About the Job

After you complete Initial Officer Training course, you will start Basic Pilot Course at No 1 Flying Training School on the Pilatus PC 21 at RAAF Base East Sale. After this, you will continue your ab-initio pilot training at No 2 Flying Training School at RAAF Base Pearce near Perth.

If you are selected for Fast Jet Pilot during your training, you then undertake introduction to fighter training on the Hawk 127 aircraft with No 79 Squadron at RAAF Base Pearce and then again later with No 76 Squadron at RAAF Base Williamtown near Newcastle. There are three types of fast jets in the Air Force: F-35A Lightning II, F/A-18F Super Hornet and F/A-18G Growler Electronic Attack. The type of fast jet you will be chosen to fly will be based on your preference, your performance during training and availability of positions.

The F-35A Lightning II: This is a single seat, high-performance, stealth fighter that employs state-of-the art weapons. This flying ‘supercomputer’ is not just a fighter jet, it is also communications node that provides battlespace information to the Army, Navy and friendly forces. F-35A pilot training is conducted at No 2 Operational Conversion Unit at RAAF Base Williamtown.

F/A-18F Super Hornet: Team up with your Weapons System Officer and conduct a variety of combat-related missions, including air-to-air combat and air-to-surface weapons employment.

F/A-18F Growler: Like the Super Hornet, you will team up with your Weapons System Officer using the advanced technology in this electronic attack aircraft to disrupt, deceive or deny a broad range of military electronic systems, including radars and communications.

F/A-18 pilot training is conducted at RAAF Base Amberley.

Click on this link for more information on the other streams within Officer Aviation.


Key Information

Preparing for Your Recruitment Process

This document provides information that will assist applicants for roles in the Navy, Army and Air Force, including details about the recruitment process, how to prepare yourself for assessment, and what to expect if you are successful in joining the Australian Defence Force.

Salary & Allowances

In the Air Force you'll get paid a good salary from day one regardless of your age, experience or qualifications; and your pay increases as you progress through training.

In addition to your salary you'll receive a variety of allowances, extra pay for relevant qualifications – plus 16.4% superannuation, a far higher rate than you're likely to find in the civilian world.


For more details download our Salary Scales.


Locations

As a member of the Officer Aviation Family, during your career you may be may be employed in flying and non-flying roles at almost any location across the country or overseas, however initially training will tailored to achieving operational readiness. Therefore your early posting will likely be to:

Queensland
1SQN, RAAF Base Amberley
6SQN, RAAF Base Amberley
New South Wales
3SQN, RAAF Base Williamtown
77SQN, RAAF Base Williamtown
Northern Territory
75SQN, RAAF Base Tindal

Requirements

Age

You can start your application at sixteen and a half years but you must be at least seventeen years on the day you join the Air Force.

The maximum age that you can join is sixty years, minus the period of obligation.  For example, if your obligation is ten years, you can join at fifty years. 

Education & Experience

The requirements for acceptance into Initial Officer Training for Officer Aviation (all streams) are:

  • Completion of Year 12
  • Passes in English and three other academic subjects
  • The desired ATAR or equivalent for your chosen degree. As well as applying to the Air Force for entry, you must also apply to the University through the Universities Admissions Centre (NSW and ACT). The UAC website is: http://www.uac.edu.au

Year 12 university entry level mathematics (unmodified) and physics or multi-strand science is highly desirable.

This entry mode attracts a debt greater than the maximum rate of HECS due to the higher costs associated with ADFA studies ($25,000 per annum). In general terms, this debt accrues (increases) whilst undertaking study, with the maximum debt reached on completion of study. Once the period of study has ended, the debt begins to acquit (reduce) for the remainder of your Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS). Once the IMPS period is complete, there is no remaining debt.

Officer Aviation Candidates can choose to study any degree offered at ADFA by the UNSW except for four-year engineering degrees.

Note: You can apply for OA prior to achieving the education requirements however you can’t be appointed until all requirements are met.

Medical & Fitness

To be enlisted or appointed, you must be medically and physically fit for entry to your chosen occupation. This is partially assessed from the completion of an extensive questionnaire covering your medical history, followed by a physical examination.

You will also be required to successfully pass a physical fitness assessment before appointment.

For further details on medical and physical fitness standards refer to Physical Fitness Standards for Entry into the ADF and Medical Process for Entry into the ADF

Period of Service

On appointment you will have an Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS) of seven years associated with your three years of tertiary studies at ADFA. This IMPS is separate from any obligation to serve that is associated with Officer Aviation (OA) Initial Stream Employment Training (ISET).

Your nine year Return of Service Obligation (ROSO) will not commence until you start your Fast Jet Conversion Course (known in service as the operational conversion course). An operational conversion is the course you undertake after your basic courses and is specific to the aircraft type you are allocated to. This means that if you decide that OA is not for you, or you are unsuccessful in your pilot ISET prior to operational conversion, you will not incur a ROSO. 

IMPS and ROSO are served concurrently therefore if you incur a ROSO while still serving an IMPS associated with your ADFA degree, they will both count down together.

You may apply to separate from Defence provided you do not have any outstanding service obligation.

Additional Requirements

Physical Requirements

Each aircraft type has its own weight and height limitations however to be appointed to undergo pilot training, you must be able to meet the PC21 anthropometric limits. However if you are not sitting in a cockpit the weight and height imitations are the same as the general entry standards.

Speech

Good communication is critical for all OA streams, so your speech must be clear and free from impediment.

Physical Requirements

A detailed evaluation of your suitability to become part of the OA family requires a primary and a secondary selection process. The primary selection process is conducted by ADF Careers at your local DFRC and includes interviews and an initial Officer Aviation Test Battery (OATB). Those candidates assessed as suitable will progress to the secondary assessment stage, which includes a two day Aviation Screening Program (ASP). Depending on your ASP results you may be invited to attend an Officer Selection Board (OSB). The OSB will be scheduled for some time after ASP.

The ASP will be managed by the Aviation Candidate Management Centre (ACMC) and will take place at RAAF Base East Sale, VIC.

The ASP is not only designed to evaluate OA applicants in order to determine their suitability to undergo aviation training, but it is also designed to give applicants a better understanding of all of the streams within the OA family. Because all Officer Aviation Candidates (OACs) undergo some training at RAAF Base East Sale, East Sale is the perfect place for the ASP to be conducted as it allows you to be able to experience what it will be like to live on the very base that you will be training at. You’ll get firsthand experience of the training, recreational and accommodation facilities at the RAAF Base East Sale as well as the opportunity to talk with students and instructors at the Air Academy (AirA). Aviation aptitude is assessed using the Military Aviation Cognitive Assessment System (MACTS), which is computer based, and is conducted over two four-hour sessions.

On the afternoon of the second day of the ASP, ACMC staff will debrief you on your MACTS results and they will advise you which progression options are available to you. If you want to proceed with the option/s available, you will be invited to attend a RAAF Officer Selection Board (ROSB), which involves a series of group activities, problem-solving exercises and verbal presentation exercises plus a formal interview. This gives applicants an excellent opportunity to display their true potential to be an Officer. The ROSB is made up of an RAAF officer plus a Psychologist.

Aptitude

The Job Opportunities Assessment (JOA) is completed as part of the application process to join the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Some jobs may also require you to complete a further evaluation at a later date.

The JOA is used by Defence to establish suitability for ADF entry, and then identify jobs that best match your abilities.

Further information about the JOA can be found in the Guide to the Job Opportunities Assessment for the ADF.

To get a feel for the types of questions that are used in the Job Opportunities Assessment and how they will look on your screen some examples can be found in the Job Opportunities Assessment Example Questions.

Citizenship

To serve in the ADF you must be an Australian Citizen.

If you are a permanent resident of Australia, the ADF may consider a temporary deferral of the citizenship requirement if the position for which you are applying cannot be filled by an applicant who meets all the citizenship requirements, and then only in exceptional circumstances. You will be required to obtain Australian Citizenship as early as possible following enlistment or appointment.

Find out more in our Citizenship page or ask your local ADF Careers Centre.

Security Requirements

The Department of Defence requires ADF employees to have a security clearance appropriate to their employment.

A process of background checks, collection of relevant information and if required, interviews, enables the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency (AGSVA) to make an informed assessment of an applicant's suitability for a security clearance.

The minimum security clearance level required is Negative Vetting Level 1 (NV1), and current policy requires applicants to have a checkable background for the previous 10 years.

This means applicants must provide credible referees (non-family members) who are able to provide information about the applicant covering an extended period of time. Required information for an NV1 includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Residence
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Financial information
  • Travel

Some ADF jobs may require a higher level of security clearance such as Negative Vetting Level 2 (NV2) or Positive Vetting (PV). Your individual circumstances will determine the number and complexity of the questions and the supporting documents required for these levels.

Australian Citizenship is a requirement for a security clearance and a clearance will only be granted to a non-citizen in exceptional circumstances.

The security clearance is critical to an applicant's successful progression through the recruiting process. It is strongly recommended that all applicants action the Security Clearance Package (ePack) and provide the required documentation without delay to provide the best opportunity to commence training and be employed in their preferred employment category.

For more detailed information on the security vetting process and specific clearance level requirements set by AGSVA, please refer to the AGSVA website.

Support will be provided by DFR during the initial application process.

Training

Military Training

Location: Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA), ACT 

Academy Military Education and Training (AMET) is programmed at the beginning and end of each year and for six hours each week during academic sessions. There is significant emphasis on creating experience-based leadership opportunities in the training activities.
During AMET you'll undertake training in the following:

• Leadership 
• Drill and Ceremonial 
• Military Communication
• Equity and Diversity
• First Aid and Health
• Military Law
• Physical and Recreational Training
• Weapon Training

Follow the link for further details. 

You'll also have breaks in study to go on academic field trips, military tours, excursions, and adventure training exercises. 

 

Employment Training

Pilot Basic Course (24 weeks)

You will start your military flying career with the Pilot Basic Course at Number 1 Flying Training School (1FTS) at RAAF Base East Sale. The Pilot Basic Course has about 60 hours of flying and simulation. The flying disciplines on Pilot Basic Course include General Flying (GF), Instrument Flying (IF), Night Flying (NF) and an introduction to medium level visual Navigation (NAV). GF includes manoeuvres such as flying circuits, basic aerobatics, stalling and emergency handling. IF instruction covers basic instrument interpretation skills and flying instrument approaches. Ground training will also be conducted in Aerodynamics, Aircraft Systems, Airmanship, Air Power, Air Traffic Control, Aviation Medicine, Cockpit Systems, Meteorology, Morse Code, and Navigation.

Pilot Intermediate Course (36 weeks)

Following Pilot Basic Courses you will be posted to Number 2 Flying Training School (2FTS) at RAAF Base Peace to undergo Pilot Intermediate Course. The Pilot Intermediate course is approximately 36 weeks duration with 135 hours of flying and simulation. Aside from developing the flying skills learnt on Pilot Basic Course, you will also be introduced to formation flying and low-level navigation. You will also learn how to operate an aircraft and not just fly it. On successful completion of Pilot Intermediate course you will be award your Pilot Badge.

During Initial Stream Employment Training, members may be required to pay a contribution towards meals, accommodation and utilities.

Further Training

If you are streamed to go down the Fast Jet Pilot (FJP) pathway you will be required to complete the following courses:

  • Introductory Fighter Course – type conversion and advanced flying training (6 months). Remaining at RAAF Base Pearce, you will undergo training on the Hawk Lead-in fighter at No. 79 Squadron.
  • Introductory Fighter Course – tactical flying training (6 months). Once you have learnt the basics of flying the Hawk and operating at higher airspeeds, you will be posted to No. 76 Squadron at RAAF Base Williamtown to learn how to operate the Hawk in a tactical environment (air-to-air and air-to-ground). At the end of this course you will be selected for training on one of the following operational combat aircraft:
    • 35A Lightning II,
    • F/A-18F Super Hornet, or
    • EA-18G Growler.

Operational Conversion Courses (OPCONs) (6-11 months). At the end of the advanced courses you will be selected for operational conversion onto one of the following platforms:

  • F-35A Lightning II (No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit). The 6-month OPCON for Lightning II is conducted at RAAF Base Williamtown (just outside of Newcastle).
  • F/A-18F Super Hornet (No. 82 Wing Training Flight). The 6-month OPCON for Super Hornet is conducted at RAAF Base Amberley (just outside of Brisbane).
  • EA-18G Growler (No. 6 Squadron). Growler OPCON training takes 11 months and is conducted in Washington State, USA by the US Navy, with bridging training on return to Australia conducted at RAAF Base Amberley (just outside of Brisbane).

Once you complete your OPCON, you will be a fully qualified FJP ready to contribute to the application of air power and the defence of Australia.


Key Information

Preparing for Your Recruitment Process

This document provides information that will assist applicants for roles in the Navy, Army and Air Force, including details about the recruitment process, how to prepare yourself for assessment, and what to expect if you are successful in joining the Australian Defence Force.

Salary & Allowances

In the Air Force you'll get paid a good salary from day one regardless of your age, experience or qualifications; and your pay increases as you progress through training.

In addition to your salary you'll receive a variety of allowances, extra pay for relevant qualifications – plus 16.4% superannuation, a far higher rate than you're likely to find in the civilian world.


For more details download our Salary Scales.


Locations

As a member of the Officer Aviation Family, during your career you may be may be employed in flying and non-flying roles at almost any location across the country or overseas, however initially training will tailored to achieving operational readiness. Therefore your early posting will likely be to:

Queensland
1SQN, RAAF Base Amberley
6SQN, RAAF Base Amberley
New South Wales
3SQN, RAAF Base Williamtown
77SQN, RAAF Base Williamtown
Northern Territory
75SQN, RAAF Base Tindal

Requirements

Age

You can start your application at sixteen and a half years but you must be at least seventeen years on the day you join the Air Force.

The maximum age that you can join is sixty years, minus the period of obligation.  For example, if your obligation is ten years, you can join at fifty years. 

Education & Experience

The requirements for acceptance into Initial Officer Training for Officer Aviation (all streams) are:

  • Completion of Year 12
  • Passes in English and three other academic subjects.

The completion of Year 12 university entry level mathematics (unmodified) and physics or multi-strand science is highly desirable.

Note: You can apply for OA prior to achieving the education requirements however you can’t be appointed until all requirements are met.

Medical & Fitness

To be enlisted or appointed, you must be medically and physically fit for entry to your chosen occupation. This is partially assessed from the completion of an extensive questionnaire covering your medical history, followed by a physical examination.

You will also be required to successfully pass a physical fitness assessment before appointment.

For further details on medical and physical fitness standards refer to Physical Fitness Standards for Entry into the ADF and Medical Process for Entry into the ADF

Period of Service

Your nine year Return of Service Obligation (ROSO) will not commence until you start your Fast Jet Conversion Course (known in service as the operational conversion course). An operational conversion is the course you undertake after your basic courses and is specific to the aircraft type you are allocated to. This means that if you decide that Officer Aviation is not for you, or you are unsuccessful in your pilot Initial Stream Employment Training prior to operational conversion, you will not incur a ROSO.

You may apply to separate from Defence provided you do not have any outstanding service obligation.

 

Additional Requirements

Physical Requirements

Each aircraft type has its own weight and height limitations however to be appointed to undergo pilot training, you must be able to meet the PC21 anthropometric limits. However if you are not sitting in a cockpit the weight and height imitations are the same as the general entry standards.

Speech

Good communication is critical for all OA streams, so your speech must be clear and free from impediment.

Physical Requirements

A detailed evaluation of your suitability to become part of the OA family requires a primary and a secondary selection process. The primary selection process is conducted by ADF Careers at your local DFRC and includes interviews and an initial Officer Aviation Test Battery (OATB). Those candidates assessed as suitable will progress to the secondary assessment stage, which includes a two day Aviation Screening Program (ASP). Depending on your ASP results you may be invited to attend an Officer Selection Board (OSB). The OSB will be scheduled for some time after ASP.

The ASP will be managed by the Aviation Candidate Management Centre (ACMC) and will take place at RAAF Base East Sale, VIC.

The ASP is not only designed to evaluate OA applicants in order to determine their suitability to undergo aviation training, but it is also designed to give applicants a better understanding of all of the streams within the OA family. Because all Officer Aviation Candidates (OACs) undergo some training at RAAF Base East Sale, East Sale is the perfect place for the ASP to be conducted as it allows you to be able to experience what it will be like to live on the very base that you will be training at. You’ll get firsthand experience of the training, recreational and accommodation facilities at the RAAF Base East Sale as well as the opportunity to talk with students and instructors at the Air Academy (AirA). Aviation aptitude is assessed using the Military Aviation Cognitive Assessment System (MACTS), which is computer based, and is conducted over two four-hour sessions.

On the afternoon of the second day of the ASP, ACMC staff will debrief you on your MACTS results and they will advise you which progression options are available to you. If you want to proceed with the option/s available, you will be invited to attend a RAAF Officer Selection Board (ROSB), which involves a series of group activities, problem-solving exercises and verbal presentation exercises plus a formal interview. This gives applicants an excellent opportunity to display their true potential to be an Officer. The ROSB is made up of an RAAF officer plus a Psychologist.

Licence Requirements

At a minimum, candidates must hold a valid Australian State or Territory provisional/probationary C Class Drivers Licence upon enlistment/appointment. Candidates with suspended or cancelled licences will not be eligible to join until the suspension or cancellation has been lifted or has expired.

Aptitude

The Job Opportunities Assessment (JOA) is completed as part of the application process to join the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Some jobs may also require you to complete a further evaluation at a later date.

The JOA is used by Defence to establish suitability for ADF entry, and then identify jobs that best match your abilities.

Further information about the JOA can be found in the Guide to the Job Opportunities Assessment for the ADF.

To get a feel for the types of questions that are used in the Job Opportunities Assessment and how they will look on your screen some examples can be found in the Job Opportunities Assessment Example Questions.

Citizenship

To serve in the ADF you must be an Australian Citizen.

If you are a permanent resident of Australia, the ADF may consider a temporary deferral of the citizenship requirement if the position for which you are applying cannot be filled by an applicant who meets all the citizenship requirements, and then only in exceptional circumstances. You will be required to obtain Australian Citizenship as early as possible following enlistment or appointment.

Find out more in our Citizenship page or ask your local ADF Careers Centre.

Security Requirements

The Department of Defence requires ADF employees to have a security clearance appropriate to their employment.

A process of background checks, collection of relevant information and if required, interviews, enables the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency (AGSVA) to make an informed assessment of an applicant's suitability for a security clearance.

The minimum security clearance level required is Negative Vetting Level 1 (NV1), and current policy requires applicants to have a checkable background for the previous 10 years.

This means applicants must provide credible referees (non-family members) who are able to provide information about the applicant covering an extended period of time. Required information for an NV1 includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Residence
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Financial information
  • Travel

Some ADF jobs may require a higher level of security clearance such as Negative Vetting Level 2 (NV2) or Positive Vetting (PV). Your individual circumstances will determine the number and complexity of the questions and the supporting documents required for these levels.

Australian Citizenship is a requirement for a security clearance and a clearance will only be granted to a non-citizen in exceptional circumstances.

The security clearance is critical to an applicant's successful progression through the recruiting process. It is strongly recommended that all applicants action the Security Clearance Package (ePack) and provide the required documentation without delay to provide the best opportunity to commence training and be employed in their preferred employment category.

For more detailed information on the security vetting process and specific clearance level requirements set by AGSVA, please refer to the AGSVA website.

Support will be provided by DFR during the initial application process.

Training

Military Training

Location: Officers' Training School (OTS), RAAF Base East Sale, VIC
Duration: 17 weeks

Phase 1: Military Introduction. During this phase training you will be introduced to life in the military. The themes of values based behaviour, self-leadership, team membership and followership are explored through collaborative problem solving, self-mastery and resilience building activities. Weapons qualification and martial skills are included in this phase.

Phase 2: Education. During this phase of training you will be introduced to leading military teams, effectively managing a workplace and applying critical thinking skills. The themes of moral courage, moral judgement and social mastery are explored through scenario-based experiential learning opportunities and facilitated decision making. Air and space power immersion in the joint environment is included in this phase.

Phase 3: Application. During this phase of training you will consolidate what you’ve learned so far you will apply those skills in practical leadership exercises in a simulated combat environment. The themes of values-based behaviour and the development Officer Qualities are explored through the application of transformational leadership.

You will be challenged early, well supported and physically prepared. Outside of the classroom you will participate in physical training, adventure training and visit other Air Force bases to contextualise what you have learnt. Upon graduation, you will undertake specialist employment training or proceed direct to your workplace.

Follow the link for further details.

Employment Training

Pilot Basic Course (24 weeks)

You will start your military flying career with the Pilot Basic Course at Number 1 Flying Training School (1FTS) at RAAF Base East Sale. The Pilot Basic Course has about 60 hours of flying and simulation. The flying disciplines on Pilot Basic Course include General Flying (GF), Instrument Flying (IF), Night Flying (NF) and an introduction to medium level visual Navigation (NAV). GF includes manoeuvres such as flying circuits, basic aerobatics, stalling and emergency handling. IF instruction covers basic instrument interpretation skills and flying instrument approaches. Ground training will also be conducted in Aerodynamics, Aircraft Systems, Airmanship, Air Power, Air Traffic Control, Aviation Medicine, Cockpit Systems, Meteorology, Morse Code, and Navigation.

Pilot Intermediate Course (36 weeks)

Following Pilot Basic Courses you will be posted to Number 2 Flying Training School (2FTS) at RAAF Base Peace to undergo Pilot Intermediate Course. The Pilot Intermediate course is approximately 36 weeks duration with 135 hours of flying and simulation. Aside from developing the flying skills learnt on Pilot Basic Course, you will also be introduced to formation flying and low-level navigation. You will also learn how to operate an aircraft and not just fly it. On successful completion of Pilot Intermediate course you will be award your Pilot Badge.

Further Training

If you are streamed to go down the Fast Jet Pilot (FJP) pathway you will be required to complete the following courses:

  • Introductory Fighter Course – type conversion and advanced flying training (6 months). Remaining at RAAF Base Pearce, you will undergo training on the Hawk Lead-in fighter at No. 79 Squadron.
  • Introductory Fighter Course – tactical flying training (6 months). Once you have learnt the basics of flying the Hawk and operating at higher airspeeds, you will be posted to No. 76 Squadron at RAAF Base Williamtown to learn how to operate the Hawk in a tactical environment (air-to-air and air-to-ground). At the end of this course you will be selected for training on one of the following operational combat aircraft:
    • F-35A Lightning II,
    • F/A-18F Super Hornet, or
    • EA-18G Growler.

Operational Conversion Courses (OPCONs) (6-11 months). At the end of the advanced courses you will be selected for operational conversion onto one of the following platforms:

  • F-35A Lightning II (No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit). The 6-month OPCON for Lightning II is conducted at RAAF Base Williamtown (just outside of Newcastle).
  • F/A-18F Super Hornet (No. 82 Wing Training Flight). The 6-month OPCON for Super Hornet is conducted at RAAF Base Amberley (just outside of Brisbane).
  • EA-18G Growler (No. 6 Squadron). Growler OPCON training takes 11 months and is conducted in Washington State, USA by the US Navy, with bridging training on return to Australia conducted at RAAF Base Amberley (just outside of Brisbane).

Once you complete your OPCON, you will be a fully qualified FJP ready to contribute to the application of air power and the defence of Australia.