Technical and engineering
Engineer Officers (Communications Electronics) are responsible for the RAF’s vast array of information technology, communications services, network systems, RADARs and other airfield traffic services equipment. As an officer you will be a manager in charge of a team of highly trained technicians and also likely to be in charge of the RAF station’s IT budget – traditionally one of the largest accounts on unit – early on in your career. As you progress in your career you will work with many of our partners that the RAF has to be able to communicate with for its daily business – this may be exchanges with the Royal Navy or Army, being embedded with Other Government Organisations or undertaking overseas postings to work with our international allies (e.g. USA and NATO). Typical roles and responsibilities include:
- Head of IT for Main Operating Bases (up to approximately 5000 users)
- Cyber security expert and analyst
- Service Delivery Manager for RADAR and Air Traffic Services
- Change Project Manager for multi-site and multi-classification computer systems
- Provision of deployed IT/telephony services in support of exercises and operations worldwide
A £10,000 JOINING BONUS is available for graduate engineers or engineering students in their final year of study, with an engineering degree that is accredited by a professional engineering institution registered with the UK Eng Council. The applicant must commence Initial Officer Training between 1 Sep 16 and 31 Aug 18 and the joining bonus is paid on successful completion of Engineer Officer Foundation Training. The bonus is exclusively available to direct entrants who have not previously been in receipt of a Bursary and are not currently or have previously served in the Armed Forces.
You may also be interested in our Engineer Officer (Aerosystems) role. We also offer sponsorship opportunities for university students, as well as places at Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College, for those looking to eventually become Engineer Officers in the RAF.
RAF Regulars and Reserves work side by side
Initial pay after training
£30,616 + Benefits
Pay during training£25,727 + BenefitsEntry levelOfficerCommitment
Usual service 12 years
Initial pay after training
Only qualified ex-military commissioned personnel, are currently eligible for this role.
27 days per year for 12 years minimum. Each year includes a 15 day block for general RAF training, which is taken over a two week period, and 12 days for additional/trade training, or training exercises.
The possibility of being deployed to a UK or overseas base for up to 6 months after the first year.
Like all our officers, you will begin your RAF career with Initial Officer Training (IOT) at the RAF College Cranwell in Lincolnshire. You will follow a challenging 24-week syllabus to develop your leadership and management skills. The course includes fitness development, military training and academic study as well as practical outdoor leadership challenges. You can find a breakdown of the course here.
After Initial Officer Training, you will then move onto Engineer Officer Foundation Training (Communications Electronics) (EOFT(CE)); this is a 24-week course at the Defence School of Communications Information Systems (DSCIS) at RAF Cosford that takes the knowledge you gained from your degree and supplements it with the RAF-specific information you will require for your foundation tour and beyond.
This includes topics such as:
- Fundamentals of RADAR, electronics and communications theory
- Cyber, networks, cryptographic and IT security procedure and policy
- Information services management, operational planning and business continuity
- Human factors and health & safety training
- Management training/personnel line management responsibilities
- Project and Change Management (including ITIL)
Your competency and knowledge will be assessed throughout via written examinations, formal presentations, scenario-based exercises and a viva voce/oral board. EOFT(CE) is accredited in part by Lincoln University; with additional study students can obtain a BSc(Hons) in Communications Engineering Management .
After EOFT(CE), your foundation tour is likely to either be in support of an RAF station’s fixed IT/telephony systems or to 90 Signals Unit, our hub of excellence for Communications Information Systems – including elements that deploy bespoke communications solutions in support of exercises and overseas operations.
Your Career Prospects
Within your first or second tours you will automatically be promoted to Flight Lieutenant and given extra responsibility. As your career progresses you will have the opportunity to work in a variety of different roles and environments; this may range from working within the headquarters of the RAF, or Permanent Joint Headquarters Northwood, planning and supporting overseas operations through to working in Defence Intelligence and being immersed in classified intelligence communities understanding their communication needs. Roles also include providing RADAR systems to generate the Recognised Air Picture, which allows Air Traffic Control and Aerospace Battlespace Managers to track aircraft over the UK and areas of operation overseas, or providing platform-specific IT systems essential for the maintenance and support of our fourth and fifth generation aircraft.
There are numerous opportunities for both professional and personal development throughout your career; this may be an MSc/MBA from the Defence Academy at Shrivenham, using your Standard or Enhanced Learning Credits for courses which are of benefit to the RAF, or – if your specific role requires – a year’s Master’s degree at a UK university in a specialist topic. Furthermore, as you are promoted you will receive further leadership and management training to match your responsibilities.
Much of our in-house training is accredited and/or recognised by external awarding bodies. For engineers, we encourage and have developed a streamline route with various Professional Engineering Institutes for those looking to obtain their Incorporated Engineer (IEng) and Chartered Engineer (CEng) status.
Reserve Officer Initial Training
After basic training, recruits go on to Reserve Officer Initial Training during their second year. This combines distance learning with residential weekends at the prestigious RAF College Cranwell in Lincolnshire. It also includes a two-week residential phase at Cranwell where Reserves mix with Regular Officers on their initial training. During this period you will gain the skills and knowledge to command and lead in military roles and beyond.
An accredited Bachelors or Masters degree in an appropriate engineering or scientific subject, eg: aeronautical engineering; IT/IS engineering; mechanical engineering; electrical engineering; or electronic engineering.
Degrees must be accredited by one or more of the 4 professional engineering institutions most closely aligned to the RAF’s needs: the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS); the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE); the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET); or (for CE officers only) the British Computer Society (BCS). Degree accreditation status can be determined via the Engineering Council (UK) website www.engc.org.uk.
Other engineering degrees might be accepted at the discretion of the Officers & Aircrew Selection Centre (OASC) Engineer Specialist.
Applicants must also have a GCSE at Grade C (Grade 4 to 5 with effect from Aug 17) or Scottish Certificate of Education (SCE) at Grade 2 or Scottish National Equivalent (SNE) at Grade 5 in English Language.
Accredited degree or Masters degree in an associated engineering or scientific subject, such as aeronautical, mechanical or electronic engineering. Non-accredited degrees might be accepted. You also need a GCSE/SCE at Grade C/2 or a SNE at Grade 5 or equivalent, in English language.
Only qualified ex-military personnel, are currently eligible for this role.
18 – 54 (Must attest before 55th birthday – Ex Regulars over the age of 55 may be considered on a case by case basis)
To join the RAF you will also need to meet fitness, health, nationality, residency, and other criteria detailed below.