RAF Swimming Test as follows: Swim 100 meters without rest, using any front or sidestroke. Tread water for 2 minutes. Get out of the deep end of the pool unassisted, without the use of steps or the bottom of the pool.  All personnel attempting the test must wear clothing commensurate with that worn for their normal operating activity, which for aircrew is a flying suit.



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 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.

Apply as a Regular