Find out what you'll be doing
About the Job
Operations Officers (OPSO) in the Royal Australian Air Force assist in the mission planning, tasking, coordination and monitoring of air operations within single Service, joint and combined air operations environments. OPSOs support the Air Operations Commander through management of the air operations centre resources and administration, and are required to use sophisticated computerised battle management systems.
OPSOs may be employed in a variety of air and Base operations support roles including support units, flying squadrons, and wings and higher Air Force and other ADF operational command headquarters. In addition, OPSOs may be employed as Air Weapons Range Safety Officers and oversee the safe coordination of live or inert weapon drops. OPSOs can also be employed as part of Air Liaison Cell, called a Tactical Air Control Party, where they are responsible for the coordination of aircraft in support of deployed Navy and Army units. OPSOs are also employed as Aviation Safety Officers on Air Force bases.
The working conditions for an OPSO will vary depending on the role and location of their posted unit. OPSOs may be required to work shifts with certain situations demanding long and irregular hours. OPSOs may be deployed in a tactical environment which would include field deployments and operations in austere surroundings.
Personal / Professional Qualities and Skills
- OPSOs are responsive, professional, dedicated and focused on the RAAF mission
- In order to succeed in a high-tempo operational environment, OPSOs must be able to remain calm under pressure and simultaneously manage/coordinate multiple tasks within a rapidly changing scenario
- Must be adept at prioritising tasks by focusing on described outcomes and managing tasks in accordance with those outcomes
- Attention to detail and effective analysis skills are essential for OPSOs, as is the ability to collate information, synthesise content and present options to Commanders in a succinct manner and
- Well developed written and verbal communication skills, especially the ability to negotiate outcomes.
Opportunities also exist to serve as an OPSO in the RAAF Active Reserve. Reservists are trained to the same standard as their Permanent Air Force (PAF) colleagues and are given the same opportunity to attend specialist training courses.
OPSOs in the Active Reserve are trained in preparation for their contingency role to support air operations. Reserve OPSOs can be employed in the same roles as a PAF OPSO, mentioned above.
FULL JOB DETAILS
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Salary & Allowances
Upon joining the Air Force, you will be appointed as a PLTOFF and receive a salary of $57,890 per year ($2,226 per fortnight).*
If you hold relevant tertiary qualifications and/or significant and relevant experience you may be appointed as a FLGOFF and receive $61,652 per year ($2,371 per fortnight).*
In addition to your salary, you will receive Service Allowance of $13,991 per year ($538 fortnight) except while undertaking Military (Initial) or Employment training. This allowance compensates a member for the unique requirements service life may impose on an individual and his or her family.
To assist you in maintaining your uniforms in good order and condition, you will also receive a Uniform Allowance of $682 per year ($26 per fortnight).
Your salary will continue to increase based on your rank and the number of years of service completed in that rank. Your pay grade may increase following the acquisition of additional skills and completion of further training. Refer to the Salary Scales for further details.
* Note: These figures do not include compulsory deductions for taxation; meals, accommodation and utilities (as applicable); or superannuation.
You may be posted to any Air Force Base within Australia or possibly overseas, although overseas postings are limited.
OPSOs often participate in deployments both domestically and overseas, and are a vital part of these operations. A deployment is a challenging opportunity to put all your skills and training into practice whilst operating in a dynamic environment.
Must be aged between 17 and 56 years inclusive 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.
Education & Experience
As a minimum, you must have completed Year 12 studies with passes in English and Mathematics, and at least two other NSW Board of Secondary School Studies registered (or state equivalent) subjects;
If you do not satisfy the education requirements or do not possess evidence of your educational attainment there is an alternative pathway available to you.
You may sit an Alternative Education Equivalency (AEE) Assessment to ascertain your ability at the required educational level for this employment stream.
Further information about this scheme is available here.
You may be considered for Graduate (both PAF and Reserve) entry if you hold tertiary qualifications in the following disciplines which are considered most relevant to the role of OPSO:
- Aviation Management
- Aviation Studies
- Aviation Operations
- Aviation Risk Management
- Information Technology.
- Consideration may be given to applicants with tertiary qualifications in other disciplines working within the aviation industry
It is not mandatory for appropriately qualified tertiary applicants to have completed Year 12; however, these results should be presented if available.
Degree qualified officers normally start their careers at one rank higher that non-graduate officers.
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.
Period of Service
You will be appointed for an Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS) of two 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.
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.
Only Australian citizens are permitted to serve in the ADF
If you are a permanent resident of Australia, the ADF may consider a temporary wavier of the citizenship requirement if the position for which you are applying can not 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.
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.
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.
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.
The Operations Officer Basic Course is undertaken at RAAF Base East Sale. The course is six weeks in duration and personnel are required to live-in during the training period. Weekend leave is available during the course but no other leave is allowed except for compassionate reasons.
Following initial employment training, OPSOs will receive further training specific to their new role upon posting.
To meet the requirements of each Force Element Group (FEG), OPSOs will undergo additional conversion training and endorsement in specialist areas. Specialist competencies are developed to meet FEG specific operations. The completion of FEG specific specialist training is a mandatory requirement for OPSO employment and career advancement.
Other training required includes (but is not limited to):
- Introduction to Joint Warfare Course
- Joint Operations Planning Course
- Air Power and Weaponeering courses
- Aviation Safety Officer courses
- Air Operations Centre Course
- and Theatre battle Management Systems courses.