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Forces FAQ (including AFCO locator & useful phone numbers)

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Take our short survey, £100 of Amazon vouchers to be won! 23-09-2016
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    R&D Research and Development
    RAAF Royal Australian Air Force
    RAE Royal Aircraft Establishment
    RAFC Royal Air Force College
    RAFGSA Royal Air Force Gliding and Soaring Association
    RAFVR Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
    RAuxAF Royal Auxiliary Air Force
    RCAF Royal Canadian Air Force
    RCC Rescue Co-ordination Centre
    RDF Radio Direction Finding
    RF Radio Frequency
    RFC Royal Flying Corps
    RIC Reconnaissance Interpretation Centre
    RLG Relief Landing Ground
    RN Royal Navy
    RNAS Royal Naval Air Service
    RNAY Royal Naval Aircraft Yard
    ROC Royal Observer Corps
    RPM Revolutions per minute
    RPV Remotely-Piloted Vehicle
    R-R Rolls-Royce
    RRE Royal Radar Establishment
    RS Radio School
    RS&RE Royal Signals and Radar Establishment
    RWTS Rotary Wing Test Squadron
    S/A Strike / Attack
    SAC Senior Aircraftman
    SACEUR Supreme Allied Commander Europe
    SACLANT Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic
    SAM Surface to Air Missile
    SAR Search and Rescue
    SARTU Search and Rescue Training Unit
    SAS Special Air Service
    SASO Senior Air Staff Officer
    SATCO Senior Air Traffic Control Officer
    SBA Sovereign Base Area
    SBAC Society of British Aerospace Companies
    SD Special Duties
    SF Special Forces
    Sgt Sergeant
    SHF Support Helicopter Force
    shp Shaft Horse Power
    SHQ Station Headquarters
    SIO Senior Intelligence Officer
    SKTU Sea King Training Unit
    SLAR Sideways-Looking Airborne Radar
    SMO Senior Medical Officer
    SNCO Senior Non-Commissioned Officer
    SOC Struck Off Charge
    SOE Special Operations Executive
    SoTT School of Technical Training
    Spec Specification
    Sqn Squadron
    Sqn Ldr Squadron Leader
    SRAAM Short Range Air to Air Missile
    SS Steam Ship
    SSM Surface to Surface Missile
    STC Strike Command
    STOL Short Take-Off and Landing
    SU Signals Unit
    TAS True Air Speed
    TDY Temporary Duty
    THUM Temperature and Humidity
    TIALD Thermal Imaging and Laser Designation
    T/O Take-Off
    TOEU Tornado Operational Evaluation Unit
    Trg Training
    TTF Tanker Training Flight
    TTTE Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment
    TWU Tactical Weapons Unit
    UAS University Air Squadron
    u/c Undercarriage
    USAF United States Air Force
    USAFE United States Air Force Europe
    USMC United States Marine Corps
    USN United States Navy
    VA Vickers Armstrong
    VC Victoria Cross
    VCAS Vice Chief Air Staff
    VGS Volunteer Gliding School
    VHF Very High Frequency
    VR Volunteer Reserve
    V/STOL Vertical/Short Take-off and Landing
    WAAF Women's Auxiliary Air Force
    Wg Cdr Wing Commander
    WO Warrant Officer
    WRAF Women's Royal Air Force
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    As some of you may, or may not know, last week I spent a few days at RAF Boulmer on a Realistic Job Preview visit. I was scribbling like mad throughout, and have just finished re-writing them into some form of legible document! Just thought I'd share it and see if it is any use to anyone else!

    Beware - It's quite lengthy!

    -----------------------------------------------

    The main role of the Fighter Control branch is Airspace Battle Management. The branch was once in question as to whether it was needed with the demise of the Cold War. This question was soon answered on 9/11, when it was apparent a new threat existed and that the branch was best suited to defend the UK against such attack.

    As a branch it aims to be:
    Agile
    Adaptable
    Capable

    The branch has 2 main responsibilities in the UK:
    Policing NATO Air Policing Area 9.
    Military task 2.4 – UK air defence, which is defending the UK against intrusions by unknown aircraft and such terrorist action as seen on 9/11.

    Both tasks are made possible by the UK ASACS (Air Surveillance and Control System). This system is made up by static and mobile units, that all contribute to the building of the recognised air picture (RAP). These units consist of both military and civilian assets.

    There are military air defence radar sites at:

    RAF Boulmer (Brizlee Wood)
    RRH Neatishead (Trimmingham)
    RRH Staxton Wold
    RRH Portreath
    RRH Buchan
    RRH Faeroes (Danish run)
    1 ACC (Kirton-in-Lindsey) - Can be used if needed.
    Sentry AEW Mk1 (Airborne) – Can be used if needed.

    These military air defence systems use both primary and secondary radar. Primary radar sends out pulses of energy that bounce back of any objects in its range. Secondary radar again sends out pulses of energy but on to interrogate transponders on aircraft.

    Along with the air defence radars, some military ‘Watchkeeper’ airfield radars are used to feed into the UK ASACS, to add to the RAP. These sites are scattered around various military airfields.

    Also various civilian radars are used to help compile the RAP through the Airfield Integration Program (ARIP). Many of these radars form part of NATS (National Air Traffic Services). At the Air Traffic Control Centres at West Drayton, Swanwick and Prestwick, there are embedded military personnel to liaise between the CRC and the ATCC. Unlike the air defence radars, these are purely secondary radars, therefore they cannot see any aircraft with faulty or turned off transponders. The advantages of using this type of radar is that they can pick up aircraft at a lot lower flight level compared to the air defence radar. With both types of radar feeding into the UK ASACS, a very comprehensive RAP can be complied.

    The UK ASACS is controlled from RAF Boulmer. As the ASACS Force Command the station commander has overall responsibility for all UK ASACS sites in the UK. The main hub of UK ASACS is the Control and Reporting Centre (CRC). There are presently 2 CRCs in the UK. Within the CRC is the main ops room, where Surveillance Operators and Weapons Controllers work. From here the whole of NATO APA 9 is controlled. In the ops room there is a defined structure:

    The primary is at RAF Boulmer in Northumberland, and the secondary at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire. CRC Boulmer is operational 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It has become such a vital place that it is now considered a RAF Main Operating Base (MOB). The average age for Fighter Controllers in the ops room at CRC Boulmer is 22. CRC Scampton is a new CRC built in the Dambusters briefing room. It is purely a back-up for CRC Boulmer. It is on 5 minutes readiness during the day and 1 hour readiness at night, to take over from CRC Boulmer should it go down for any reason.

    The CRC is tasked direct from NATO. NATO is broken down into different Air Policing Areas (APA), each one being the responsibility of a different country. The UK ASACS RAP is shared with other NATO countries and theirs with us, so that we can see the bigger picture. This is made possible by the use of various data links. This means that we can see if any aircraft are approaching our APA before our own radars pick them up.

    The CRC reports to the Combined Air Operations Centre 9 at RAF High Wycombe. CAOC 9 is part of the NATO command chain. In the event of a hijacked airliner, the CAOC passes the information to the British government where 4 ministers have to power to decide whether to engage a hijacked aircraft.

    Along with the NATO task, we also have a national task. Military task 2.4 is in response to the events of 9/11 and involves the safeguarding of the UK against an airborne terrorist threat. This means that the QRA can, and is, scrambled to intercept suspect hijacked civilian airliners.

    To satisfy the needs of both tasks, a number of assets are to defend UK airspace. These consist of:
    Quick Reaction Alert – RAF Coningsby and RAF Leuchers
    Tri-Star and VC10 Tankers – RAF Brize Norton
    Sentry AEW Mk1 – RAF Waddington

    The Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) force is controlled from the CRC. The QRA consists of 4 Tornado F3 aircraft. 2 are based at RAF Coningsby and 2 at RAF Leuchers. These aircraft are scrambled if there is need to intercept and investigate an unknown aircraft in NATO APA 9 or if there is a suspect hijacked aircraft in UK airspace. QRA aims to be airborne within 10 minutes of a scramble. 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, there is always one Weapons Controller in the CRC that controls the QRA. On average the QRA is scrambled real time once a month. The QRA aircraft will be replaced by the Typhoon in Jan 2007.

    The Tanker element is vital as the QRA does not have the necessary fuel capacity to cover the 1 million square miles of APA. As the QRA is scrambled, so to are the tankers. They are vectored in to meet each other on route, and carry out AAR. This operation is controlled by Weapons Controllers. With the added fuel load the QRA can then go onto complete it’s tasking.

    The final UK defence asset is the Sentry AEW Mk1 aircraft. Based at RAF Waddington, these 7 aircraft act as an airborne CRC. With its airborne radar it can provide extra support to the CRCs. It uses various data links and radio equipment to compile a RAP with the CRCs on the ground, and other nations.

    The two streams of Fighter Control Officer are Weapons and Surveillance. Weapons controllers can be controlling large packages of aircraft in offensive or defensive roles, or directing the QRA/fighter aircraft to intercept any hostile aircraft. Surveillance are responsible for managing inputs from a number of sensors, including our own radars, airborne and ship-borne radars in order to compile a recognised air picture in their area of responsibility. Surveillance Officers have 2 minutes to decide if an unidentified aircraft is friendly or hostile. Below is a list of both Weapon’s and Surveillance’s areas of responsibility.

    Weapons

    Control QRA
    Control Composite/Combined Air Operations (COMAO)
    Control Air-to-Air refuelling
    Intercept control
    Airspace Battle Management
    Force Marshaller
    Maritime co-ordination

    Surveillance

    Radar and system management
    Manage data links and communications
    Electronic Warfare (Jamming etc)
    RAP compilation
    Airspace management and control

    Training

    Training for both streams starts with the 32 week Initial officer Training Course at RAFC Cranwell, Lincolnshire. On successful completion of this course FCs are posted to RAF Boulmer to start their professional training at the School of Fighter Control (SFC).

    ADFC

    The first part of specialist training is the Air Defence Foundation Course (ADFC). The course is 6 weeks long, consisting of 3 weeks of Surveillance training and 3 weeks of Weapons training. During this course the aim is to learn a basic overview and concepts of air warfare and air defence, and also to basic skills needed by both Weapons and Surveillance officers. In this 6 weeks training is carried out in classrooms as theory based training and also on realistic computer simulators. Upon completion of ADFC there are 3 ways in which to go. Depending on your demonstrated aptitude and abilities, you can be stream either Weapons or Surveillance. If you fail to display the necessary aptitude and abilities, you can be sent back to OASC for re-selection into another branch. The pass rate for ADFC is 80%.

    Identification Officer Course

    If streamed Surveillance your next phase of training will be the Identification Officer Course. This course can vary in duration due to students own capabilities, but is usually 21 weeks long.

    It consists of:

    RAP compilation
    Radar theory
    CRC visit
    Resource and Initiative training at a Force Development Training Centre (FDTC)
    Practical live training in the CRC

    Upon successful completion, IDOs are awarded a certificate of qualification allowing them to conduct live operations in the UK. Further on the job training results in being awarded combat ready status, allowing them to conduct live operations worldwide.

    Weapons Controller Course


    If streamed Weapons your next phase of training following ADFC will be the Weapons Controller Course. This course is approximately 7 months long, but it can vary again on student’s ability and also on weather/availability of aircraft for live practical training.

    The course consists of:

    Airmanship training
    Training on the rules of the air
    Interception techniques
    Aircraft and missile capabilities
    Meteorology training
    Resource and Initial Training
    Theory based classroom work
    Simulated practical missions in SFC
    Live practical missions in the CRC using Hawks from 100 Sqn that are dedicated to Weapons training

    As with the IDO course, upon successful completion the certificate of qualification is awarded allowing the WC to control solo, usually in a 2 v 2 (2 aircraft versus 2 aircraft) situation. With further on the job training in the CRC the combat ready status will be awarded allowing the WC to control on operations worldwide.

    The post ADFC pass arte of 90-95%, so most people pass this challenging course.

    Reasons for failing can be:

    Lack of spatial awareness
    Not able to see relative motion
    Lack of capacity/cognitive skills
    Poor work rate

    Throughout the course the instructors are looking for:

    Confidence
    Decisiveness
    Mental agility/multitasking


    First tour

    A newly qualified WC or IDO will complete their first tour at CRC Boulmer as either a weapons controller or identification officer, and will last between 18 months to 2 years. Here they will be part of a team responsible for homeland defence and security of APA 9. Here they will complete on the job training needed to prepare for OOA operations. During this tour FC can go on detachments. These can include the Falkland Islands, Armament Practice Camp in Cyprus and Gibraltar and fighter squadron detachments. There could also be opportunities to go on a 2 week detachment on ship.

    The Falkland Islands has its own CRC called 303 Signals Unit (SU), also know as CRC Griffin. CRC Griffin is located on Mount Pleasant Airfield (MPA), which is the main base for British forces in the FI. A detachment here lasts 4 months. There are also various mountain sites on the FI that feed into CRC Griffin. One is called Mount Alice, there are 6 people stationed here.

    Post first tour

    On completion of a first tour at CRC Boulmer, more opportunities arise for FCs. Subsequent tours may still be at CRC Boulmer, but may be promotion in rank and new positions such as Fighter Allocator or Surveillance Director. There are also other postings available for FCs.

    1 Air Control Centre (1 ACC)


    1 ACC is the deployable air control asset for the RAF. When in the UK it is based at RAF Kirton-in-Lindsey, near RAF Scampton. It forms part of the UK Joint Rapid Reaction Force (UK JRRF), which are deployable assets at 72 hours readiness to deploy. 1 ACC also forms part of the NATO Reaction Force (NRF), which is a group of assets from across NATO at 72 hours readiness to deploy to a crisis zone. 1 ACC use mobile radar and either tents or hardened ISO containers called TACC, to complete their task of airspace battle management. 1 ACC is due to deploy to Helmand in Nov 2006.

    Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS)


    BMEWS is a surveillance only role at RAF Fylingdales. From here IDOs track any potential inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and also catalogue any object orbiting the earth in space. It is part of a wider BMEWS forming a triad with 2 other sites, one in Clear, Alaska and one in Thule, Greenland, both run by the US.

    16 Air Assault Brigade Air Mobile Recognised Air Picture Troop (AMRAP Troop)

    AMRAP Troop is responsible for providing 16 AAB with access to tactical air and surface pictures using various data links between the Brigade and other units such as E3-Ds and 1 ACC. This unit is embedded into 16 AAB and deploys with them. There are opportunities to complete P-Coy and be awarded with parachute wings whilst on this unit.

    Joint Force Air Component HQ (JFAC HQ)

    A FC posted to JFAC can be responsible for running an air campaign. There is an Air Component HQ in Al Udeid, Qatar. From here air operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are controlled.

    There are also many other opportunities for tours, such as tours on HMS Ark Royal and opportunities to complete the All-Arms Commando Course (AACC)

    Future

    The original plan for the FC branch was for the CRC and SFC at RAF Boulmer to close in 2012 and relocate to RAF Scampton. Since this decision, things have become less clear. Now there are many possibilities being thought of, including CRCs at any of the following:

    CRC Waddington (With the E3-D)
    CRC Coningsby
    CRC Boulmer (Stay open)
    CRC Scampton (Original Plan)

    An official definitive decision is yet to be announced, but what is for sure is that the FC branch will carry on into the future.
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    In the midst of updating this seeing as a lot is from 2004/2005.
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    This is gold!!
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    Hi guys and girls.

    As you may have gathered I had my filter on the 29th and passed - and I thought I’d do a post with some more questions and ideas for anyone going for their filter soon.

    Basically, just try and relax. Everyone told me this, and I didn’t do it – and was told at the end of the interview I needed to be more confident seen as I knew “what I was talking about” so there’s no need to be nervous.

    Also, don’t walk in and forget if you were offered a chair like me – it can lead to silly situations.

    Anyway, best of luck to anyone going soon. Relax, be yourself, don’t cry in front of them and try to be confident.

    Here are most of the questions I got. I've missed a few out - can't remember them all.

    What is your date of birth?
    Where were you born?
    Where do you live?
    How long have you lived there?
    What do you think of your current family circumstances?
    I see you got 5 A’s at GCSE, 2 B’s and 2C’s, how do you feel about those results?
    You got a triple Distinction in your BTEC, how do you feel about those results?
    What school were you at when you were 11 years of age? (this caught me off guard actually, I couldn't think what "year" this was!)
    What responsibilities did you have at school?
    What clubs did you join at school?
    What travel opportunity did you have with school?
    What connection through the military, such as ATC did you have through the school?
    What sport clubs did you join at school?
    What opportunity did you have for Duke of Edinburgh?
    What if any, leadership roles did you have during this time?
    Have we missed any gaps in your school career?
    What travel have you done outside of school?
    --- ok, where have you been?
    What sport did you do outside of school?
    What responsibility did you have with that?
    What if any, leadership roles did you have during this time?
    Have we missed any gaps in your life outside of school?
    What is your employment history?
    What responsibility did you have?
    Are you starting University this year?
    How do you feel about moving from your family?
    Are you in a relationship?
    How does she feel about your joining the RAF?
    How do your parents feel about joining the RAF?
    Why do you want to join the RAF?
    Why do you want to be a pilot?
    What is the role of a pilot?
    How long have you wanted to be a pilot?
    If you get accepted into the RAF, where will your training start, and what is it?
    What is IOT’s aim?
    What will be your greatest challenge on IOT?
    If you are accepted as a pilot, where will your training start?
    Where is EFT done?
    How many hours is that?
    Ok...you are streamed rotary. Now what?
    Where is that?
    How many hours?
    How long does the course take?
    This was repeated for Fixed Wing, and then Fast Jet, both in similar detail.
    What fixed wing aircraft do we operate?
    What fast jet aircraft do we operate?
    What rotary aircraft do we operate?
    Can you tell me where that’s based?
    What other RAF bases in this country can you think of? (got about 20 before she stopped me).
    What new aircraft are the RAF getting?
    Where does the RAF have permanent bases overseas?
    What deployments are we currently on?
    Why are we there?
    How do you feel about going to war?
    How do you feel about going into a battle situation?
    Given the fact you are potentially and probably going to drop a bomb, or be a part of someone’s death in some way, what is your attitude to warfare?
    What alliances are we part of?
    When was NATO formed?
    How many countries are currently in NATO?
    And down to the standard questions.
    We realise that in this day and age many of are younger applicants may have had some experience with drugs. What if any contact have you had with drugs?
    Have you ever used drugs yourself?
    We operate a random drugs testing program in the RAF how do you feel about that?
    Do you feel that infringes on peoples privacy?
    What are your views on drug taking within the armed forces?
    What are you view on drug taking in the general population?
    Have you ever faced a criminal conviction/ had a/ have a outstanding court order on you etc etc.?
    Do you have any questions for me?

    Hope this helps.

    Good luck guys, QM.
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    (Original post by Stevo the Victorious)
    Also, BH's catalogue of RAF information is enough to fill a manual!! Fantastic stuff I'm off to measure myself against the Pilot criteria -- wish me luck!! :p:
    I have several binders, with about 500 pages of information about the RAF, the selection procedure, IOT, etc in each.

    I should sell them on ebay or something
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    I have seen that a few people have failed their filter interview AFCO so here is what I got if anyone wants any help.

    Tips
    1) Don't talk in monotone all the time try and express your personality a little bit. ( My officer said try and express a bit of light humor)
    2) Don't Fidget during the interview
    3) If you don't know an answer just say you don't know the answer. Don't try making something up because remember they know a lot more about the subject than you.
    4) be confident.
    5) Try sell yourself as much as you can, if you think its relevant then say it.

    My questions:



    What is your date of birth?
    Where were you born?
    Where do you live?
    How long have you lived there?
    What do you think of your current family circumstances?
    What school were you at when you were 11 years of age?
    What did you think of your GCSE Grades?
    What responsibilities did you have at school?
    What clubs did you join at school?
    What travel opportunity did you have with school?
    What sport clubs did you join at school?
    What opportunity did you have for Duke of Edinburgh?
    What if any, leadership roles did you have during this time?
    Have we missed any gaps in your school career?
    What travel have you done outside of school?
    What sport did you do outside of school?
    What responsibility did you have with that?
    What if any, leadership roles did you have during this time?
    Have we missed any gaps in your life outside of school?
    What is your employment history?
    What responsibility did you have?
    How do you feel about moving from your family?
    Are you in a relationship?
    How does she feel about your joining the RAF?
    How do your parents feel about joining the RAF?
    Why do you want to join the RAF?
    Why do you want to be a pilot?
    What is the role of a pilot?
    How long have you wanted to be a pilot?
    Why do you want to be a RAF Regiment Officer?
    What is the role of a RF Regiment Officer?
    If you get accepted into the RAF, where will your training start, and what is it?
    What is IOT’s aim?
    What will be your greatest challenge on IOT?
    If you are accepted as a pilot, where will your training start?
    Where is EFT done?
    How many hours is that?
    What do you want to fly?
    Where is that?
    How many hours?
    How long does the course take?
    This was repeated for Fixed Wing, and then Rotary, both in similar detail.
    What fixed wing aircraft do we operate?
    What fast jet aircraft do we operate?
    What rotary aircraft do we operate?
    Can you tell me where that’s based?
    What new aircraft are the RAF getting?
    Where does the RAF have permanent bases overseas?
    What deployments are we currently on?
    Why are we there?
    How do you feel about going to war?
    How do you feel about going into a battle situation?
    Given the fact you are potentially and probably going to drop a bomb, or be a part of someone’s death in some way, what is your attitude to warfare?
    What alliances are we part of?
    When was NATO formed?
    How many countries are currently in NATO?
    Why was NATO formed?


    And down to the standard questions.

    (don't lie in this bit)

    We realise that in this day and age many of are younger applicants may have had some experience with drugs. What if any contact have you had with drugs?
    Have you ever used drugs yourself?
    We operate a random drugs testing program in the RAF how do you feel about that?
    Do you feel that infringes on peoples privacy?
    What are your views on drug taking within the armed forces?
    What are you view on drug taking in the general population?
    Have you ever faced a criminal conviction/ had a/ have a outstanding court order on you etc etc.?
    Do you have any questions for me?
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    I am putting this up as a sticky because some people seem to be asking questions that are mentioned in here, and some people seem to be answering questions with bad information.

    This was located in the big sticky, but was obviously not easy for some people to find.

    Please search before asking a question!
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    When i try and click on the links in the first post, namely IOT and Pilot, i get a message stating i dont have the right privileges.

    Is there anyway of making these available?
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    Scroll down, the links have been messed up but the information is just further down the thread.
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    You probably won't be automatically stopped from joining, but you will have to answer some very tough questions, and you will have to answer them truthfully and convincingly. The issue is that if you have given in to peer pressure over drugs (which however common their use is amongst your peers, are still illegal) how easily will you give in to peer pressure to steal, lie, take drugs when in the Service, shoot innocent civilians etc?

    You will have to explain why you gave in then, but what you have learnt and why you won't be giving in to peer pressure like that again.

    You could think of not telling them of course, but you will be asked the question 'Have you ever taken drugs' quite directly, and if they ever found out that you lied, you would be out of the job faster than you can think!
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    What has my personal opinion got to do with it? You took the drugs, and you want to join the Armed Forces - you have to decide how you square that circle.
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    I really wouldn't tell them, isn't it the same as not saying you have hayfever? Or bringing up the fact that you sometimes wheeze after running??

    Why potentially ruin your application? It's sounds like it was a long time ago, in which case it dosn't have a bearing. If you're a habitual user, then by all means say something, and get off the stuff!
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    No, it is absolutely NOT the same as hay fever!

    The point about the hay fever debate is that hay fever seems to be being used as a selection filter, in that once you are in and have had some training money spent on you, they just give you a standard, over the counter medication (Clarytin as it happens) and tell you to carry on.

    Taking drugs is an activity which is a)illegal and b)incompatible with any form of military service for so many reasons it's impossible to list here.

    The concern is not about making a small lie of omission in the recruitment process, but that you are unsuited to the nature of military service because you are prepared to act illegally, you succumb to peer pressure, you take unnecessary medical risks with your body, and all the other various 'bad things' that go along with drug taking, including the potential for flash backs etc.

    This isn't a holier than thou, anti drugs crusade that the Armed Forces are on, its just that drug use is entirely incompatible with the high pressure, highly team reliant nature of military work. If you have even taken drugs once, the Armed Forces are going to want to know why, because that indicates you are unsuited to this type of work. It is up to you to justify why this was a one-off event and that you understand why it can't happen again.

    It has no similarity at all to avoiding a recruitment filter that has no impact on your future operational effectiveness.

    If you have taken drugs prior to joining the Services you should say so when asked, given that if you are found out to have lied about it at a later date you will have about 24 hours of your career left. It's not so much the lie that gets you kicked out, but the lie about drug use.
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    Taking drugs is an activity which is a)illegal and b)incompatible with any form of military service for so many reasons it's impossible to list here.



    I totally agree with you, drugs have no place in the military, however if this is something that has happend in this individuals past, and it was a limited affair, then surely its a different story? Most people are impressionable to some extent at a young age, but they change.

    Whilst at uni I have been in contact with lots of drugs, never used any, but nevertheless I have been sat in a room full of cannabis smokers, that dosn't make me a drug user.

    I was just trying to clarify that a simple brush with a drug environment has no bearing on your character in any way.

    Like you said before though, it is up to the individual
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    But you are talking about a completely different thing here. We can only control what our friends and associates do to a limited extent, so sitting in a room full of students who are taking drugs, and not taking them yourself - well kudos for not succumbing to peer pressure, not taking illegal drugs, and not putting your future career at risk.

    Taking drugs however, puts your right across the other side of the line in the eyes of the Armed Forces. Because drug use is so prevalent in modern society, it is no longer the automatic bar to recruitment that it was a few years ago. But you will have to have a well thought out account of why you have changed if you want to get yourself back on the 'right side' of that line.

    The Armed Forces hold themselves to a different set of standards to many in civilian life, not necessarily a better standard, just necessarily different. And drug taking, even if 'it was a limited affair' is taken very seriously for the reasons I have already mentioned. And 'most people are impressionable to some extent at a young age' - but the Recruiters in all 3 Services won't just assume that, and you will get a good grilling so that they are convinced that you have changed - it's too serious an issue to take on trust/assumption that people have changed.
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    hi blackhawk,

    You information is very useful, thank you. Don't suppose you have any information on a 'team medic' course at keogh barracks, i have been offered a place but dont know much about it.
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    (Original post by BlackHawk)
    GENERAL


    I'm interested in the RAF as an Officer, what happens now?

    1. Initial Talk at the AFCO (Armed Force Careers Office). You go to your AFCO and chat to the staff there. They'll give you the right brochures and ascertain whether you are qualified to apply for the given branches. You don't need to know anything other than the fact you are interested, they will give you as much information and advice as you want.

    2. Officer Presentation. You spend several hours at the AFCO and recieve information about the RAF, The RAF/Officer Way of Life, The Selction Process and Initial Officer Training. BE WARNED - many of the questions that you'll later get asked in interview can be answered from the information given during the presentation. TAKE LOTS OF NOTES. Especially about OASC and IOT (you need to know these in great detail). Finally, ask loads of questions...this isn't a time to be shy!

    3. AFCO Interview. The first stage of the selection process proper. The interview lasts between 30 min and an hour. They will ask about you family background, education (know your grades!), jobs you've done, hobbies, sports, when you've had reponsibility, why you want to join the RAF, why you want to be an Officer, why you want to do the branch/es you've chosen, what happens at OASC, what you do at IOT, what you do for your Branch training and what you will do as a Junior Officer in your branch. Sometimes they will ask about Military topics (overseas bases, deployments, aircraft etc) Top Tips....prepare really well, be very confident and SELL YOURSELF. If you pass this they will send you to OASC....

    4. OASC. (Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre) 4 days at RAF Cranwell. PART ONE is Aptitude Test, Medical and Interview (very hard interview). If you pass Part One, you will go on to complete PART TWO. Part Two is Discussion Exercise, Fitness Test, Individual Problem Solving, Group Problem Solving, Leaderless Practical Exercise, Leadership Exercise and a final Interview.

    So what should I do to prepare?

    A. SELL YOURSELF. Analysis the things you have done (work, hobbies etc) and use these to demonstrate the qualities that you think they are looking for (leadership, ruggedness, adventurous, active etc).

    B. Do your RESEARCH. They will expect you to have a detailed knowledge about current affairs, the military, the RAF, OASC, Officer Training, Specialist Training and the job itself. You MUST research these in detail. In interview, be concise and accurate. You CANNOT blag your way through selection...if you don't prepare you will look a fool say "I don't know" over and over again in an interview.

    C. Get FIT. You need to score EXCELLENT on the Bleep Test. This means that you need to go out running on a regular basis. Can't be bothered? Then you haven't got sufficient motivation to join.

    D. Be YOURSELF. Don't pretend to be something you are not. They'll spot it a mile away and you'll fail for it. It is a MYTH that you need a posh accent etc. If you have the qualities, you'll pass.

    E. Be CONFIDENT. If you pass, you'll be an Officer within 9 months. You'll be in charge of people (experienced, intelligent people). You need bags of confidence to pull that off.

    F. Practise your MATHS. The problem solving exercises and aptitude tests require a strong ability to metal arithmatic QUICKLY and IN YOUR HEAD.

    G. Develop your LEADERSHIP. Take any opportunity to put yourself into a position of responsibility, make decisions and motivate other people to achieve things.

    H. Decide WHY you want a Commission. It's not an easy job...why do you want to do it?

    I. PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE....and when you think you've done enough...prepare some more. DO NOT underestimate OASC!!!

    Are there any requirments?

    Yes, these can be found at http://www.rafcareers.co.uk

    What is IOT?
    Initial Officer Training is held at Cranwell for a period of 24 weeks. This is due to change to 30 weeks in November 2005 to 30 weeks in 10 week blocks.

    IOT is split into phases as well; Basic Phase is weeks 1-4, and is basic military skills. 5-11 is the Leadership Phase, ending in Field Leadership Camp of a week and a half. 13-18 form the Academic Phase, then 18-20 is Carousel, where the squadron splits into thirds and does adventurous training, a station visit, and a management simulator week. Then you do a week's military skills to prepare for the final exercise, which is a week away, called Exercise Peacekeeper. Then you have Champagne Monday (find out if you're gradding or being recoursed) followed by 2 weeks of drinking and practicing your drill. Then graduation and onto specialist trade training.

    What sort of things will I be asked at my interview?


    Here is a vague idea, questions will change from person to person and branch to branch, but they tend to follow a defined format.

    What is your date of birth?
    How old does that make you in years and months?
    Where do you live?
    How long have you been there?
    Did you have any particular problems growing up with your parents? (what he was getting at is emotional family stuff, they want to know you had a stable upbringing.)
    How do your parents feel about joining the RAF?
    Are you in a relationship?
    How does he/she feel about your joining the RAF?
    How many GCSE's did you get?
    How many A levels did you get?
    Looking back, how do you feel about the results you got?
    What opportunities at school (up to the age of 16) did you have for joining Air Cadets or Army Cadets or Sea cadets?
    What opportunities at school did you have for travel?
    What opportunties at school did you have to join clubs?
    What sports if any did you play with the school?
    What organisations or schemes (i.e. Duke of Edinburgh Award etc) were you involved with at school?
    What was involved with your D of E Award?
    What sports were you involved with outside of school?
    What else were you involved with out of school?
    What university did you attend?
    And what was the result of your degree?
    How do you feel about that result?

    **Same questions about sport and club involvment but now at university.

    What if any, leadership roles did you have during this time?
    What opportunities have you had to travel, either with you family or by yourself?
    What employment did you have whilst you were at school?
    At university?
    Between University and now?

    On to the second bloke.

    So why do you want to join the RAF?
    You've chosen Pilot, Intelligence and WSO, what are your reasons for chosing these branches in particular?
    So you've been accepted, how does your training start and where?
    And then?

    **he will pick on one or more of your branches ask you to run through the training including duration and places or pick one point out in detail**

    Given that i was going for pilot he asked;
    What Aircraft do the RAF operate?
    Where is that based? (picked couple at random)
    What new aircraft are the RAF getting?
    What new capabilities are the RAF getting? (he was talking about ASTOR (Airborne StandOff Radar for battle field surveillance)
    Where does the RAF have permanent bases overseas?
    If you were unsuccessful in your application, what do you plan to do?
    Having put on a uniform, you are now a target. How do you feel about that?
    Give me some headlines that have grabbed your attention from around the world? (have enough to reel off at him till he stops you because they will wait to see when you stop and thus if you have just learnt a few for this occasion)

    **he will go into detail about one or more of these, i had Isreal and the failed road map to peace**

    When was NATO formed?
    Do you know how many countries are currently in NATO?
    So what would be your 'road map to peace'?
    What roll if any do you think NATO plays or should play in the world since the fall of the Soviet Union?
    Give me some news stories that have struck you recently at home? (again, be able to reel off a **** load, make him stop you. Go for a wide range of topics but be able to back them up with some understanding just the same as world topics)

    Then the 'Standard' questions (he may pretend to read them off a card) dont let you guard down, these count too.


    If you failed in gaining a commission, would you be interested in a NCO position?
    We realise that in this day and age many of are younger applicants may have had some experience with drugs. What if any contact have you had with drugs?
    Have you ever used drugs yourself?
    We operate a random drugs testing program in the RAF how do you feel about that?
    Do you feel that infringes on peoples privacy?
    What are your veiws on drug taking within the armed forces?
    What are you view on drug taking in the general population?
    Have you ever faced a criminal conviction/ had a/ have a outstanding court order on you etc etc.?
    Was this the first formal interview or the one at OASC? As I was told by the AFCO that we wouldn't get asked about current affairs until OASC, but the rest of the questions sound like the 1st interview...
    Thanks
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    i wasn't asked about current affairs at the filter interview but it would be a good idea to be prepared to answer in the case it comes up. It doesnt hurt to keep up with current affairs anyways
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    And another question, where can I find info on Intelligence officer training?
 
 
 
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