Operations Officer

Work at the heart of the action in this rewarding part-time role, using sophisticated computerised battle management systems to plan, coordinate and monitor operations.

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Job Overview

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.

Officer (Reserve)

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.

Officer - Reserve

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This entry method is currently not recruiting

Key Information

Salary & Allowances

Members of the Reserve on part-time service are paid at a daily rate of pay which is tax-free.

While undergoing Initial Officer Training non-degree qualified trainees receive $118.95 a day and degree qualified trainees receive $134.81.

Daily rates of pay for commissioned Reserve Force Officers commence at $158.60.

In addition to your salary, a Reserve Allowance of $28.75 per day is payable to compensate for the unique demands of Reserve Service.

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.


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.



Applicants must be aged between 17 and 60 years of age inclusive on entry.

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;


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.

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

All candidates who are appointed or enlisted into the Air Force Reserve serve an initial period of volunteer service for five years, or until age 65 (Compulsory Retiring Age), whichever occurs earlier. Members may transfer out of an active element of the Air Force Reserve at any time.


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.

Find out more in our Citizenship page 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.


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

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.

Further Training

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.