About the Job

Join the close-knit Joint Fires Team (JFT) responsible for directing artillery fire and air actions onto enemy positions.

As an Artillery Observer you'll use high-tech military equipment to identify, locate and communicate threats to the Army’s armed forces. As a member of this team of six, you'll learn how to control and engage enemy targets with Australian and Coalition joint fire assets. This includes: indirect fire support from artillery and mortars, close air support from attack helicopters or ground attack aircraft, or naval surface fire ships.

See the effects of artillery up close, in both simulated and real environments. Working in partnership with ground forces or at an observation post, you'll liaise with Artillery Operators, Pilots and Infantry Soldiers to engage these assets—on land, air or sea.

You’ll be equipped with state-of-the-art battlefield surveillance equipment such as:

  • Thermal surveillance systems
  • Night vision binoculars
  • Digital Terminal Control Systems (DTCS)
  • Laser target designators and pointers
  • Laser range finders
  • Ground surveillance radars
  • Full motion video from airborne surveillance platforms

With world-class military training, you’ll learn to master this equipment plus operate weaponry, advanced communication systems and night fighting equipment. You’ll also gain skills in navigation systems, communications and advanced first aid.

It’s a hands-on role where trusting and respecting your team is key. You’ll also enjoy other benefits of being in the Army such as keeping fit through physical training and making friends for life.

In-Service Information

This role is known as Forward Observer within the Army.

Employment Category Number (ECN): 255

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.


On completion of employment training, you can expect to be posted to either 1 Regiment (Brisbane), 4 Regiment (Townsville), or 8/12 Medium Regiment (Darwin).



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

Females will be enlisted for an Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS) of two years and males for a period 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.

Your Careers Coach can advise on how IMPS will relate to your chosen occupation.​


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.

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.

RAA Common Induction Training

Location: School of Artillery, Puckapunyal.

Duration: 12 days, not including weekends.

Specialist Combat Communications Course

Location: School of Artillery, Puckapunyal.

Duration: 4 weeks.

RAA Advanced Fieldcraft

Location: School of Artillery, Puckapunyal.

Duration: 5 days, not including weekends.

Artillery Observer Basic Course

Location: School of Artillery, Puckapunyal.

Duration: 11.5 weeks.

Includes training on:

  • Advanced small arms weapon systems

  • Digital and analogue communication systems

  • Battlespace manoeuvre techniques and

  • Target location, identification, and engagement procedures.

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