About the Job
It's dusk. You're cruising metres over the Indian Ocean at 500Kmh suddenly; you detect a new contact on your radar.
Is that small dot an enemy submarine or a false contact? Your fellow crew members aboard the P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol aircraft eagerly await your analysis. As you direct the aircraft to investigate the contact you use the Electro Optics to assist in classification. It's a giant school of fish, a false contact. Your aircraft resumes its patrol. You're an Airborne Electronics Analyst - an AEA.
So what is an AEA?
AEAs are part of a team with responsibility for the surveillance of Australian and International waters. AEAs are employed on either a long-range P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft or an E-7 Airborne Early Warning Control (AEWC) aircraft, are highly trained people who work with some of the most sophisticated electronic surveillance equipment in the world. Roles performed by the aircraft include Anti Surface Warfare (ASuW), Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW), Intelligence, Surveillance Reconnaissance - maritime overland (ISR), Strike , Search Rescue (SAR).You aid in the detection and identification of warships submarines (ASuW/ASW), illegal fishing large merchant vessels (MISR),as well as Search Rescue (SAR)operations.
As an AEA you are continually receiving and analysing information that is crucial for the success of the mission. The aircraft's tactical employment is directly determined by your analysis of incoming data.
AEAs work with a complex suite of sensors. Radar is used in surface surveillance, detecting classifying contacts such as submarine periscopes warships, weather analysis avoidance, terrain avoidance, classifying contacts for Harpoon missile targeting and search and rescue. The Electro Optics sensor is used to detect Infrared signatures of targets. It can be used to analyse and classify targets during both day and night. The Electronic Surveillance Measures (ESM) sensor is used to search for, intercept identify electromagnetic emissions; Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) is used to identify friendly units and assist in maintaining separation from other aircraft, Acoustic sensors are used to detect, classify and track submarine contacts.
As you learn more about AEAs you'll discover what an important role they play in Australia's Defence. When you join an operational flying squadron at RAAF Base Edinburgh, you become part of an elite team, one of the best in Australia. Each crew member has a vital role to play and this is why there is a strong bond between the members of a maritime crew. Career flying opportunities exist beyond Maritime flying, within Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEWCs) at 2 Squadron (RAAF Williamtown) and potentially with future Multi-mission Unmanned Aerial System (MUAS).
If it all sounds quite involved, you're right. That's why we only select the best. The hours can be long, but rewarding and the conditions are great. When you're an Airborne Electronics Analyst, you are the eyes and ears of Australia.
Other Ranks - Non Technical
Join the ADF with appropriate high school passes
Preparing for Your Recruitment Process
This document provides information that will assist applicants for roles in the Navy, Army and Air Force, including details about the recruitment process, how to prepare yourself for assessment, and what to expect if you are successful in joining the Australian Defence Force.
For more information on the role of Airborne Electronics Analyst view Airborne Electronics Analyst (AEA) Civilian Candidate Information Sources or AEA Guide.
Salary & Allowances
In the Air Force you'll get paid a good salary from day one regardless of your age, experience or qualifications; and your pay increases as you progress through training.
In addition to your salary you'll receive a variety of allowances, extra pay for relevant qualifications – plus 16.4% superannuation, a far higher rate than you're likely to find in the civilian world.
Life on a Maritime Patrol Squadron
Number 11 Squadron (SQN) is the operational squadron is based at RAAF Base Edinburgh. Regular exercises and operations are conducted overseas, typically in places such as Malaysia, mainland USA, Hawaii, South Pacific countries, Philippines, Canada, Middle East and the UK.
As an AEA you will travel extensively.
While employed on operational duties, AEAs can expect to be away from home for at least four months of the year. The length of individual deployments varies, typically in the order of one or three weeks but on occasion could be up to 6 weeks. Because of these extra demands, the RAAF grants active aircrew members an extra two weeks leave in addition to the annual four week entitlement.
Life at 2 SQN
AEAs that specialise in the Electronic Warfare (EW) field, may be considered for employment at Number 2 SQN on the E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEWC) aircraft, based at RAAF Base Williamtown (near Newcastle) in NSW.
Number 2 SQN's role is to conduct sustained Intelligence Surveillance and Response Air Battle Management in domestic, joint or combined environments. It is responsible for the surveillance of Australia's northern approaches as well as the early detection and notification of possible intruders both in our airspace and waters. To accomplish this, a Forward Operating Base has been established at RAAF Base Tindal near Katherine in the Northern Territory.
As well as commitments in the North, 2 SQN will also partake in exercises conducted within Australia and overseas on a regular basis. These exercises are required to not only test yourself as an AEA but also your role as part of an AEWC crew in a simulated operational environment.
AEA Duties at 2 SQN
As part of a Wedgetail crew you will be the EW specialist on board the aircraft. A Wedgetail crew consists of two pilots, a Mission Commander, a System's Officer, a Senior Surveillance Control Operator, three Surveillance Operators and you as the EW operator.
You will be responsible for the operation of the EW suite and its associated systems and report to the System's Officer on board the aircraft. Your role will vary from mission to mission which can include Surveillance, Air Defence, Maritime Operations, Force Co-Ordination, and Operations in Support of the Civil Authorities.
Your crew will rely on you to provide input to the tactical picture, provide specialist EW information to external agencies via communications channels, all the time keeping alert to possible threats to your own aircraft. Whilst not flying you will be involved in mission planning, simulator events to maintain crew and individual currencies, as well as maintaining your individual readiness to be deployed.
On the day you enter the Air Force you must be between 18 and 54 years old.
Education & Experience
Applicants must have passes in Year 10 Maths, English and one other STEM subject (preferably Physics focused).
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
When you embark on a career as an Air Electronics Analyst you'll be appointed for an Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS) of six years.
Subsequent periods of service may be offered subject to Air Force needs and your suitability for further service. You may tender your resignation at any time provided you do not have an outstanding IMPS obligation and give a minimum of three months notice.
For the purposes of Medical Requirements, Airborne Electronic Analysts are classified as 'Aviation Class 2'.
Weight/BMI Aviation Class 2:
There are no specific weight standards for Aviation Class 2. Applicants are to meet the current BMI limits for entry.
Height Aviation Class 2:
There are no specific height standards for this class. Applicants are to meet the current height limits for entry.
Have speech that is clear and free from impediment.
Note:a swimming proficiency test will be completed post enlistment.
AEAs must have the following personal attributes:
- Able to prioritise tasks
- Strong communication skills
- Sound mental arithmetic abilities and
- Strong analytical thought processes.
- Selection Interview Board
If you have successfully passed your other tests and interviews, you will be required to appear before a Selection Interview Board of three RAAF members and a psychologist for an interview of about 30-50 minutes. The Board will establish your competitiveness for available vacancies with due concern for your appearance and bearing, maturity, intellectual and social ability, leadership potential, motivation, communications ability, education potential and compatibility with Service life.
If you have met all of the requirements, having passed the aptitude testing, Psychologist and Recruiting Officer interviews and have been recommended by the Selection Board, you will then be rated against the other successful applicants. Only the highest rated of these will be selected.
At a minimum, candidates must hold a valid Australian State or Territory provisional/probationary C Class Drivers Licence upon enlistment/appointment. Candidates with suspended or cancelled licences will not be eligible to join until the suspension or cancellation has been lifted or has expired.
Online Aptitude Testing (OAT) is completed as part of the application process to join the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Some jobs may also require you to complete additional testing at a later date.
OAT is used by Defence to establish suitability for ADF entry, and then identify jobs that best match your abilities.
Further information about OAT can be found in the Guide to Online Aptitude Testing for the ADF.
To get a feel for the types of questions that are used in an Online Aptitude Test and how they will look on your screen some examples can be found in the Online Aptitude Testing Example Questions.
To serve in the ADF you must be an Australian Citizen.
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.
Find out more in our Citizenship page or ask your local Defence Force Recruiting Centre.
The Department of Defence requires ADF employees to have a security clearance appropriate to their employment.
A process of background checks, collection of relevant information and if required, interviews, enables the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency (AGSVA) to make an informed assessment of an applicant's suitability for a security clearance.
The minimum security clearance level required is Negative Vetting Level 1 (NV1), and current policy requires applicants to have a checkable background for the previous 10 years.
This means applicants must provide credible referees (non-family members) who are able to provide information about the applicant covering an extended period of time. Required information for an NV1 includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Financial information
Some ADF jobs may require a higher level of security clearance such as Negative Vetting Level 2 (NV2) or Positive Vetting (PV). Your individual circumstances will determine the number and complexity of the questions and the supporting documents required for these levels.
Australian Citizenship is a requirement for a security clearance and a clearance will only be granted to a non-citizen in exceptional circumstances.
The security clearance is critical to an applicant's successful progression through the recruiting process. It is strongly recommended that all applicants action the Security Clearance Package (ePack) and provide the required documentation without delay to provide the best opportunity to commence training and be employed in their preferred employment category.
For more detailed information on the security vetting process and specific clearance level requirements set by AGSVA, please refer to the AGSVA website.
Support will be provided by DFR during the initial application process.
Duration: 10.6 weeks
Location: RAAF Base Wagga (NSW)
You'll start your Air Force career at No 1 Recruit Training Unit (1RTU). In three intensive months you'll transition smoothly from civilian to Service life, acquiring the basic knowledge, skills and physical fitness required for your role; and learning to become an effective and productive member of the Air Force.
You can read about what to expect at the No.1 Recruit Training Unit on the 1RTU website.
Non Commissioned Officer Training
Non Commission Officer training is the first stage of promotion training that you will undergo and begins with a Corporal Promotion Course. This course aims to prepare Airmen and Airwomen for promotion to the rank of Corporal, the first of the supervisory Airman ranks. The Corporal Course provides the link between the initial leadership skills gained at 1RTU during recruit training and those required to become a Non Commissioned Officer (NCO).
AEA Specialist Training
After all this you will be ready to commence AEA Initial training at 292SQN, located at RAAF Base Edinburgh, SA, where you will cover topics such as Theory of Flight, Meteorology, Aircraft Systems, Navigation, Air Traffic Control, Intelligence
Gathering, Photography, Mathematics, Electronic Warfare theory, Radar theory, Infra-Red and Optical systems, Acoustic Warfare, Communications, Airmanship. You will then commence Operational Conversion on either the P-8A Poseidon at 292SQN Edinburgh, or E-7A Wedgetail at 2SQN Williamtown depending on Air Force requirements including both simulator and flying training. The training usually culminates in an operational deployment or exercise within Australia, or overseas. The major shipping lanes or combined exercises overseas are the perfect place to consolidate skills learnt and to complete your final assessment as an AEA trainee. All up, from 1RTU to graduating from 292SQN, your training will take around 17 months.
Once you complete this course you will graduate from No. 292 or No. 2 Squadron wearing the AEA brevet. You will also be promoted to the rank of Corporal and be ready to join an elite crew in an operational squadron.
Your career is only just beginning. Your newly learnt skills will be consolidated and enhanced as you gain experience. In conjunction with this you will continue to develop your leadership and management skills.
Career Progression through training
AEA direct entrants are enlisted as Aircraftman/Aircraftwoman Recruits (ACR/ACWR) and remain as such until graduation from 1RTU, where upon they are reclassified to Airborne Electronics Analyst Trainee (AEA/T). On subsequent graduation from AEA initial course, you are presented the AEA Brevet and re-classified to Corporal Airborne Electronics Analyst Grade 1 (CPL AEA1).