Intelligence Analyst (Linguist)


The RAF relies heavily on defence intelligence to support operations in both peace and war time. Intelligence Analysts (Linguist) interpret foreign language transmissions using state-of-the-art surveillance systems. They provide vital intelligence to support military forces deployed around the world.

Typical Responsibilities:

• Collect, collate and evaluate intelligence from multiple sources.
• Monitor and analyse radio and electronic transmissions broadcast throughout the world.
• Gather valuable information about enemies strengths, weaknesses and movements
• Disseminate tailored Intelligence to commanders, aircrew or troops on the ground.

Similar civilian roles include Translator, Telecommunications Specialist or Language Teacher.

Royal Air Force - Regular & Reserve

RAF Regulars and Reserves work side by side.

Scroll down to explore the opportunities as an Intelligence Analyst (Linguist) in the RAF.

Key Facts

Full Time

Initial pay after training

£18,489 + Benefits
New applicants could also be eligible for a £18,000 joining bonus. Details can be found here.

Pay during training

£14,931 + Benefits

Entry level



Minimum 3 years post Phase Two Training

Royal Air Force - Regular & Reserve

In the RAF

My Role

My role is to interpret for British personnel. The role involves verbally interpreting in meetings and can also include the translation of printed or handwritten documents. Without interpreters, British personnel would be unable to communicate with anyone else. 

The job and hours vary depending on the location and the team you’re working with. Overseas, my day could involve speaking to local nationals about security in the local area and advising British personnel on cultural customs and traditions to help build rapport. It’s a demanding role and requires high levels of concentration. Working as part of a small team, you all rely on each other and use each other’s skills. Although it can be intense and fast-paced, it’s extremely rewarding and you make some great friends at the same time.

My Day

My role is to intercept, translate and analyse foreign signals. The information is passed up the chain of command and distributed throughout the British Armed Forces to ensure they are able to carry out their roles safely; it alerts them to any potential threat to life or operations. I could be listening to Air Traffic Control or communications between enemy troops.

As an RAF linguist I work shifts. This can be challenging and busy, but knowing that what you're doing has a direct impact on military operations makes it very satisfying. I intercept and translate foreign communications daily, determining which information is of intelligence interest and quickly passing it to the relevant parties. I use the most modern technology and software to assist me in this role. Outside of this I have been given many opportunities to take part in adventure training and recently spent a week skiing in the French Alps. When I'm not in work I have the opportunity to volunteer for secondary duties such as working in the bar on camp or sitting on the committee for functions, these are essential for the social side of military life.


Royal Air Force - Regular & Reserve

Full Time

Initial Training

Your career will start with a 10 week Basic Recruit Training Course (BRTC) at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire. The course will prepare you for service life in one of the most respected military forces in the world. As well as fitness and military training, you’ll also learn about the core values, code of conduct and history of the RAF, as well as its unique lifestyle.

Specialist Training

The next step is a specialist training course at the Defence Centre for Languages and Culture (DCLC) Chicksands, Defence Academy, which lasts up to 2 years, depending on the language you’re learning. You’ll learn a modern language (currently Pashto, Arabic or Farsi) up to interpreter standard. You will also undertake elements of the Fundamentals of Intelligence course. These elements will give you an understanding of the sources of intelligence, the techniques for processing intelligence and basic report writing. The course will also cover the roles of UK intelligence organisations, and the RAF intelligence structure, as well as introducing you to the worlds of electronic warfare and electronic intelligence. You will also learn about IT applications and develop keyboard skills.

Your Future

As an Int An (L) you could be employed at one of several UK locations where you will work in shifts, operating state-of-the-art equipment to carry out your mission. You will move jobs every 3-5 years developing your experience as an Int An (L) and RAF Airman. Wherever you work as an Int An (L) you will find yourself working alongside colleagues from the other Services, since the Int An (L) Trade is one of those at the forefront of the Joint Services environment. Dependent on operational requirements, you may spend a tour as part of an Army Electronic Warfare Regiment or a Defence Human Intelligence Unit where you will get the opportunity to work in both mobile and static roles. In this environment, your duties may include overseas detachments of up to several months duration, frequently under field conditions, participating in land and maritime operations. In preparation for these duties, personnel will be required to carry out the appropriate military training. There are opportunities for further language training as well as further training in:

  • Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance management
  • Targeting
  • Human Intelligence
  • Cyber

Career Prospects/Progression

You will initially join the RAF for a period of twelve years on a Notice Engagement with effect from 1 April 2015. Promotion to Senior Aircraftsman (SAC) is after 12 months in Service (From date of attestation) and successful completion of relevant Trade Ability Tests. Further promotions are as vacancies become available and are competitive at all ranks.

Transferable Skills

The qualifications you can earn are as valuable in the civilian world as they are in the RAF – which means that whenever you decide to leave the RAF, you’ll be well placed to find a job in a number of fields including languages including interpreting, analytical work, research, media, information technology and the Civil Service. As you move up through the ranks you will gain a great deal of management and leadership experience which you will have the opportunity to develop into related civilian qualifications. We will give you the confidence to succeed in whatever you choose to do.

If you would like to utilise your language skills in an airborne-based career, please take a look at this role.  * - Subject to Entry and Eligibility Criteria.


Full Time

Job requirements


Minimum of 2 GCSEs at Grade C (Grade 4 to 5 with effect from Aug 17) or above or SCE Standard Grades at Grade 2/Scottish National 5 in English Language and Mathematics.


Minimum age 17½.  Younger candidates cannot be accepted because of current security vetting requirements.  Maximum age limit is 35yrs i.e. must have attested by their 36th birthday

RAF Requirements

*When submitting your application for this role choose 'Intelligence Analyst (Voice)' in the Airmen category*

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




Full Time