About the Job

You and your unit have deployed some of the worlds most advanced early warning radars and ground based air defence weapon systems; you have an enemy jet approaching your forces fast. At this speed, you and your team have only seconds to make a decision. What do you do? This is where the highly specialised training of an Air Defence Operator (Artillery-Air Defender) will make you the right person to make the big call. As an Air Defence Operator it's your job to deploy and use some of the most advanced surface to air missile and surveillance radar systems in the world to detect, identify, acquire and destroy enemy aircraft.

The Air Defender role is separated into the Operator Ground Based Air Defence and the Sense Warn and Locate streams. The Operator Ground Based Air Defence Stream involves the use of air defence missile systems to neutralise air threats and the Sense Warn and Locate Stream includes the operation of surveillance radars and sensors to detect and identify air threats. Combined, the two streams provide a potent capability to the Australian Defence Force.

The Army's core values are a vital part of being successful as an Air Defence Operator (ECN 237). Utilising the Bushmaster Protected Mobility vehicle, your team will need to move fast as you and your regiment defend the deployed ground forces. You will have many opportunities to travel and often be called upon to support the Air Force and aboard ships with the Navy too. It's a job where you'll work hard but you'll play hard too. The amenities at Woodside (South Australia) are second to none with top-class sporting facilities at your disposal, and best of all you'll be based just a short drive to Adelaide.

In the Army, this role is known as Operator Air and Missile Defence Systems (ECN 237)

Your duties:

The duties listed below are those that you could be expected to perform, but note that not all duties are performed in each position.

  • Assemble and operate advanced radar and weapons systems
  • Detect, identify, acquire and engage hostile aircraft
  • Provision of local defence
  • Minor servicing and maintenance of artillery equipment and protected vehicles
  • Operation of combat communications equipment and command systems and
  • General soldiering duties, such as manning defensive positions, patrolling, traffic control, camouflaging of vehicles and field equipment, and navigation
In-Service Information
This role is known as Operator Air and Missile Defence Systems within the Army.
Employment Category Number (ECN): 237
Employment Category: Combat

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Key Information

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.

Salary & Allowances

In the Army 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.

For more details download our Salary Scales.


Air Defence Operator are employed at the 16th Air Land Regiment located at Woodside, approximately 30 minutes from Adelaide, SA.



Applicants must be at least 17 years of age and able to complete the Initial Minimum Period of Service before reaching Compulsory Retirement Age (60).

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.

Education & Experience

Completion of Australian Year 10 education (or equivalent) with passes in English and Mathematics.

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

You will be enlisted for an Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS) of four years. Subsequent periods of service may be offered subject to the requirements of the ADF and your suitability for further service. You may request discharge at any time provided you do not have an outstanding IMPS obligation.

If you have only received partial recognition of your qualifications, you will be advised of the Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS) after the Recognition of Prior Learning/Recognition of Current Competencies process is complete. The IMPS will be between four and seven years.


The Job Opportunities Assessment (JOA) is completed as part of the application process to join the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Some jobs may also require you to complete a further evaluation at a later date.

The JOA is used by Defence to establish suitability for ADF entry, and then identify jobs that best match your abilities.

Further information about the JOA can be found in the Guide to the Job Opportunities Assessment for the ADF.

To get a feel for the types of questions that are used in the Job Opportunities Assessment and how they will look on your screen some examples can be found in the Job Opportunities Assessment 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.

Security Requirements

The Department of Defence requires ADF employees to have security clearances appropriate to their employment.

A process of background checks, collection of relevant information and, as required, interviews, enables the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency 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, and current policy requires applicants to have a checkable background for the previous 10 years. Required information includes:

  • Residence
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Credit

Australian Citizenship is a requirement for a security clearance and a clearance will only be granted to a non-citizen in exceptional circumstances.

NOTE: The security clearance is critical to an applicants successful progression through the Army training system. If an applicant is unable to obtain the required security clearance in time, they will not be allowed to continue their training and may need to be re-allocated to another employment category. As such, it is strongly recommended that all applicants obtain the required documentation as soon as possible to provide the best opportunity to be employed in their preferred employment category.


Military Training

All General Entry recruits into the Australian Regular Army are required to complete the Recruit Course.

Total Duration: 80 days.

Location: Kapooka, Wagga Wagga, NSW.

Recruit training is the same for male and female entrants. During the 80 day Army Recruit Course you will be required to take part in physical training, weapon handling and shooting, first aid, drill and field craft. The training is deliberately challenging and has been designed to prepare you to be a soldier in today's Army. Recruits gain a sense of achievement, purpose and confidence during basic training, and on completion of the course feel justifiably proud of what they have achieved.

Further information is also available at the Army Recruit Training Centre website.

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

Employment Training

Basic Combat Communications Course
Location: School of Artillery, Puckapunyal.
Duration: 6 days, not including weekends.
Specialist Combat Communications Course
Location: School of Artillery, Puckapunyal.
Duration: 19 days, not including weekends.
RAA Common Induction Training
Location: School of Artillery, Puckapunyal.
Duration: 12 days, not including weekends.

You will complete one of the following courses based on trade stream:

Operator Ground Based Air Defence Course
Location: School of Artillery, Puckapunyal.
Duration: 30 days, not including weekends.
Operator Sense Warn and Locate Course
Location: School of Artillery, Puckapunyal.
Duration: 30 days, not including weekends.

Note: Course duration may vary depending on public holidays and other Army requirements.