Last Updated: 23 February, 2015

1.0     Pilot:

  • Specialist Training: begins with Elementary Flying Training, flying the Tutor aircraft. Trainees are then streamed to fast jet, multi-engine or rotary.
  • Fast-jet: lasts 21 months and trainees will initially fly the Tucano at RAF Linton-on-Ouse, after which they will be awarded their pilot ‘Wings’. Trainees will then go on to fly the Hawk at RAF Valley and, after successful completion of the tactical weapons phase, they will go to an Operational Conversion Unit, where they will train on the specific aircraft they will be flying operationally.
  • Multi-engine: The training to fly multi-engine aircraft is 10 months long, during which trainees will fly both the Tutor and the King Air at RAFC Cranwell. Trainees will then be awarded their pilot ‘wings’ and go to an Operational Conversion Unit to train on the aircraft that they will be flying operationally.
  • Rotary: rotary training is 18-months in duration, flying both single-engine Squirrel helicopters and multi-engine Griffin helicopters at RAF Shawbury. After this training, trainees will be awarded their pilot ‘wings’. Trainees will then go to an Operational Conversion Unit where they will train on the helicopter they will be flying operationally.
  • RAF Flying Training Pipelines (Correct: September 2011)
  • Royal Navy Pilots Applicant, Boarded & Input Numbers (2015-01-26)
  • Royal Navy Pilot Recruit Scores (Computer Based Aptitude Training (CBAT) & Final Board Mark (FBM)) for 2013 (2014-06-02)

2.0     Non-Commissioned Aircrew (Weapon Systems Operator)

There are four Weapon Systems Operator roles and, depending on an individual’s qualifications, they could move between them during their career:

  1. Weapon Systems Operators (Acoustic): use sonar technology to locate and track submarines and ships.
  2. Weapon Systems Operators (Crewman): are responsible for making sure that loads and passengers are carried safely on either fixed-wing or rotary aircraft.
  3. Weapon Systems Operators (Electronic Warfare): operate radar systems to survey air and surface activity.
  4. Weapon Systems Operators (Linguist): analyse foreign language radio emissions, providing military commanders with combat support.

Non-Commissioned Aircrew have only three ranks in their career structure: Sergeant (Aircrew); Flight Sergeant (Aircrew); and Master Aircrew. Training can take as long as three years to complete but individuals will start at the rank of Sergeant.

2.1     Weapon Systems Operator Training

  • Leadership Training: after Phase 1 initial training, Trainees will then go to RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire for a 10-week leadership package suitable for Sergeants – the rank at which Weapon Systems Operators start after their specialist training. The course is physically demanding and fitness is given a high priority throughout.
  • Specialist Training: Leadership training is followed by a 13-week course to understand aircraft systems and basic survival skills; trainees will then be streamed as a Fixed Wing or Rotary Wing Crewman (Linguists are pre-streamed on joining the RAF).
  • Electronic Warfare Training: trainees will be trained to operate aircraft radar systems to locate, identify and track surface and sub-surface contacts as well as compiling the air picture for ground commanders. Trainees will also learn about electronic surveillance and by the end of training trainees will be able to identify radars from other aircraft, ships and submarines from around the world. Finally, trainees will be taught to be an effective communicator on aircraft radios so that they are able to pass information accurately and in a timely manner to other forces.
  • Crewman Training: trainees will be taught how to load and restrain cargo in such a way that the aircraft remains stable throughout all stages of flight. Trainees could be streamed to be a rotary crewman and find themselves on operations transporting cargo and troops around the front line. As a fixed wing crewman, trainees could find themselves transporting passengers and freight over long distances and also in operational areas.
  • Linguist Training: as a Linguist, trainees will have up to 18 months of intensive language training. Trainees will study a Middle Eastern language at the Defence Centre for Languages and Culture (see below). Trainees will then go to RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire to train on the aircraft they will be operating on.

3.0     Defence Centre for Languages and Culture

The Defence Centre for Languages and Culture (DCLC) sits within the College of Management and Technology, which is part of the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom (DAUK) located in Shrivenham, near Swindon.

The DCLC was formerly the Defence School of Languages (DSL) located at Beaconsfield Station but closed on 09 September 2013 (GetBucks, 2013) as part of the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) rationalisation programme.

The DCLC comprises (DAUK, 2014):

  • An HQ element.
  • Two in-house language delivery functions:
  • Foreign Language Wing (FLW): provides contingency language training and training in Arabic, French, Russian and Spanish.
  • English Language Wing (ELW): ELW delivers English language and cultural training to international military and attached personnel on behalf of the MoD in order to enhance operational capability, support the UK’s International Defence Engagement Strategy and wider Defence Diplomacy.
  • A Training Support Cell (TSC).

Additional languages are trained on a bespoke basis, co-ordinated and assured through the TSC. A number of language training courses, including phase 2 training, are delivered at DAUKs Chicksands site.


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