Find out what you'll be doing
About the Job
Combat Systems Operators are responsible for the collection, correlation and dissemination of sensor information, in order to create an accurate and timely tactical picture that enables the Command to make sound tactical decisions. Sensors such as radar and sonar systems are used by the Combat Systems Operator to differentiate between surface, sub-surface and air threats in benign and multi threat environments.
Combat Systems Operators are an integral component of the Action Information Organisation (AIO) and as such, are required to operate an intricate array of Combat Data Systems and Command and Control Systems that communicate operational and administrative data within a task group or as part of a larger coalition task force. The equipment operated is complex and challenging for the Combat Systems Operator to master.
The Maritime Warfare environment encompasses an ever broadening range of skills requiring Combat Systems Operator Sailors to sub-specialise. All Combat Systems Operators undertake a core skills training component, which includes the operation of Combat Data Systems, radars, identification sensors, Information Networks and their associated equipment. Combat Systems Operators are then required to specialise in Anti-Submarine Warfare or Air Warfare, Tactical Data Links and Combat Data Systems, which are referred to as either Combat Systems Operators (Underwater) or Combat Systems Operators (Above Water).
Upon posting to a ship, Combat Systems Operators form part of the Action Information Organisation (AIO) and are employed as Surface Picture Supervisors, Air Picture Supervisors, Action Picture Supervisors or Sonar Operators. As part of the Executive Department, the Combat Systems Operator is also required to be skilled in aspects of seamanship, small boats and small arms. Ancillary duties also include corrosion control, Force Protection and communal responsibilities.
Combat Systems Operator (Underwater) - Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
Anti-Submarine Warfare is a branch of Naval Warfare that uses warships, aircraft or other submarines to detect, classify, track and prosecute enemy submarines, if required. Anti-Submarine Warfare also involves protecting friendly ships operating in a hostile submarine operating area.
Successful Anti-Submarine Warfare depends on Ships Sensor and Weapon capabilities but primarily depends on the training and experience level of personnel involved. Sophisticated Sonar equipment is used to detect, classify and track submarines.
The Initial Combat Systems Operator (Underwater) course provides operators with the skills required to join a ship's Surface and Anti-Submarine Warfare Team and confidently operate the ship's Combat Data System, Sonar equipment and ASW weapons. The ship's Sonar equipment consists of both Active and Passive Sensors which require a high level of analytical skill to operate.
The Combat Systems Operator (Underwater) Sailor will not only be taught how to operate the Sonar equipment, but also how to operate in, and exploit the extremely complicated under sea environment.
Combat Systems Operator (Above Water)
The Initial Combat Systems Operator (Above Water) course provides the skills required to join a ship's Surface and Air Warfare Team and confidently operate the ship's Combat Data System and the intricate array of Surface and Air sensors.
The equipment consists of Surface and Air radars and a sophisticated Combat Data System, which the Combat Systems Operator (Above Water) uses to analyse the threat and provide the appropriate recommendations to the Command. This assists the Command in making tactical decisions in defending the ship against possible threats.
The Combat Systems Operator (Above Water) sailor will not only be taught how to operate the Above Water sensors and Combat Data Systems equipment, but also how to operate, exploit, and defend in an extremely complicated Surface and Air Warfare environment.
FULL JOB DETAILS
Other Ranks - Non Technical
Join the ADF with appropriate high school passes
Salary & Allowances
Combat System Operators can earn over $65000 pa on completion of initial employment training. This salary includes Uniform and Service allowances and applies to full-time General Entry.
Salary while undertaking Military (Recruit) Training: $1,379 per fortnight ($35,854 per year).* Salary while undertaking Initial Employment Training: $1,576 per fortnight ($40,976 per year).* While under training, you will also receive $387 per fortnight ($10,086 per year pro rata) Trainee Allowance. Salary (excluding allowances) on completion of Initial Employment Training: ($1,970) per fortnight ($51,220 per year).*
In addition to your salary, you will also receive Service Allowance of $517 per fortnight ($13,448 per year) 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.
To assist you in maintaining your uniforms in good order and condition, you will also receive a Uniform Allowance of $16 per fortnight ($419 per year).
Each General Entry job in the Australian Defence Force is classified into a pay grade. This particular job is classified as a Pay Grade 3 occupation.
Salary will continue to increase based on rank and the number of years of service completed in that rank. Pay grade may also increase following the acquisition of additional skills and completion of advanced courses. Refer to the Salary Scales for further details.
* Please note that these figures do not include compulsory deductions for taxation; meals, accommodation and utilities (as applicable); and superannuation.
All Sailors will serve in fleet units and shore establishments on a rotational basis.
Applicants must be aged between 17 and 53 years of age inclusive on entry.Applicants will not 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 of age, depending upon the capacity of their local recruiting centre.
Education & Experience
The minimum educational standard for entry to the Combat Systems Operator Workgroup is successful completion of Year 10 level, which must include passes in English and Mathematics. However, you may apply while still studying Year 10, or
If you do not satisfy the education requirements for this trade or do not possess evidence of your educational attainment there is an alternative pathway available to you.
You may be eligible to sit an Alternative Education Equivalency (AEE) assessment to ascertain your ability at the required educational level for this trade.
Further information is available here.
Medical & Fitness
To be appointed, you must be medically and physically fit for entry into the ADF. This is partially assessed from the completion of an extensive questionnaire covering your medical history, followed by a physical examination.
You must also pass the swim test and physical fitness test to graduate from your Navy Training and to proceed to the Safety of Life at Sea Training that is a requirement for Recruit School and Officer training.
Royal Australian Navy Swim Test (RANST)
The RANST is conducted to ensure the Navy's duty of care to all serving personnel, with respect to rudimentary swimming skills. The purpose of the RANST is to ensure fundamental water survival skills as a prerequisite to training such as survival at sea training.
Individual components of the RANST are fundamentally related to the survival at sea scenario. Competency in the RANST is achieved through successful completion of each component comprising:
- A safety jump off a 3m tower in overalls
- A 10m underwater swim in overalls
- A 50m swim using three safety strokes
- The ability to tread water or float for 15 mins in overalls
Note: You will find it much easier to pass the swimming test if you undertake swimming training before you join.
All personnel will undertake the RANST upon entry and competency is to be achieved within 15 weeks from commencement of initial training. Failure of any one component will constitute failure of the entire RANST and no waivers will be granted.
For more details on medical and physical fitness standards refer to Physical Fitness Standards for Entry into the ADF , Medical Process for Entry into the ADF and Physical Employment Standards once you're in the ADF
Period of Service
You will be enlisted for an Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS) of six years. On enlistment if you elect to serve an open ended enlistment, you will be able to serve until retirement age, subject to your continued suitability for service. If you elect to serve for a fixed period of service, subsequent periods of service may be offered subject to the requirements of the ADF and your suitability for further service. Your Careers Counsellor can advise on how IMPS will relate to your chosen occupation.
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 deferral 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.
The Department of Defence requires ADF entrants to obtain a security clearance appropriate to their avenue of entry.
A process of background checks, collection of relevant information and, as required, interviews enables the Regional Security Office to make an informed assessment of an applicant's suitability for a security clearance.
Current policy requires applicants for this particular avenue of entry to have lived in Australia for the preceding 10 years, or have a checkable background for this period.
Duration: 11 weeks
Location: Crib Point, Victoria
The Recruit School at HMAS Cerberus is situated on Western Port Bay, Victoria about 70 kilometres south east of Melbourne. The school has its own administration building, accommodation blocks and classrooms and operates as an independent unit within the greater training environment of Cerberus.
The eleven week recruit course is designed to give you sufficient knowledge and skills on which to base your Navy career. The course includes both classroom and practical activities. Most subjects are individually tested. Examinations are set to ensure recruits are sufficiently prepared to undertake further specialist training at category schools. Private study areas are available in the school and a Duty Instructor is available for assistance during non-instructional hours.
When you are offered a General Entry job in the Navy, you will receive Joining Instructions for the Recruit Training Course. These instructions will provide you with a good indication of the daily routine while at the recruit school and what will be expected of you during your training. This information is also available by accessing the Navy recruit school web site.
Recruits, who successfully complete the course including the Navy Swimming Test , participate in a Graduation Parade, which is normally held on the Friday of the last week of training. Recruits will have the opportunity to invite family and friends to view the parade.
After graduation, personnel will be posted to category schools at Cerberus or at other training establishments throughout Australia.
During Military (Initial Recruit) Training and Initial Employment Training (IET), members may be required to pay a contribution towards meals, accommodation and utilities, depending on a number of factors.
Location: HMAS Cerberus
Duration: 3 weeks
This course is completed by all Seaman Branch Sailors and covers all aspects of basic seamanship, including:
- Boatwork - crew, maintenance and navigation of power boats
- Rigging - working all types of cordage and wire ropes, understanding splicing, maintenance of all forms of rigging, blocks, slips and shackles
- Anchorwork - maintenance of ships and boats anchors and cables, and acting as a member of a ship's cable party Helmsmanship - steering the ship
- Ships Husbandry - cleanliness and maintenance of all parts of a ship (except machinery spaces) and
- General - a working knowledge of ship organisation, routines, survival at sea and Rule of the Road for the prevention of collision at sea
Basic Combat Systems Operator Course
Location: HMAS Watson (South Head, Sydney) or HMAS Stirling (Rockingham WA)
All CSO Sailors conduct a 10 week CSO Core training to learn the basics of how an Operations Room functions.
Following this training CSO Sailors are posted to sea to a Major Fleet Unit to consolidate this training for a period of six months. On completion, CSO Sailors return to HMAS Watson (South Head, Sydney) or HMAS Stirling (Rockingham WA) to complete CSO (Above water) [14 weeks] or CSO (Under water) [16 weeks] training.
Sub Specialist Option
Application to transfer to submarines is open to all sailors and some officers, male and female. Volunteers may apply for Acoustic Warfare Analyst (AWA SM) whilst in Recruit School and to other submariner categories as early in their careers as during initial sailor trade and officer primary qualification training.
Although not all sailor categories are employed in submarines, Acoustic Warfare Analysts (AWA) and Electronic Warfare Analysts (EWA) are drawn from any workgroup. Transfer into one of these may be necessary for some personnel to serve in submarines. ( See the individual workgroup sections to find out if the trade of your choice has a submarine component. If not you may volunteer to transfer to AWA or EWA ).
If Submarine Service interests YOU let the Interviewing Officer know at your Recruiting Centre.
Service in submarines is extremely demanding, both emotionally and physically.
Submariners work and live in very close proximity to each other and personal privacy is extremely limited, except when ashore. Submarine personnel work long hours and are constantly subjected to emotional and physical pressures not found in surface ships.
Many a new recruit to the Submarine Arm of the Royal Australian Navy believes that he /she has what it takes to become a good submariner. However, until you have been tested and have experienced the arduous conditions and life inside a submarine, you won't fully appreciate the difficulties.
Today's Submariner is a unique breed of sailor/officer. They have met the challenges, been tested to the limits of their endurance and abilities and found to have what it takes to be members of a very demanding arm of the Royal Australian Navy.
If you think you have what it takes, then you must be prepared for some very demanding personal challenges throughout your training and employment. If you come through these you will be willingly accepted into the Submarine Arm of the Royal Australian Navy and welcome to wear 'The Dolphins' (the submariner's badge of distinction).
Note: Submarine Service is not a sub-specialisation of this workgroup. Transfer of workgroup is necessary to become a submariner.
Procedural Aircraft Controller
The function of the Procedural Aircraft Controller qualified Combat Systems Operator is to conduct the safe control of a single aircraft for fleet support. This includes Ship's Surveillance Radar Approaches, Emergency Low Visibility Approaches and Personnel Transfers.
Procedural Aircraft Controller training is restricted to Combat Systems Operator sailors of at least AB rank. They can be nominated for Procedural Aircraft Controller training with a minimum of 12 months sea service.
Anti-Submarine/Anti-Surface Aircraft Controller
The function of the Anti-Submarine/Anti-Surface Aircraft Controller (ASAC) qualified Combat Systems Operator is to implement the tactical employment of Anti-Submarine/Anti-Surface aircraft as required by Command in both the operational and training environment.
ASAC training is restricted to Combat System Operator sailors of at least Able Seaman (AB) rank. They can be nominated for ASAC training with a minimum of 12 months sea service as an AB.
The function of the Fighter Controller qualified Senior Sailor is to tactically control Combat Air Patrol (Fighter Jets) aircraft in support of maritime forces. The Fighter Controller is responsible to the Air Warfare Officer for the effective interception of designated targets and directing Combat Air Patrol aircraft to their allocated area.
The Fighter Controller is also expected to advise and recommend the most effective way to tactically employ all available air defence assets. Fighter Controllers are restricted to selected Maritime Warfare Officers, Petty Officer Combat Systems Supervisors and Chief Petty Officer Combat Systems Managers.