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    (Original post by Wzz)
    I had no intention of anything like that, believe me.
    Sorry, Wzz, I didn't mean to imply you were - it was a tongue in cheek reference to some of the droning that sometimes goes on over there. My apologies!

    (Original post by Wzz)
    If the E3 job needs a financial incentive to encourage people to do it, then fair enough; but that opens a whole new can of worms! Maybe duff jobs like IOT Flt Cdr should attract more money too?
    (Original post by ProStacker)
    It is only that because of the people we send there - often those who need flight commandering experience. We should look to Sandhurst who send there top troopies to teach. If we keep using IOT as a dumping / practice ground, it will ever be thus.
    I am in agreement with PS on this one, but would like to avoid thread drift ! Frankly, that is one for PPRUNE.

    (Original post by Owen27)
    Any more news on Project Taranis yet? How closely would ABM's be working with them?
    Absolutely no idea! Given that it's being produced by BAe it may be some time before anything comes of it. As I understand from a, brief, internet search, it is little more than a technology demonstrator in any case and has never been scoped for entry into the RAF. See this article: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11...tealth_bomber/ It is somewhat biased, but then, this is the man that wrote 'Lions, Donkeys and Dinosaurs' and he has a bit of a chip/agenda...

    Nobody's asked about my suntanned colleagues (No 1 ACC) yet. Any takers?
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    The Alnwick Caravanning Club are too special to mention - I've only ever wanted to throttle them upon meeting.
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    Hi Vizzini, I just wanted to say thanks for a brilliant thread. I am currently in the process of applying for ABM and have found it a great insight into the branch.

    I would actually like to ask a few questions about No 1 ACC if I may.

    At what stage of your career are you eligible to apply to serve with No 1 ACC?

    Also, do you have any information of what the selection and training process entails?

    Many thanks in advance.
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    Hi Vizzini,

    First off, thanks for a cracking thread! It's certainly given me a lot to think about in terms of branch choices...

    Something I was curious about: I've heard that there are lots of opportunities for exchange postings within the branch. For example I've heard you can do exchange tours with the RN (though presumably this would only be applicable to WCs?) as well as all sorts of other countries around the world. Would you be able to elaborate on this - what sort of countries would you be going to, and would the role be pretty much the same as if you were in the UK?

    Cheers
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    I've just got back from a RJP (realistic job preview) visit at Boulmer for ABM so if anyone has got any questions on that subject feel free to ask.

    Incidentally if you are interested in ABM I really recommend asking your AFCO about going on one of these, it was really good to talk to ABMs face to face and to see the job being done. It was also really good fun and great to meet up with people at a similar stage in the applications process. Plus the mess food at Boulmer is great.
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    First post, but this seems a good place to start. In the absence of Vizzini and as a fellow FC, although currently on No 1 ACC (throttle?:p: ), I’ll try to answer some of the questions in the last few posts.

    To be posted to 1 ACC you need to be Combat Ready (CR) in your specialisation. Once you gain your initial qualification from the SABM you will complete a tour at one of the CRC’s, during which time you will complete your CR training. As a result you will be able to be posted to 1 ACC for your second tour. There is no selection as such and you apply as you would for any other posting, on your annual report and through discussion with the desk officer. There is little additional training on joining 1 ACC, mostly just conversion to new equipment. That said, at the moment quite a lot of people are deploying to Afghanistan as reinforcement personnel for 1 ACC at some point in their first tour.

    Not too sure about exchange postings, however there are two slots with the RN for controllers, while Surveillance has some posts with the US space command for those who have previously worked at Fylingdales. There are chances of going to work in NATO jobs, either in other countries CRC or CAOC, which would normally mean you are in a similar role to that you would be doing in the UK. Although not strictly exchanges, there are quite a few jobs working with the Army in the Air land Integration world, although they tend to be for more experienced operators.

    Ah yes, good old RJPs, always fun to be in the bar for those!
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    (Original post by Pending)
    First post, but this seems a good place to start. In the absence of Vizzini and as a fellow FC, although currently on No 1 ACC (throttle?:p: ), I’ll try to answer some of the questions in the last few posts.

    To be posted to 1 ACC you need to be Combat Ready (CR) in your specialisation. Once you gain your initial qualification from the SABM you will complete a tour at one of the CRC’s, during which time you will complete your CR training. As a result you will be able to be posted to 1 ACC for your second tour. There is no selection as such and you apply as you would for any other posting, on your annual report and through discussion with the desk officer. There is little additional training on joining 1 ACC, mostly just conversion to new equipment. That said, at the moment quite a lot of people are deploying to Afghanistan as reinforcement personnel for 1 ACC at some point in their first tour.

    Not too sure about exchange postings, however there are two slots with the RN for controllers, while Surveillance has some posts with the US space command for those who have previously worked at Fylingdales. There are chances of going to work in NATO jobs, either in other countries CRC or CAOC, which would normally mean you are in a similar role to that you would be doing in the UK. Although not strictly exchanges, there are quite a few jobs working with the Army in the Air land Integration world, although they tend to be for more experienced operators.

    Ah yes, good old RJPs, always fun to be in the bar for those!


    sounds really good! however got a couple of more simple questions, aimed at abm and comissions in general...

    what are the Terms and Conditions of a permanant comission? and also how long is the training at SABM? and how is it comprised?

    thanks in advance
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    (Original post by cyprusbrit-)
    what are the Terms and Conditions of a permanent comission?
    It's commission; use your spell checker, it's underlined in red on my screen!

    In broad terms, it's service until your 40th birthday, or you've completed 18 years, whichever comes last. There are options to leave formally if you're a graduate after a certain amount of time (used to be 12 years of service), and the opportunity's there to apply for a premature release if you want to leave at any time.
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    (Original post by Pending)
    First post, but this seems a good place to start. In the absence of Vizzini and as a fellow FC, although currently on No 1 ACC (throttle? ), I’ll try to answer some of the questions in the last few posts.
    Thanks for picking that up Pending, I've been quite busy this last week - teaching the CR Course ironically! You forgot to mention that 1 ACC is a fully formed unit...


    (Original post by cyprusbrit-)
    sounds really good! however got a couple of more simple questions, aimed at abm and comissions in general...

    what are the Terms and Conditions of a permanant comission? and also how long is the training at SABM? and how is it comprised?

    thanks in advance
    cyprusbrit,

    Your AFCO would be able to give you accurate info and a quick search of this forum should answer your question on Terms of Reference for Commissions. ABMs don't receive any special treatment. However, as with all Commissions, yours is not confirmed until you complete the training at the SABM. Bear in mind that, despite the rumour, hearsay and bluster out there, our current overall pass rate is 80%. Thought I'd mentioned training, but I've checked and clearly haven't, so here you go.

    If you are selected at ABMFC, which is discussed in an earlier post, you will be streamed either Surveillance, Weapons or Space. Training predominantly takes place at Boulmer, although some students are detached to Scampton, and is broken out thus:

    Surveillance

    If streamed into the Surveillance sub-specialisation you will spend 20 weeks at the SABM learning how to compile the RAP. This is a mix of in-classroom theory and sim and live training in the CRCs at Boulmer and Scampton. The theory element is 3 weeks of learning spread across the course, the simulator (sim) and live takes up the remainder. This is an approximate / average timescale for the sim/live training. The average time to pass is 111 hours of sim and live console time. Some people are faster, some take a bit longer. Some people (including me when I first started!) find it a bit mind blowing to be 'training' on the live picture that is being used for the air defence of the UK. You are fully supported by an instructor, at your shoulder, at all times. Essentially, you are granted authority to work on the basis of your instructor's qualification. If you make a mistake and they don't correct it, they'll lose their operational endorsement and have to undergo refresher training, so it's in their best interests to train you correctly and support your learning! When I was instructing, I used to allow students to dig themselves far enough into a hole to bring out a training point, but no further - mistakes are allowed, and important - then I would explain how to correct matters, but let them sort out their mess!

    Weapons

    As a WC you will spend 25 weeks at the SABM learning to control military aircraft. The theory component is again 3 weeks, following which you'll move to the 6-week Flight Safety module (FSM), which is broadly similar to Area ATC, in that you learn to apply the various Air Traffic Services in a non-tactical (ie non-combat) scenario. Once you've completed the FSM, you'll go onto the 6-week Tactical Control Module, where you learn how to take-over an aircraft from ATC, progress it through a transit, applying the relevant ATC services, and then engage in Air-to-Air combat, before transiting back to the home base and handing over to ATC, all the while maintaining the correct ATC services and flight safety. These phases are mostly completed on sim, although you may have a couple of live sorties only in the Tactical Control Module. If you pass both these phases, you progress to the 10-week live consolidation phase, where you are talking to actual pilots. Clearly, there are major flight safety criteria to be met - you're dealing with actual warm pink bodies flying toward one another at high speed, so you won't progress to live until your instructors are sure you're ready. Again, you'll always have an instructor with you during your sessions to make sure you're acting safely. There may also be the opportunity for an Air Experience Flight in a Hawk jet trainer aircraft to get a feel for what you're putting the aircrew through!

    Space

    As a space operator, you will study the two-week Space Operations Foundation Course, followed by either the 8-week Ballistic Missile Defence and Space Surveillance Course at RAF Fylingdales in North Yorkshire, or alternatively the 4-week Space Operations Command Course at RAF High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire.

    Additional Training

    If at any stage of your training there are questions over your readiness to progress you'll be given consolidation training to get you up to the standard. Remember, 80% pass rate! We really need the people, so we're not actively looking to chop people, despite past perceptions.

    Qualification

    Once you've reached an appropriate level of competence, you'll be put forward for your 'checks'. This is a formal assessment of you working on console. The person at your shoulder this time will be a qualified assessor - they must be Combat Ready in your role in order to assess you - and you will not have any intervention or instructor support. Essentially, you're on your own. The assessor will not have been involved in your training at any stage, so they see you with completely fresh eyes and they will decide whether you are qualified to do the job safely and in accordance with all the rules and regs. If they are happy with your console sessions, you then take a verbal Test of Knowledge (TOK). The TOK is a structured quiz of the theory you've been taught - it's in a format based on your day-to-day work, so it's not just random questions - like it used to be! The pass mark, as with most TOKs in the RAF is 80%, yes 80%. If successful across the whole of the check you're awarded your Certificate of Qualification (CQ) and have your Commission confirmed. If you fail the TOK, you fail the check... no-one's ever failed a CQ TOK! Some time post-CQ you'll begin your CR training, as Pending mentioned, ideally, by attending the CR course which I mentioned above.
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    (Original post by Wzz)
    In broad terms, it's service until your 40th birthday, or you've completed 18 years, whichever comes last. There are options to leave formally if you're a graduate after a certain amount of time (used to be 12 years of service), and the opportunity's there to apply for a premature release if you want to leave at any time.
    Thanks Wzz,

    You just snuck in there while I was writing my essay!

    (Original post by Nefarious)
    I've just got back from a RJP (realistic job preview) visit at Boulmer for ABM so if anyone has got any questions on that subject feel free to ask.
    Thanks also, Nefarious,

    As you say a Realistic job Preview is probably the best way you can find out about being an ABM. They're generally great fun as we aim to give you a balanced experience of the whole work/life split. It is a cliche, but being in the RAF is all about a lifestyle, not just a career. There, I've said it...

    Basically, an RJP is a 2-night/3-day visit to Boulmer, which you can request through your AFCO, if you're interested in ABM. I highly recommend you do!

    You'll travel up, or down, to Boulmer on the first day to be met at the local rail station by our RJP Hosting Officer. He'll get you checked into the Officers' Mess and then you'll have dinner with him (the HO is a he, currently), the other candidates and you'll also have an officer from a nominated AFCO on hand. They are there to answer any general career, RAF, IOT-related questions. We'll cover the ABM side.

    After dinner, there'll be a Meet and Greet in the bar. This is a mildly (very mildly!) formal occasion to experience Mess life and to meet your fellow candidates and, most importantly, the various officers here. I'd like to suggest in the nicest way possible that, if you come on an RJP, you 'put yourself about a bit' during the 2 evenings. Just so we're clear, I only mean that you should make the effort to talk to as many of the different officers in the bar as possible! We all have different experiences of the ABM life, so the 2 evenings in the bar are the best opportunities to ask anything you like about the lifestyle. You'll get all the formal briefings and tours of the SABM and CRC on the second day to cover the work and role aspects, but the evenings are when you can really find out the nitty gritty of it all - and we're all there to talk to you about the life! Sorry if that sounds preachy, that's not the idea ! During the last RJP that was in - the one Nefarious was on - we had a pub quiz in the bar, which was nice. As he says, if you have any more detailed questions about the RJP, ask him in here - that way everyone gets to know.
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    Hi everyone,

    I just want to drop a quick question as this seems like the place to do it!

    Quickly, a little bit about myself - I am 20 (going 21 in about 3 weeks) I have just left Northumbria Police where I was a constable (its a long story) and my qualifications include 5+ GCSEs A-C and 3 A Levels (average...ish)

    I really want to ultimatly become an Aerospace Battle Manager however I'm not sure which route would give me the best chance.

    I am wondering if I was to join the RAF as an enlisted Aerospace Systems operator (which I have been led to believe is the junior version of the battle manager, please correct me if I am mistaken) would I be able to get a few years experience in the field under my belt and then later apply for my commission and hopefully be successful or will opting to go the NCO route count against me if I were to later attempt my commission. Ie - they would ask why I didn't want to become an officer in the first place.

    My reason for considering this route is a) I dont believe my leadership skills are quite up to scratch yet and b) I want to be an officer, but I also want to be the best officer I can and I hope that spending a few years getting to know all the equipment and the ins and outs of the trade would help be a much more confident leader from the start.

    I hope this all makes sense, I will clarify anything if need be! But in short I guess I'm asking if I chose to first be an NCO will they be more reluctant to accept me as an officer later when I went for selection.

    Thanks for your time!

    Mark
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    If joining the ranks and then later getting a commission was a reliable and efficient way of progressing in a career then it would be a standard entry option. It isn't.

    The RAF tries to recruit the number of people it wants to the jobs it wants at the level it wants. So trying to change that planning at a later date by shifting between the systems is always going to be more difficult. It is possible to get a commission from the ranks, but this is a process for people that are late developers rather than people that are just indecisive about their potential at the point of entry.

    You are almost certainly better off preparing thoroughly for the highest entry point you have available, which with your qualifications would be officer entry. See how that goes and then consider your options again if needs be.
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    (Original post by Fumbles88)
    My reason for considering this route is a) I dont believe my leadership skills are quite up to scratch yet and b) I want to be an officer

    a) they don't look for fully developed leaders, they look for leadership potential. Once they have begun developing your potential, they won't allow you 'out' to do a real job until you meet their requirements. So that's a bit of a duff excuse.

    b) if you want to be an Officer, you most likely will not be happy as an airman, will lose interest in the job and will want to leave, not move up through the ranks.
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    Cheers for the advice guys I'll go the officer route and see how it pans out then!

    Cheers for your time
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    This has certainly been a very good read and an excellent thread!!

    Though I have nothing to add, I liked reading more about an ABM, so Vizzini, pos rep coming your way!

    (It's the best way to say thanks on here I guess...and it's free!)
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    (Original post by Aaaaaaaargh!)
    This has certainly been a very good read and an excellent thread!!

    Though I have nothing to add, I liked reading more about an ABM, so Vizzini, pos rep coming your way!

    (It's the best way to say thanks on here I guess...and it's free!)
    Thank you! (Thanks for the BUMP as well!)

    Vizzini
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    I've just come from a meeting and now have an update on the future career streams for ABMs and it's all about Space!

    What used to happen was that at the ABMFC you could be selected Weapons or Surveillance and if you didn't have the aptitude for either, you'd return the Cranwell for re-selection to another Branch. If you were selected for Surveillance, you would then have the opportunity to apply for the Space stream during your first tour and move across for your second tour onwards.

    Well, the selection process will be changing, soon. The ABM Foundation Course (ABMFC) will be changing to the ABM Streaming Course (ABMSC), which is more than just a name change. At the ABMSC, you can now be selected Weapons, Surveillance or Space as there is now a direct-entry route into that career stream. So you wouldn't have to complete an IDO CQ first in order to pursue a career in Space. There will then be the option, after your first tour in Space, to re-stream into Surveillance, should you wish. You are unlikely to be able to pursue a Weapons career since, as I've mentioned before, the aptitudes are different. There have been rare instances where Surveillance officers have re-trained into the Wpns specialization, but there are always extenuating circumstances.

    As to the training and onward progression within the Space stream, I'm waiting for a Space colleague to get the good gen to me in the next couple of weeks and then I'll post it up here.

    Vizzini
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    Great posts Vizzini, and nice to see Pending too.

    We have a wiki on TSR, but within that wiki we are looking to expand some information on the RAF, and Officer profiles.

    If you'd like to have a stab at it, feel free to PM me. The link is here
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    Sounds fantastic! I'm eagerly awaiting details, thanks in advance for posting up any info, seems like it must be quite an expanding role in the future?
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    (Original post by carboncopy)
    Sounds fantastic! I'm eagerly awaiting details, thanks in advance for posting up any info, seems like it must be quite an expanding role in the future?
    We are getting more and more involved with what's currently termed Air/Land Integration (and which the Army are trying to re-name Land/Air Integration so they can own it!), in particular with the role that 1ACC are playing on Op HERRICK. I remember a presentation given to us several years ago by Brigadier JALO (that's Joint Air Land Organisation, not a strange surname! - his name escapes me now), where he stated that the Army loved ABMs and wanted more of us to work with them.

    There's a lot of competition across the Air Force for these posts though, as it's widely recognised that we increasingly need to provide integrated support to the Army, or simply an 'Air Voice', since, until recently Army Airspace doctrine relied on the 'Big Sky' principle (that is - 'Well it's a Big Sky, the aeroplanes should be able to avoid our munitions...', some, tragic, historic events have disproved this theory!). The nature of the job means the Army are inherently 'Land-minded' and we are 'Air-minded' (I'm generalising, of course); that cross-pollination needs to occur if we are to work together effectively in the joint environment. In short, all 3 Services are trying to re-learn the lessons of WW2, which were then forgotten as each Service entrenched during the Cold War. All that's changed is the technology.

    Vizzini
 
 
 
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