As an RAF Regiment Gunner, you will specialise in combat tactics, weaponry, fieldcraft and force protection. You will be part of a highly trained team carrying out a range of crucial duties to defend RAF bases and overseas air operations.
The RAF Regiment is a highly-specialised force with responsibility for providing Force Protection to enable and support air operations. Specialists in ground combat operations, the RAF Regiment contributes to the defence of RAF airfields in the UK and overseas, Forward Air Controlling, ceremonial duties and support to Special Forces operations.
As a RAF Regiment Gunner, you will become a specialist in dismounted close combat tactics, fieldcraft and how air operations are conducted. You will learn to operate a wide variety of weapon systems including individual weapons through to machine guns and anti-tank systems as well as an impressive array of state-of-the-art surveillance systems designed to help you locate the enemy and stop them from interfering with air operations. Additionally, there are opportunities to learn how to operate and employ a range of armoured vehicles required to enable rapid mobility to protect RAF assets.
Within your first few years, you will almost certainly be deployed on an overseas operations or exercises to locations including Canada, Cyprus, Middle East and Africa.
As a Gunner, you could specialise in some of the RAF Regiment’s other roles:
- Become a paratrooper serving on 2 Squadron RAF Regiment or other parachute-capable units.
- Serve on the Queen’s Colour Squadron, carrying out ceremonial duties including guarding Buckingham Palace as well as your normal operational role.
- Become a sniper – an expert in camouflage and marksmanship.
- Train as a member of a Forward Air Control team, calling in strike aircraft and helicopters in support of ground troops.
- Work in support of Special Forces operations.
- Work as part of a small team to recover downed aircrew or other key personnel.
What Will You Do?
- Provide forward air control and ground combat support in deployed operations
- Train other RAF personnel in defensive military skills
- Support various Special Forces units
Training And Career
Your career will start with a 10-week Basic Recruit Training Course 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’ll also learn about the RAF lifestyle.
Upon successful completion of Phase 1 you will move to RAF Honington, Suffolk. Here you will complete your specialist Gunner training course (Phase 2) which will last for approximately 20 weeks. You will be taught how to operate and use weapons in a professional manner and learn how to survive and fight in all environmental conditions. The course includes navigation, dismounted close combat tactics, field craft and physical training. RAF Regiment training is a test of character, determination and your will to succeed. By the end of the course you will be at peak physical fitness and have learnt to operate effectively regardless of the environment. In order to give you the confidence to overcome any situation you may encounter whilst on operations, the training is deliberately tough.
You will be enrolled onto a National Level Apprenticeship, HM Forces Service Person (Public Services). Prior to starting your first squadron tour you will spend a further period undertaking specialist employment courses which include driver training and further advanced weapon training.
Additional Qualification Opportunities
- DAO Level 3 Award in First Aid at Work
- Intermediate Apprenticeship in HM Forces.
- HM Forces Service Person - Public Services (Uniformed).
- Level 1 & 2 Functional Skills qualification in English and Maths if not already acquired.
- Driving qualifications as required.
As your career progresses on successful completion of promotion courses you will achieve:
- DAO Level 2 award in Leading Individuals and Teams.
- DAO Level 3 Certificate in Leadership & Management Principles.
- DAO Level 4 Certificate in Management.
Your First Tour
For your first tour you will be posted to an operational RAF Regiment squadron located within the UK. Here you will consolidate your training and form part of the teams responsible for providing Force Protection to RAF assets at home or deployed on operations or exercises.
Ongoing Training/development Opportunities
As your career progresses, we will continue to train you in new skills. There will be opportunities to learn specialist combat medical skills, undertake management and leadership training, NVQs, GCSEs and A levels. In addition, you will have the chance to gain qualifications in adventurous sports such as mountaineering, rock climbing, skiing, sailing and canoeing and for you to lead training as an Endurance Training Leader.
Your Future Career Prospects And Progression:
After completing one year’s total service you will be eligible for promotion, providing you pass a Trade Ability Test. Further promotion to the rank of Lance Corporal and beyond is by competitive selection. Like most people in the RAF you will move jobs every few years and each job is known as a tour. There are a wide range of jobs available to an RAF Regiment Gunner including Forward Air Controller; Support to Special Forces and Instructional and ceremonial duties.
The qualifications and experience you will gain as a Gunner are valuable to civilian life – which means that whenever you decide to leave the RAF you will be well placed to find a new job. As you move up the ranks you will gain a great deal of practical management and leadership experience which you can develop into related civilian qualifications.