Airfield Engineer Officer

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A unique chance to broaden your engineering, management and logistics skills working for a large organisation with branches Australia-wide.

Job Details

Australian Defence Force Academy, Graduate, Undergraduate, Graduate (Reserve)

The mission of the Air Force Airfield Engineering Specialisation is to provide appropriate infrastructure for the conduct and sustainment of effective combat and related air operations to the Air Force. To achieve this mission the Airfield Engineering Specialisation requires the ability to deploy both onshore and overseas to provide their vital enabling functions for the projection of Air Force's core air power capability.

The Airfield Engineering Organisation provides advice to the wider Air Force on infrastructure issues including the following:

  • Provision, protection and regeneration of air bases;
  • Ability to rapidly deploy to, assess, prepare, maintain and regenerate both onshore and offshore military and civilian airfields;
  • Protection and sustainment of air power; and
  • Provision of infrastructure and expertise for passive defence and physical security to airfields.

As an Airfield Engineering Officer you will perform a broad range of engineering and military roles and hold significant responsibility. Using specialist military and technical civil engineering expertise you will be involved in management, delivery, assessment, maintenance, repair, regeneration and operation of the Air Force airfields, roads, buildings and engineering services. These activities are performed regularly on deployments to temporary and permanent airfields during expeditionary operations. Such activities could also be undertaken at any of the major RAAF Bases and at isolated temporary RAAF airfields or construction sites within Australia.

You will be working with a wide and varied workforce including RAAF tradesmen from plumbing, electrical, carpentry, plant operation and works supervision backgrounds, along with civilian contractors. Numerous posting opportunities exist in various areas including infrastructure/airfield assessment, estate planning, weapons effects on structures, construction management and management of mobile engineering teams.

After you complete Initial Officer Training, time and circumstances permitting you you may be placed in an Airfield Engineering Flight to gain exposure to a variety of job roles and exercises before commencing your employment training. On completion of your employment training you will be posted to new roles every 2-3 years. As a junior Airfield Engineering Officer you will experience various roles (discussed in greater detail below) including: a Base or Staff Engineering Officer position; Flight Commander of an Airfield Engineering flight; work delivering major facilities projects; and specific engineering based specialist positions. From this experience, you will develop as a competent engineering leader with increasing levels of responsibility along the way.

Duties of an Airfield Engineer (AFENG)

Across the spectrum of Airfield Engineering roles, the duties of an Airfield Engineer can include:

  • provide airfield infrastructure to meet required operational capability;
  • Understand basic airfield planning requirements and techniques;
  • Manage Engineering works in support of deployed operations;
  • Assess airfields including pavement integrity;
  • Manage engineering infrastructure for point of entry airfields;
  • Deliver facilities works;
  • Develop facilities works;
  • Review infrastructure development proposals;
  • Review works proposals;
  • Input weapon system master planning status;
  • Participate in airfield inspections on RAAF Bases, and undertake airfield inspections on non-defence airfields;
  • Represent the RAAF on infrastructure and utilities issues for natural disaster planning;
  • Perform contingency planning;
  • Develop, exercise and review, contingency plans for base passive defence, including the identification of resource options;
  • Participate in exercise planning with particular emphasis on Airfield Engineering;
  • Plan defence aid to the civil community;
  • Assist in the preparation of base disaster plans;
  • Perform pre and post exercise evaluation with respect to airfield infrastructure and engineering;
  • Plan for contingency maintenance of plant and equipment;
  • Manage construction stores;
  • Perform strategic estate planning;
  • Produce plans in accordance with endorsed strategic planning guidance; and
  • Prioritise defence assets to meet strategic guidance requirements.

Employment conditions range from office based administratively oriented employment where specialist military and Airfield Engineering skills and competencies may be employed in such activities as planning and policy formulation. At the other end of the spectrum employment could be at an operational Airfield Engineering Unit with tradespersons and plant operators, where the majority of the Air Force's Airfield Engineering physical capabilities reside and are utilised and exercised. All junior officers in the Airfield Engineering category should expect at least one posting to an operational Airfield Engineering unit.

Roles of an Airfield Engineering Officer

The specific roles of an Air Field Engineering Officer include:

Base Airfield Engineering Officer:

The Air Force has Airfield Engineering Officers on most of the main Operational Air Bases. The role of these Officers is to be familiar with the Airfield Engineering infrastructure required to support air operations. The Airfield Engineering Officers are responsible for ensuring the functionality and development, familiarity and exercising of the airfield and other base infrastructure, with a focus on operational capability.

The Base Airfield Engineering Officer acts as a specialist adviser to the Base Commander. Duties include:

  • act as a specialist adviser to the Base Commander;
  • maintain a working knowledge of the airfield infrastructure;
  • determine works priorities;
  • act as a specialist officer in the Base Command Post;
  • implement standing instructions;
  • liaise with Service Provider Programs and contractors;
  • identify facilities requirements;
  • negotiate delivery of works;
  • assess engineering works requirements; and
  • maintain and restore base engineering systems and infrastructure during exercises and contingencies.

Facilities Management within Defence Support and Reform Group (DSRG):

A Staff Officer in the DSRG, may be appointed as a Project Officer for individual capital new works projects, participate in the preparation of plans and programming for building, civil and mechanical/electrical engineering projects and also assist in the formulation of policy. Extensive liaison with design and construction organisations and other Government bodies, as well as interstate travel is involved in these duties.

Personnel posted to DSRG will be required as an expansion force in times of contingency and exercises, when they will be employed in operational positions associated with Airfield Engineering.

The key areas are that of project delivery, plans and regional operations. General descriptions of some of the activities undertaken in these areas are outlined below:

  • Strategic facilities planning;
  • Proposal development and analysis;
  • Detailed project development;
  • Project delivery;
  • Regional planning;
  • Master planning;
  • Initiation of reinvestment proposals;
  • Land use assessments; and
  • Provide specialist technical Airfield Engineering advice on Explosive Ordinates Safeguarding and airfield pavements.

Commander of an Airfield Engineering Flight:

Airfield Engineering Flights are located at Townsville (QLD) and Richmond (NSW), with a Headquarters contingent at Townsville.

The Flight Commander is responsible for the training and development of construction teams to cater for deployments overseas and military exercises. Construction projects, such as aircraft hangars and base camps are often undertaken in remote locations such as Learmonth (WA) and Curtin (WA). Additionally, new works projects may be undertaken at any RAAF establishment.

The primary role of the Airfield Engineering Flights is to provide engineering and facilities services and maintenance wherever the RAAF deploys its people and aircraft. Training in Battle Damage Repair to airfields, in conjunction with Army Engineers is also undertaken.

Staff Officer at a Headquarters:

Staff Officers provide specialist Airfield Engineering advice to commanders in a variety of environments, including headquarters and training establishments.

Any officer roles: Officers in the Air Force may also undertake a posting to an “Any-officer role” at some stage during their careers. Examples include instructor/training roles and staff officer roles. This helps to broaden the skill set of an Engineering Officer in preparation for more senior roles.

General Details of an Air Base

To enable the Air Force to meet its mission of being able to 'prepare for, conduct and sustain effective Air Operations to promote Australia's security', the Air Force depends on a huge geographically dispersed organisation with an intricate infrastructure. Airfield Engineering Officers, together with their associated non-commissioned specialists are involved in the management, delivery, assessment, repair, regeneration and operation of this infrastructure.

The Air Force's infrastructure consists of nine major Operational Air Bases, three Bare Bases, two Command Headquarters, ammunition depots, numerous exercise areas, air weapons ranges and other minor establishments. The facilities (land, buildings, permanent installations and engineering services) which constitute this infrastructure consist of many elements.

Components of an Air Base

Large Operational Air Bases are expected to support up to three thousand personnel during normal operations and many more during contingencies and have the following range of facilities:

Aircraft Operations:

  • aircraft pavements and aprons;
  • an air traffic control tower;
  • a fire station;
  • air navigation aids;
  • an engine run-up area;
  • avionics repair and calibration workshops;
  • weapons ranges;
  • fuel installations;
  • fuel delivery systems; and
  • ordnance storage and preparation areas.

Administrative Support:

  • headquarters buildings;
  • a medical/dental centre;
  • motor transport operations;
  • command, control and communication facilities;
  • aircraft passenger and cargo handling facilities; and
  • warehousing and equipment distribution facilities.

Engineering Services:

  • an emergency power station;
  • local emergency generators;
  • uninterrupted power supply systems;
  • an electrical reticulation system;
  • a sewage farm and reticulation system;
  • roads and carparks;
  • water storage and reticulation;
  • fire detection and suppression systems;
  • security systems; and
  • telecommunication system.

Engineering Support:

  • aircraft maintenance workshops; and
  • general engineering works.

Community and Recreational:

  • playing fields;
  • swimming pools;
  • gymnasiums;
  • schools;
  • churches; and
  • cinemas.

Residential:

  • sleeping accommodation; and
  • messes (hotel and recreational facilities services).
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