As an Intelligence Officer you could find yourself leading a team of highly motivated, bright and flexible men and women as part of a Royal Air Force unit or within the Joint Forces Command organisation. Your training will ensure that you are equipped to develop a range of products using the latest reporting from a variety of sources. These sources include imagery, signals, human, cyber and open-source intelligence.
Very quickly you will be responsible for collecting, collating and evaluating vast quantities of information to produce actionable reports and prepare threat assessments for current and future operations. You may then brief senior officers, planning or operations staff to influence matters of international significance. You could lead a team of analysts in the management and production of reports and assessment from satellite or aerial imagery, or the collection of complex signals in order to provide details on known or potential threats. Within your first few years you can expect to be deployed frequently overseas in various roles. This could include supporting a front line flying squadron or providing tactical mission and intelligence support.
Your job will take you to new locations and test you in different roles every few years, working alongside counterparts in the Royal Navy and the Army, or in a NATO Position. There are opportunities to work overseas, including Europe and the US. Whatever role you are employed in, your contribution will be vital to on-going or future operations around the world.
What Will You Do?
- Provide intelligence updates and threat assessments to support operational planning
- Provide intelligence support to aircrew before their missions
- Lead teams of skilled intelligence analysts to provide Imagery or Signals intelligence
You will begin your RAF career by completing the Initial Officer Training Course at the RAF College Cranwell in Lincolnshire. You will complete a challenging modular 24-week course, split into 4 distinct terms designed to develop your robustness, fitness, leadership and academic skills through
You will then undertake a 22-week specialist training course at the Defence Intelligence Training Group, Chicksands, Bedfordshire. This course will teach you how to provide Operational Intelligence. You will be taught a breadth of subjects including: the components of intelligence work, different intelligence sources, various analytical techniques, the structure of air-defence systems, and the details of complex equipment that pose a threat to aircraft. By the end of the course you will be able to collect and evaluate relevant information and produce actionable intelligence, through both written reports and formal verbal briefings. You will be able to provide intelligence support to senior commanders and contribute to the planning of air operations and force protection of airbases. Your final exercise will test your ability to work within an Expeditionary Air Wing intelligence environment in a range of mutually supportive and varied intelligence roles, including that of a squadron intelligence officer.
Your foundation tour will be at one of a range of military units and will focus on Operational Intelligence. You could be posted to any of the front-line RAF flying stations, where you would keep the squadrons, the station commander and station personnel aware of the latest threats. You could also be posted to the Joint Force Air Component Headquarters at RAF High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, or the Air and Space Intelligence Centre at RAF Wyton, Cambridgeshire. Here you would provide threat assessments and intelligence updates on current operations and worldwide areas of concern to senior commanders and their planning staff.
You could undertake further training in:
- Operational Intelligence, completing courses in air weapons employment, electronic warfare or air operations
- Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance management
- Imagery Intelligence, completing the United Kingdom Imagery Analysis Course (UKIAC)
- Signals or Human Intelligence
Your Career Prospects
You will join the RAF on an Initial Commission of 12 years and may be selected to serve on a pension-earning commission of 20 years or age 40; whichever is the latter during this time. Promotion to the rank of Flight Lieutenant will occur on a time served/satisfactory service basis 3½ years after completing IOT. Further promotion to Squadron Leader and above is by competitive selection.
Initially you will move jobs every 2 years to develop your experience as an Intelligence Officer, and you should expect to deploy on operations regularly throughout your career. You could work in a range of employment areas which provide extensive opportunities for further professional and personal development throughout your career. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree schemes in Intelligence and Security or International Relations are affiliated to the Branch. You could also undertake further training and gain qualifications in Operational Intelligence, Targeting, Cyber, Electronic-Warfare, Space and Air Operations.
Further employment could involve a specialist discipline such as Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) management, imagery, signals or human intelligence. You will manage a team of RAF and other military and civilian Intelligence Analysts, producing intelligence reports in support of current operations and strategic decision-making.
The analytical and leadership skills as well as the experience you gain throughout your career as an Intelligence Officer, could equip you for a number of civilian jobs. These include jobs such as Police Inspector, Criminologist, or various roles within the Civil Service.
In addition, you need at least 2 A2 Levels/3 Highers at Grade C or above (excluding General Studies or Critical Thinking) which must total a minimum of 64 UCAS points.
Alternatively, if you hold a UK degree at Grade 2:2 or higher (or acceptable alternative) you only need Mathematics and English Language GCSEs at a minimum of Grade C (Grade 4 to 5 with effect from Aug 17) or Mathematics and English Language SCE Standard Grades of 2 or SNE Grade 5.
You can see what the RAF accepts in lieu of GCSEs & A Levels here