mlittle
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Due to failing my CBAT for a pilot however passing for all the other branches, I am finding out about all the other aircrew alternatives which I could switch my application to. The roll which immediately attracts me is WSO, however I have noticed that on the RAF website there is no information under the 'In the RAF' section like there are for other roles such as pilot ad WSOp. Before I call my AFCO I was wondering if anyone had a little more insight into the role than what is on offer on the RAF recruitment website?
Thank you in advance.
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jordan0622
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I went for WSOp s the operator not officer (no a-levels). It's effectively where you are in control of whichever craft you are streamed to in training. The pilot may fly the aircraft however a WSOp is there to make sure everything is on properly, you look after any passengers, and then worst comes to worst you'll be the one sat at the back of the craft shooting to protect your craft. You go in as non-commissioned. However, since I presume you have A-levels, you'll be able to take that commission early on or even go straight to the officer role. You have 10 week basic training and then 11 week officer training at Cranwell. After that depending on how they feel your training has gone you'll get streamed either rotary, fixed crew, or sensory. Under each of these are different aircrafts. Also, WSOp is a highly recruited job role at the moment. Good luck with the rest of your application and hope you end up where you want. Another thing to note, your local AFCO want to make sure you end up in the right role where your happy. I found the guys at OASC are very pushy to the roles they need people in to. Do the research before any agreements to make sure you're happy.
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mlittle
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(Original post by jordan0622)
I went for WSOp s the operator not officer (no a-levels). It's effectively where you are in control of whichever craft you are streamed to in training. The pilot may fly the aircraft however a WSOp is there to make sure everything is on properly, you look after any passengers, and then worst comes to worst you'll be the one sat at the back of the craft shooting to protect your craft. You go in as non-commissioned. However, since I presume you have A-levels, you'll be able to take that commission early on or even go straight to the officer role. You have 10 week basic training and then 11 week officer training at Cranwell. After that depending on how they feel your training has gone you'll get streamed either rotary, fixed crew, or sensory. Under each of these are different aircrafts. Also, WSOp is a highly recruited job role at the moment. Good luck with the rest of your application and hope you end up where you want. Another thing to note, your local AFCO want to make sure you end up in the right role where your happy. I found the guys at OASC are very pushy to the roles they need people in to. Do the research before any agreements to make sure you're happy.
Thank you jordan! Am thinking of ringing up to see if I can get onto a base to have a chat with a WSO ect before I do anything... Hopefully!

On the RAF Recruitment website there seems to be a vast amount of similarities between the two roles, revolving around manning the weapons if need be and the sensors.

Would my understanding be correct if I were to say that, from the descriptions given on the website, fundamentally the differences between the roles are the commissioned/non-commissioned statuses? With the WSO learning more basic flight training than a WSOp? And would and the WSOps take on more of a labourous (maybe not the best word) role? Also that in some situations a single WSO may find themselves managing a team of WSOps?
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jordan0622
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(Original post by mlittle)
Thank you jordan! Am thinking of ringing up to see if I can get onto a base to have a chat with a WSO ect before I do anything... Hopefully!

On the RAF Recruitment website there seems to be a vast amount of similarities between the two roles, revolving around manning the weapons if need be and the sensors.

Would my understanding be correct if I were to say that, from the descriptions given on the website, fundamentally the differences between the roles are the commissioned/non-commissioned statuses? With the WSO learning more basic flight training than a WSOp? And would and the WSOps take on more of a labourous (maybe not the best word) role? Also that in some situations a single WSO may find themselves managing a team of WSOps?
That would be a great idea, and the AFCO should organise a visit for you. I believe so, as far as i'm aware the roles are very much similar with one being more in charge than the other. I think the WSO would still earn the same if not maybe more as they are the ones in charge essentially.
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p3pp3r
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Not to shoot down what was said before but that is not entirely correct. Like yourself I was in it for pilot but didn't make the cut, however, moved my application to Weapon Systems Officer. So you go through Cranwell as per usual with any commissioned role and then you do your branch training for WSO. Because of how new the Branch is (Effectively a redesigned Navigator role 'repurposed' for the modern day RAF) Information is limited and training is still fairly young - or at least that is what I am lead to believe. Branch Training is Conducted at RAFC Cranwell where you do extra studies to further platform knowledge and learn basics of maps such as navigation, flight plans etc and much like pilots you will do the aeromedical course since you are also aircrew. You will then go to RNAS Culdrose (Near Cornwall) to do the Navy Observer Course on the Avenger Aircraft. Then back to RAFC Cranwell for consolidation training and streaming. Unlike the Non Commissioned Aircrew WSOp's you as a WSO will only be able to Stream to all ISTAR assets since there are no two seater fast jets. This includes prospects of working with Reaper and the future Protector platform... The two main postings you will likely to see will either be RAF Waddington for E-3D, Shadow R1, Rivet Joint, Sentinel and Reaper. The second would be RAF Lossiemouth which will be recieving the new P8 maritime patrol aircraft. All Aircraft platforms are versatile which would undoubtedly see you travel frequently to many places with the option of converting to different platforms as you progress in your career. On Day to Day jobs you will pretty much be managing the aircraft capabilities and managing the WSOp's who operate the weapons/sensors so knowing what they do for their job would be very beneficial to understand. You will execute the tasks and be the one deciding on how it will be carried out.Hope this clears things up a bit more, talk to your AFCO they should be able to arrange meetings for Q
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Ikaruss
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It's quite amusing reading posts which show a confused understanding of the topic title. Probably not the posters fault as there is little official background guidance. I have some experience of the WSOp role and know plenty of WSOs, who would be tickled to know that their branch is so new (2003). I have previously written screeds about both in related threads if you care to search. I'm not writing screeds again.
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