Bunker6685
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From 1st April 2018, 100 years after the Royal Air Force was formed, the new Air Operations branch will be formed. It will merge three existing Officer branches in to one; Aerospace Battle Managers (ABM), Air Traffic Controllers and Flight Operations Officers.

The aim of this merger is to create one single operations force within the RAF. it is designed to make manning as efficient as possible and to exploit synergies that currently exist between all three branches. It will give personnel greater variety in the types of postings and locations they can get.

A lot of detail is still work in progress so expect Phase 2 training locations to vary over the next few months as changes to the new branch take place.

How does this new Branch work?

The Air Operations branch is split in to two streams; Air Ops (Control) and Air Ops (Systems)

Air Ops (Control) brings together Air Traffic Controllers and Weapon Controllers (ABM). They will be trained up to primarily control aircraft in the sky.

Within Air Ops (Control) there are three specializations; Area Radar, Airfield Radar and Weapons Control.

https://www.raf.mod.uk/recruitment/r...ations-control

Air Ops (Systems) brings together Surveillance Officers (ABM), Space (ABM) and Flight Operations Officers. They will become Operations Officers.

Within Air Ops (Systems) there are three specializations; Surveillance, Space and Airfield Operations.

https://www.raf.mod.uk/recruitment/r...ations-systems

Selection, Phase 1 and Phase 2 Training

At the AFCO you will choose to apply for either Air Ops (Control) or Air Ops (Systems). Both are Officer roles so you will be required to complete OASC. Prior to OASC, you will be required to under go aptitude testing (CBAT) at RAF Cranwell for Air Ops (Control). The surveillance stream within Air Ops (Systems) is also CBAT tested at a later date.

If successful you will complete 24 weeks of Initial Officer Training at RAF Cranwell then start Phase 1 training.

Regardless of which stream you are entering you will complete a Common Air Operations Module (COAM) at RAF Shawbury. You will then complete specific stream training; Common Control Module for Air Ops (Control) and Common Systems Module for Air Ops (Systems) both of which are at RAF Shawbury.

You will then start training in one of the three specializations within your stream at either RAF Shawbury, RAF Boulmer or Swanwick. The specialization you initially get trained in will be determined by your preference and service need.

You will be able to easily switch between specializations but you will have to apply for a transfer if you wish to take up a posting in another stream. For example, an Air Ops (Systems) Surveillance Officer will be able to take up a posting within Space, but will need to apply for re-selection to move over to a Air Ops (Control) specialisation.

Air Ops (Control) and Air Ops (Systems) broken out

I have only given a few examples of postings available with each specialization to give an idea of what they are all about. There are hundreds of jobs open for Air Operations Officers to get involved with.

Air Ops (Control) Postings

Area Radar -
Area Controller at Swanwick. You will control military aircraft all over the UK whilst they complete their taskings or on transits.

Airfield Radar -
Air Traffic Controller at any RAF Airfield in the UK or oversees. Controlling aircraft on and around the Airfield.

Weapons Control -
Weapons Controller at Control and Reporting Centre Boulmer or No.1 Air Control Centre at RAF Scampton. Direct military aircraft in a tactical environment. Giving pilots the tactical picture and effecting battle management to achieve the mission.

Air Ops (Systems) Postings

Surveillance Officer -
Identification Officer. Creating the Recognized Air Picture in a Control and Reporting Centre. Using state of the art radar and surveillance systems to identify aircraft, conduct threat assessment on unknown contacts and track potential hostile activity.

Space -
Space Duty Officer. Monitoring space activity by tracking everything from satellites to space debris, using this information to support friendly forces.

Airfield Operations -
Squadron Operations Officers. Working on a typhoon squadron, managing daily flying programmes, airfield operations and deployment plans.

If you have any questions please post them below.
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WCFLK
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Having already applied for SNCO Weapons Controller, and due to start basic in June, there were rumours that we'd have to go to Shawbury when I was at Boulmer in February for my RJP. Do you know at all if that because I applied before the merging if I will have to go to Shawbury or follow the previous training course??
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Bunker6685
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(Original post by RossPFLK)
Having already applied for SNCO Weapons Controller, and due to start basic in June, there were rumours that we'd have to go to Shawbury when I was at Boulmer in February for my RJP. Do you know at all if that because I applied before the merging if I will have to go to Shawbury or follow the previous training course??
The transition to the new branch will still take a few months.

As it stands at the moment you will do a Common Control Module as RAF Shawbury before going to RAF Boulmer to complete the Weapons Control Course.

Wait out for change though.
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WCFLK
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So the 6 week foundation course at Boulmer is no more?

I'm just trying to piece everything together as was hoping to move family after completing NCAITC as our lease is up at the end of January.
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anthonysjb
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(Original post by RossPFLK)
So the 6 week foundation course at Boulmer is no more?

I'm just trying to piece everything together as was hoping to move family after completing NCAITC as our lease is up at the end of January.
I'm also curious to know this. I've got OASC 22nd April, hoping for August IOT start date, which will mean specialist training commencing in the new year most probably.

Do you know of how prospective "AOB" officers already in the joining process will be allocated? I'm hoping that as I've passed CBAT for ATC and ABM (the more aptitude dependent branches) I'll get pushed more that way, hope so anyway as WC is my dream.

Appreciate the post, if any more concrete timeframe information it will be greatly appreciated! Cheers
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Bunker6685
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(Original post by anthonysjb)
I'm also curious to know this. I've got OASC 22nd April, hoping for August IOT start date, which will mean specialist training commencing in the new year most probably.

Do you know of how prospective "AOB" officers already in the joining process will be allocated? I'm hoping that as I've passed CBAT for ATC and ABM (the more aptitude dependent branches) I'll get pushed more that way, hope so anyway as WC is my dream.

Appreciate the post, if any more concrete timeframe information it will be greatly appreciated! Cheers
What have you applied for?

If you have applied for ATC you will be moved across to Air Ops (Control). If you have applied for Flight Ops you will be moved across to Air Ops (Systems).

If you have applied for ABM. OASC will make a decision to stream you Control or Systems. It's highly likely that you will be streamed Control if you have shown the aptitude for it.
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Bunker6685
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(Original post by RossPFLK)
So the 6 week foundation course at Boulmer is no more?

I'm just trying to piece everything together as was hoping to move family after completing NCAITC as our lease is up at the end of January.
As applicants come though under the new Branch it is likely the 6 week foundation course at Boulmer will stop as it will not longer be required to stream ABMs to Weapons Control or Surveillance.

The route for Weapons Controllers will be -

Common Air Operations Module at RAF Shawbury
Common Control Module at RAF Shawbury
Weapons Control Course at RAF Boulmer

The aim is to have the Defense School of Airspace Control (DSAC) to be based at RAF Shawbury and to deliver most of the training.
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anthonysjb
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(Original post by Bunker6685)
What have you applied for?

If you have applied for ATC you will be moved across to Air Ops (Control). If you have applied for Flight Ops you will be moved across to Air Ops (Systems).

If you have applied for ABM. OASC will make a decision to stream you Control or Systems. It's highly likely that you will be streamed Control if you have shown the aptitude for it.
I've applied for ABM. Ok great, not to discredit the Systems streams but Weapons Control is where I want to be ideally after my visit to Boulmer! Thanks for your reply and information that isn't available elsewhere it appears.
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Bunker6685
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(Original post by anthonysjb)
I've applied for ABM. Ok great, not to discredit the Systems streams but Weapons Control is where I want to be ideally after my visit to Boulmer! Thanks for your reply and information that isn't available elsewhere it appears.
Both Weapons Control and Surveillance work extremely close within a Control and Reporting Centre. Even after the branch merger, Weapon Controllers and Surveillance will still be responsible for Aerospace Battle Management.

In my opinion it is likely they will give you a shot at WC if you have the aptitude for it.
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WCFLK
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Sorry to keep going on about this, but I'm struggling to comprehend this some what.

The role of SNCO WC, as a direct entrant, is relatively new. So new that the first direct entrants only started their basic training last week (I know this due to being on my RJP with one of them). I believe I am in the potential second wave.

Surely it will be the next lot of applicants for NCC that will be following the new training path until they have cleared the previous applicants under the prior job titles? I'm also presuming that the transfer of training will not happen overnight and will be more gradual?
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Bunker6685
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(Original post by RossPFLK)
Sorry to keep going on about this, but I'm struggling to comprehend this some what.

The role of SNCO WC, as a direct entrant, is relatively new. So new that the first direct entrants only started their basic training last week (I know this due to being on my RJP with one of them). I believe I am in the potential second wave.

Surely it will be the next lot of applicants for NCC that will be following the new training path until they have cleared the previous applicants under the prior job titles? I'm also presuming that the transfer of training will not happen overnight and will be more gradual?
I am not entirely sure how it will work for SNCO direct entrants at the moment.

For Officer intakes in to the new branch expect there to be a gradual change over to the new training system over the next few months.
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anthonysjb
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(Original post by Bunker6685)
Both Weapons Control and Surveillance work extremely close within a Control and Reporting Centre. Even after the branch merger, Weapon Controllers and Surveillance will still be responsible for Aerospace Battle Management.

In my opinion it is likely they will give you a shot at WC if you have the aptitude for it.
I understand that, however if filtered into Systems at OASC whilst I will be able to be part of Aerospace Battle Management under Surveillance, the chance to be a Weapons Controllers basically gone, whereas when just applying as an ABM that was decided at ABMSC.

Anyway, as you said it makes sense I'll get put into Control and therefore WC hopefully, especially given the failure to meet recruitment targets for the aptitude based roles currently.

Thanks for the information, hopefully will impress the officers in my OASC interview with this knowledge of the changes to specialist training structure too.
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anthonysjb
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Bunker6685 or anyone else similarly informed, are you familiar with the differences between Non Commissioned Controller and the role a Weapons Controller Officer in Air Ops (Control) would have? Looks to be very similar. Thanks

I've also emailed my AFCO asking if I need to contact Cranwell in order to indicate a preference for Control, will pass on what they say to anyone interested.
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Bunker6685
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(Original post by anthonysjb)
Bunker6685 or anyone else similarly informed, are you familiar with the differences between Non Commissioned Controller and the role a Weapons Controller Officer in Air Ops (Control) would have? Looks to be very similar. Thanks

I've also emailed my AFCO asking if I need to contact Cranwell in order to indicate a preference for Control, will pass on what they say to anyone interested.
A similar question is to ask what is the difference between an Airman and Officer?

For control - Initially for Officer Weapons Controllers and SNCO Weapons Controllers there is not a lot of different. You will do the same Phase 2 course then work in a CRC as Weapons Controllers. Working towards gaining Combat Ready Status and completing oversees detachments.

The difference comes in after 3+ years. Officer Weapons Controllers move on to be Fighter Allocators, in charge of several Weapon Controllers at a time. Officers will also pick up far more managerial and command tasks compared to SNCOs. Eventually Officers will move in to staff roles and will spend less time controlling.

For SNCOs you are an operator your entire career. As you develop you will get leadership duties such as becoming Flight SNCOs. You do have an opportunity to become a Fighter Allocator but this will be later on in your career compared with the Officer route.
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anthonysjb
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(Original post by Bunker6685)
A similar question is to ask what is the difference between an Airman and Officer?

For control - Initially for Officer Weapons Controllers and SNCO Weapons Controllers there is not a lot of different. You will do the same Phase 2 course then work in a CRC as Weapons Controllers. Working towards gaining Combat Ready Status and completing oversees detachments.

The difference comes in after 3+ years. Officer Weapons Controllers move on to be Fighter Allocators, in charge of several Weapon Controllers at a time. Officers will also pick up far more managerial and command tasks compared to SNCOs. Eventually Officers will move in to staff roles and will spend less time controlling.

For SNCOs you are an operator your entire career. As you develop you will get leadership duties such as becoming Flight SNCOs. You do have an opportunity to become a Fighter Allocator but this will be later on in your career compared with the Officer route.
Thanks for the informative reply, guess I hadn't looked too much into the difference. Much appreciated.

AFCO advised that no action needed on my part and I will most likely be streamed Control if successful.
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Cblack615
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Hi there, just wanting to know if anyone has got any info on NCC Trade Specific Training? Ie a breakdown of what goes on etc? Thanks
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WCFLK
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(Original post by Cblack615)
Hi there, just wanting to know if anyone has got any info on NCC Trade Specific Training? Ie a breakdown of what goes on etc? Thanks
Not 100% sure on the whole lot, but what I do know is the common control module at Shawbury is for 4 weeks, then you'll end up being streamed for weapons control or atc. Atc course is approx 7 months. Weapons controller course was being done at boulmer, but a large part of it (if not all) has moved to Shawbury. Course is also around 7 months long. Pm me if you like
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Cblack615
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(Original post by WCFLK)
Not 100% sure on the whole lot, but what I do know is the common control module at Shawbury is for 4 weeks, then you'll end up being streamed for weapons control or atc. Atc course is approx 7 months. Weapons controller course was being done at boulmer, but a large part of it (if not all) has moved to Shawbury. Course is also around 7 months long. Pm me if you like
Thank you very much for your fast response, only new to this so how do I pm you?
Cheers
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WCFLK
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Click on my username - - - > send message
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Schleigg
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Wait so Flight Ops is a non-aptitude branch but the ATC / ABM are aptitude branches. So does this mean that Flight Ops suddenly become an apititude branch since it's been merged with the others?

Does this mean that the Flt Ops branch is going to end up with all the choppped ATCs/FCs?
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