AIR FORCE OFFICER / FULL TIME

Air Combat Officer


Let your military aviation career soar with this exciting position as a master of the most sophisticated and advanced airborne electronic systems and sensors in Australia.

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Job Overview


About the Job

The next 10 years will see significant changes in the Air Force as the Service transitions to a networked force. The Air Force seeks to translate an information advantage, enabled in part by information technology, into a competitive warfighting advantage through the robust networking of well informed geographically dispersed forces. The networked Air Force will require highly motivated and professional Air Combat Officers (ACOs) to make real time command and control decisions in a 3-dimensional environment, effectively being a mission manager who will ensure the mission is successfully completed in the most efficient, safe manner.

Following graduation from initial employment training, ACOs will be streamed into one of three specific areas of employment; Air Battle Management (ABM), Air Combat (ACCAL) and Maritime Patrol and Response (MPR). The specific roles undertaken by ACOs within each stream are detailed below.

Air Battle Management

ACOs selected for employment within the ABM stream will perform surveillance and control duties using complex electronic command and control systems in both the ground and air environments. You will operate as part of a team in the Air Defence Ground Environment (ADGE) or in the airborne environment on board the Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEWC) aircraft. Regardless of the environment, you will operate technically advanced systems including radar, communications, tactical data links and electronic support measures in the accomplishment of your assigned mission. Throughout the conduct of your mission you will operate these systems to detect, locate and identify air and surface targets and disseminate this information using a number of different communication and information systems.

Air Combat

ACOs selected for the Air Combat stream will be employed as aircrew on the F/A-18F Super Hornet. In the Super Hornet, teamed up with the Pilot, you will operate state of the art mission systems including aircraft systems, electronic warfare equipment, sensors including radar and infra red targeting systems and weapons. Roles of the Super Hornet are varied and complex in nature and include air-to-air combat, air-to-ground and air-to-surface weapons employment. You will be at the heart of Australia's Air Combat Capability.

Maritime Patrol and Response

ACOs selected for employment within the MPR stream will perform the duties of a mission commander, otherwise known as a Tactical Coordinator (TACCO) on board the AP-3C Orion. You will operate as part of a crew performing a variety of missions including anti-surface strike, anti-submarine strike, search and rescue; and maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

You will be also be involved in the detection of illegal, maritime activity, counter-piracy operations and even over-land operations providing critical intelligence directly to both conventional and special operations forces. To put it simply, you are an integral part of a team with responsibility for the defence of Australia's sea-gap; and wider areas of strategic interest. With the introduction of the P-8 Poseidon aircraft (in 2018), you will be at the forefront of military aviation technology.

The Future

In the future, ACOs will also be needed to transition emerging capabilities such as Space, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and Joint Terminal Attack Control. ACOs will continue to provide essential support and direction to assist in transitioning capabilities that they might not be directly employed in such as the Joint Strike Fighter. ACOs, together with Pilots, will make up an Air Force Battle-space Command and Control personnel group who will be responsible for the direct application of air power in any theatre of operations on a global scale.

ACOs, together with Pilots, are not only the air warriors of today, they are the future leaders of the Air Force.

Australian Defence Force Academy

Complete a university degree at ADFA whilst undertaking military and leadership training

Officer

Join the ADF with Year 12 passes and appropriate qualifications

Learn more about Entry Methods


Salary can be over $71,900 p.a. on completion of initial employment training. This salary includes Uniform and Service allowance.


FULL JOB DETAILS

Key Information

Salary & Allowances

While studying at ADFA you will receive:

Year 1: $39,891 per year

Year 2 $45,346 per year

Year 3: $50,801 per year

Year 4: $56,256 per year

These figures include a Training Allowance but do not include the generous superannuation given to members of the ADF. Trainees with dependants may be entitled to a minimum salary of $43,766 per year

During Military Training and (Initial) Employment Training, you may be required to pay a contribution towards meals, accommodation and utilities.

$68,154 per year plus superannuation will be your starting salary package on graduation from ADFA. This includes Service and Uniform Allowances.

Salaries increase with rank, years of service and additional skills and qualifications gained. See Salary Scales for more details.

Locations

Initial ACO employment locations are dependent upon the chosen stream for the individual and operational posting requirements:

  • ACOs training on Hawk aircraft; will be posted to RAAF Williamtown (Newcastle, NSW)
  • ACOs posted to F/A-18F aircraft will be located at RAAF Amberley (Brisbane, QLD)
  • ACOs posted to AP-3C aircraft will be located at RAAF Edinburgh (Adelaide, SA)
  • ACOs posted to AEWC aircraft will be located at RAAF Williamtown (Newcastle, NSW)
  • ACOs posted to 3 CRU will be located at RAAF Williamtown (Newcastle, NSW) and
  • ACOs posted to 114MCRU will be located at RAAF Darwin (Darwin, NT).

Following an operational tour, ACOs can be employed at almost any location across the country or overseas.


Requirements

Age

Applicants must be a minimum of 17 years of age on day of entry.

Applicants will not normally be allowed to enter the ADF until they achieve a minimum of 17 years of age, however they may be able to initiate the application process from 16 years of age, depending upon the capacity of their local recruiting centre.

Maximum age on entry is 48 years of age.

Education & Experience

Candidates must have completed Year 12 with passes in English, Mathematics (Tertiary Entrance Level) plus two other academic subjects. If a physical science subject is not included in the 'two other subjects' at Year 12 level, a pass at Year 11 in a subject such as Physics, Chemistry or multi-strand science is required.

'Mathematics in Society' or similarly modified Mathematics subjects are not acceptable

South Australian applicants may achieve a pass at Year 11 English and a pass in a language rich subject at Year 12.

In addition, at the time of entry, applicants must have Year 12 academic results acceptable to the University of New South Wales, University College at the Defence Academy for entry to their respective faculty. For details of the UAI/OP score required select entry to ADFA. Then under 'Program Information', select 'Entrance Ranks'.

Note: All applicants for undergraduate programs at ADFA must also apply to the Universities Admissions Centre (NSW and ACT) for entry to the University of New South Wales. The Universities Admissions Centre website is http://www.uac.edu.au/

This entry mode attracts a debt greater than the maximum rate of HECS due to the higher costs associated with ADFA studies ($25,000 per annum). In general terms, this debt accrues (increases) whilst undertaking study, with the maximum debt reached on completion of study. Once the period of study has ended, the debt begins to acquit (reduce) for the remainder of your Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS). Once the IMPS period is complete, there is no remaining debt.

Medical & Fitness

To be enlisted or appointed, you must be medically and physically fit for entry to your chosen occupation. This is partially assessed from the completion of an extensive questionnaire covering your medical history, followed by a physical examination.

You will also be required to successfully pass a physical fitness test before appointment.

For further details on medical and physical fitness standards refer to Physical Fitness Standards for Entry into the ADF and Medical Process for Entry into the ADF.

Period of Service

Air Combat Officers will be appointed for an Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS) of 11 years. Subsequent periods of service may be offered subject to the requirements of the ADF and your suitability for further service.

You may tender your resignation at any time provided you do not have an outstanding Initial Minimum Period of Service obligation and provide a minimum of three months notice.

Defence Academy Entry Officers become liable to an IMPS from the graduation day of their second year of studies. This means that they may leave the Academy at any time up to the end of second year, without any obligation.

Additional Requirements

Physical Requirements

The weight and height requirements are primarily required due to cockpit and ejection seat ergonomics of the Air Force's advanced trainer, fighter and bomber aircraft.

Weight/BMI Aviation Class 1:

Air Force Pilots - acceptable BMI range is 18.5 to 29.9. Due to the design of ejection seats and parachutes used in Air Force aircraft, applicants must have a nude body weight of between 55 and 105kg (measured in underwear). A body weight outside this range is incompatible with pilot training.

Height Aviation Class 1:

Height - minimum 163 and maximum 193cm.Sitting Height - maximum 100cm.Buttock to knee length - maximum 67cm.Buttock to heel length - maximum 122cm.

Have speech that is clear and free from impediment.

Aptitude

The application process to join the Australian Defence Force requires you to complete a series of aptitude tests which may include verbal, spatial and numerical ability and a general maths test. Some jobs may also require you to complete additional testing at a later date.

Psychology support staff will explain what is involved with each test.

The aptitude tests provide information about your suitability for the Defence Force and for particular jobs. Defence Force Recruiting can then help you identify jobs that best match your abilities.

Further information on the aptitude testing requirements can be found here.

Citizenship

Only Australian Citizens are permitted to serve in the ADF.

If you are a permanent resident of Australia, the ADF may consider a temporary waiver of the citizenship requirement if the position for which you are applying cannot be filled by an applicant who meets all the citizenship requirements, and then only in exceptional circumstances. You will be required to obtain Australian Citizenship as early as possible following enlistment or appointment.

Find out more in our Recruitment Centre or ask your local Defence Force Recruiting Centre.

Security Requirements

The Department of Defence requires ADF entrants to attain a security clearance appropriate to their avenue of entry. Details on the security requirements for all Air Force jobs can be found here.

Training

Military Training

Once you are settled in to the Australian Defence Force Academy you will undertake six weeks of military training, to prepare you for Service life. This is followed by the annual Chief of the Defence Force Parade, after which the academic year commences.

In between your academic studies, six hours a week are allocated to military training; this consists of Academy Military Education and Training (AMET) for all three Services as well as Single Service Training (SST).

SST blocks are held at the beginning and end of the year. Through this program cadets gain equivalent skills to those gained by non-ADFA applicants taking the Initial Officers Course.

During AMET you will learn about and get involved with:

  • Defence strategies

  • Psychology and leadership

  • Drug and alcohol awareness

  • Military law

  • Physical and recreational training

  • Military drill and ceremonial training

  • Weapons training

  • Field training

  • Character development

  • English and military communications and

  • Study skills.

You will also have breaks in study to go on academic field trips, military tours, excursions and adventure training exercises (including five weeks at the Officers' Training School , East Sale, VIC in Year 2).

Employment Training

ACO EMPLOYMENT TRAINING

Once you've graduated from the Australian Defence Force Academy or Officer Training School, you'll head to the School of Air Warfare at RAAF Base East Sale, Gippsland, Victoria for 20 weeks of common course' training.

On the ground, you'll be instructed in aviation theory and perform practical exercises in simulators. Simulated exercises include an Air Battle Manager (ABM) element comprising of 10 Air Warfare Simulator (AWSIM) events and 15 Synthetic Navigator Trainer (SNT) events focusing on Systems Navigation (SYSNAV) and divert procedures. In the air, you'll receive around 15 hours of airborne instruction in the Beech Super King Air 350 aircraft.

The major components of this common course include:

  • Aviation and Navigation Fundamentals
  • Mission Systems Management
  • Fundamentals of Air Power
  • Meteorology and
  • Air Traffic Control (ATC) communications

ACO Stream Selection and Training

Following successful completion of the common course, and based on your performance and aptitude, you'll be streamed to either advanced stream training at SAW or Air Battle Manager Basic (ABMB) at Surveillance and Control Training Unit (SACTU) at RAAF Base Williamtown, where you will undertake addition employment training.

  • Advanced IET Training - 23 week course at SAW focussed on Maritime (MAR) and Air Combat (AC) employment. You'll be exposed to the nature and type of operational missions flown by fast jets as well as in the maritime environment.
  • Air Battle Management - 15 week course at Surveillance and Control Training Unit (SACTU), RAAF Williamtown, NSW. This phase covers the fundamentals of air surveillance and fighter control. You'll be exposed to the basics of Air Battle Management and tactical control of fighter aircraft in the Air Defence Ground Environment.

Following graduation from streamed course, you'll be presented with the Air Combat Officer Southern-Cross' brevet, signifying you have demonstrated the potential to apply combat air power and command air combat missions. For the advanced stream graduates, you'll be posted to either MAR or AC conversion, and the ABM graduates, to 41WG or 42WG conversion.

Further Training

Platform ConversionOnce graduated as an Air Combat Officer, you'll move on to conversion training according to the stream you've been selected for.

  • Air Combat - you will undertake introductory fast jet training on the Hawk at 76 Squadron, RAAF Base Williamtown, NSW followed by Super Hornet conversion training at 6 Squadron, RAAF Base Amberley, QLD.
  • Maritime Patrol and Response - you will undertake 6 months operational conversion training on the Orion aircraft with 292 Squadron, RAAF Edinburgh, SA.
  • Air Battle Management - you will join an operational unit as a controller, developing your skills in the operational environment or go on to undertake a 6-8 month Operational Conversion course with 2 Squadron on Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning Control aircraft.

Key Information

Salary & Allowances

You will be appointed as an Officer Cadet (OFFCDT) upon joining the Air Force and receive the following salary while undertaking Military (Initial Officer) Training and Employment Training:

Degree Qualified: $46,368 per year ($1,783 per fortnight).*

Non-degree Qualified: $40,913 per year ($1,573 per fortnight).*

While under training, you will also receive $9,888 per year pro rata ($380 per fortnight) Trainee Allowance.

On completion of Military (Initial Officer) Training and Employment Training you will be promoted to Pilot Officer with a salary of $54,551 per year ($2,098 per fortnight).*

In addition to your salary, you will receive Service Allowance of $13,184 per year ($507 per fortnight) except while undertaking Military (Initial) or Employment training. This allowance compensates a member for the unique requirements that service life may impose on an individual and his or her family.

Uniform Allowance at a rate of $682 per year ($26 per fortnight) is also paid to assist you in maintaining your uniforms in good order and condition.

Salary will continue to increase based on rank and the number of years of service completed in that rank, and/or on the achievement of various competencies.

Refer to the Salary Scales for further information.

* Note: These figures do not include compulsory deductions for taxation; meals, accommodation and utilities (as applicable); or superannuation.

Locations

Initial ACO employment locations are dependent upon the chosen stream for the individual and operational posting requirements:

  • ACOs training on Hawk aircraft; will be posted to RAAF Williamtown (Newcastle, NSW)
  • ACOs posted to F/A-18F aircraft will be located at RAAF Amberley (Brisbane, QLD)
  • ACOs posted to AP-3C aircraft will be located at RAAF Edinburgh (Adelaide, SA)
  • ACOs posted to AEWC aircraft will be located at RAAF Williamtown (Newcastle, NSW)
  • ACOs posted to 3 CRU will be located at RAAF Williamtown (Newcastle, NSW) and
  • ACOs posted to 114MCRU will be located at RAAF Darwin (Darwin, NT).

Following an operational tour, ACOs can be employed at almost any location across the country or overseas.


Requirements

Age

Applicants must be a minimum of 17 years of age on day of entry.

Applicants will not normally be allowed to enter the ADF until they achieve a minimum of 17 years of age, however they may be able to initiate the application process from 16 years and six months ofage, depending upon the capacity of their local recruiting centre.

Maximum age on entry is 51 years of age.

Education & Experience

Candidates must have completed Year 12 with passes in English (South Australian applicants may achieve a pass at Year 11 English and a pass in a language rich subject at Year 12), Mathematics (Tertiary Entrance Level) plus two other academic subjects. If a physical science subject is not included in the 'two other subjects' at Year 12 level, a pass at Year 11 in a subject such as Physics, Chemistry or multi-strand science is required.

'Mathematics in Society' or similarly modified Mathematics subjects are not acceptable

Medical & Fitness

To be enlisted or appointed, you must be medically and physically fit for entry to your chosen occupation. This is partially assessed from the completion of an extensive questionnaire covering your medical history, followed by a physical examination.

You will also be required to successfully pass a physical fitness test before appointment.

For further details on medical and physical fitness standards refer to Physical Fitness Standards for Entry into the ADF and Medical Process for Entry into the ADF.

Period of Service

Air Combat Officers will be appointed for an Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS) of 8 years. Subsequent periods of service may be offered subject to the requirements of the ADF and your suitability for further service.

You may tender your resignation at any time provided you do not have an outstanding Initial Minimum Period of Service obligation and provide a minimum of three months notice.

Additional Requirements

Physical Requirements

The weight and height requirements are primarily required due to cockpit and ejection seat ergonomics of the Air Force's advanced trainer, fighter and bomber aircraft.

Weight/BMI Aviation Class 1:

Air Force Pilots - acceptable BMI range is 18.5 to 29.9. Due to the design of ejection seats and parachutes used in Air Force aircraft, applicants must have a nude body weight of between 55 and 105kg (measured in underwear). A body weight outside this range is incompatible with pilot training.

Height Aviation Class 1:

Height - minimum 163 and maximum 193cm.Sitting Height - maximum 100cm.Buttock to knee length - maximum 67cm.Buttock to heel length - maximum 122cm.

Have speech that is clear and free from impediment.

Aptitude

The application process to join the Australian Defence Force requires you to complete a series of aptitude tests which may include verbal, spatial and numerical ability and a general maths test. Some jobs may also require you to complete additional testing at a later date.

Psychology support staff will explain what is involved with each test.

The aptitude tests provide information about your suitability for the Defence Force and for particular jobs. Defence Force Recruiting can then help you identify jobs that best match your abilities.

Further information on the aptitude testing requirements can be found here.

Citizenship

Only Australian Citizens are permitted to serve in the ADF.

If you are a permanent resident of Australia, the ADF may consider a temporary waiver of the citizenship requirement if the position for which you are applying cannot be filled by an applicant who meets all the citizenship requirements, and then only in exceptional circumstances. You will be required to obtain Australian Citizenship as early as possible following enlistment or appointment.

Find out more in our Recruitment Centre or ask your local Defence Force Recruiting Centre.

Security Requirements

The Department of Defence requires ADF entrants to attain a security clearance appropriate to their avenue of entry. Details on the security requirements for all Air Force jobs can be found here.

Training

Military Training

Initial Officer Training: 17 Weeks

Immediately upon joining the Air Force, direct entry officers will normally undertake the Initial Officer Course of 17 weeks duration. This is a live-in course completed at RAAF Base East Sale, located 220 kilometres east of Melbourne (VIC).

The major elements of the course involve introduction to military life, Air Force Values and attitudes, Ground Defence and Weapons training, Leadership and Personal Development, Communication Skills and Air Force Operations studies.

Further details on officer training are available on the Officers Training School website or refer to the Joining Instructions.

The information on the website and in the Joining Instructions will provide you and your family with enough information to arrange your personal affairs before appointment in the Air Force and give you an overview of the structure and requirements of the Initial Officer Course.

During Military (Initial Officer) Training and (Initial) Employment Training (if applicable), members may be required to pay a contribution towards meals, accommodation and utilities.

Employment Training

ACO EMPLOYMENT TRAINING

Once you've graduated from the Australian Defence Force Academy or Officer Training School, you'll head to the School of Air Warfare at RAAF Base East Sale, Gippsland, Victoria for 20 weeks of common course' training.

On the ground, you'll be instructed in aviation theory and perform practical exercises in simulators. Simulated exercises include an Air Battle Manager (ABM) element comprising of 10 Air Warfare Simulator (AWSIM) events and 15 Synthetic Navigator Trainer (SNT) events focusing on Systems Navigation (SYSNAV) and divert procedures. In the air, you'll receive around 15 hours of airborne instruction in the Beech Super King Air 350 aircraft.

The major components of this common course include:

  • Aviation and Navigation Fundamentals
  • Mission Systems Management
  • Fundamentals of Air Power
  • Meteorology and
  • Air Traffic Control (ATC) communications

ACO Stream Selection and Training

Following successful completion of the common course, and based on your performance and aptitude, you'll be streamed to either advanced stream training at SAW or Air Battle Manager Basic (ABMB) at Surveillance and Control Training Unit (SACTU) at RAAF Base Williamtown, where you will undertake addition employment training.

  • Advanced IET Training - 23 week course at SAW focussed on Maritime (MAR) and Air Combat (AC) employment. You'll be exposed to the nature and type of operational missions flown by fast jets as well as in the maritime environment.
  • Air Battle Management - 15 week course at Surveillance and Control Training Unit (SACTU), RAAF Williamtown, NSW. This phase covers the fundamentals of air surveillance and fighter control. You'll be exposed to the basics of Air Battle Management and tactical control of fighter aircraft in the Air Defence Ground Environment.

Following graduation from streamed course, you'll be presented with the Air Combat Officer Southern-Cross' brevet, signifying you have demonstrated the potential to apply combat air power and command air combat missions. For the advanced stream graduates, you'll be posted to either MAR or AC conversion, and the ABM graduates, to 41WG or 42WG conversion.

Further Training

Platform ConversionOnce graduated as an Air Combat Officer, you'll move on to conversion training according to the stream you've been selected for.

  • Air Combat - you will undertake introductory fast jet training on the Hawk at 76 Squadron, RAAF Base Williamtown, NSW followed by Super Hornet conversion training at 6 Squadron, RAAF Base Amberley, QLD.
  • Maritime Patrol and Response - you will undertake 6 months operational conversion training on the Orion aircraft with 292 Squadron, RAAF Edinburgh, SA.
  • Air Battle Management - you will join an operational unit as a controller, developing your skills in the operational environment or go on to undertake a 6-8 month Operational Conversion course with 2 Squadron on Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning Control aircraft.