About the Job

Use your quick-thinking and attention-to-detail to identify airborne threats and protect your teammates with ground to-air-missiles as an Air Defence Operator.

What you'll do

The Army uses some of the world's most advanced early warning radars and ground-based air defence weapon systems. Your role is to operate this equipment during combat scenarios, in various environments including fast-moving vehicles.

As an Air Defence Operator, you'll detect, identify, acquire and destroy enemy aircraft. Even when they are flying at a high altitude. Key tasks include:

  • Assembling and operating advanced radar and ground-to-air missile systems
  • Detecting, identifying, acquiring and engaging hostile aircraft
  • Servicing and maintaining artillery equipment and protected vehicles
  • Operating combat communications equipment and command systems
  • General soldiering duties, including manning defensive positions, patrolling, marksmanship, navigation, camouflaging vehicles and field equipment

The role offers two specialisations:

  • Ground Based Air Defence Operator - Use ground-to-air missile systems to neutralise air threats. This specialisation requires quick thinking and decisive action in a team environment. You'll work closely with Sense, Warn & Locate Operators.
  • Sense, Warn and Locate Operators - Operate surveillance radars and sensors to detect and identify air threats. You'll be the eyes in the sky for our Air Defence teams, leveraging your observation skills and technical know-how.

Combined, these two specialisations work closely together to provide a potent capability to the Australian Defence Force.

Training and Progression

You don't need any prior experience to join. Possessing attention-to-detail and showing an ability to think or react quickly and effectively is all you need – you'll learn everything else during your Initial Employment Training (IET).

Throughout your career you’ll receive highly specialised training to operate high-tech equipment, respond appropriately and make critical decisions in the heat of the moment.

As part of your training, you and your team will learn to use the Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle (PMV), moving fast to defend deployed ground forces.

Additional Information

In this role, you’ll have opportunities to travel to participate in exercises, and may be called upon to support the Air Force and work aboard ships with the Navy too.

If you’re up for a physically and mentally stimulating challenge, and looking for hands-on experiences with state-of-the-art technology, then this is the role for you.

In-Service Information
This role is known as Operator Air and Missile Defence Systems within the Army.
Employment Category Number (ECN) 237
Employment Category: Combat

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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 Army 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.


Upon completion of your Initial Employment Training (IET), your first posting will likely be to:

  • Adelaide, SA

There may be opportunities to post to other locations based on service need, career development needs and individual preferences.

You may also have the opportunity to deploy overseas on operations during your career.



Applicants must be at least 17 years of age and able to complete the Initial Minimum Period of Service before reaching Compulsory Retirement Age (60).

Applicants will not be allowed to enter the ADF until they achieve a minimum of 17 years of age, however they may be able to initiate the application process from 16 years and six months of age.

Education & Experience

Completion of Australian Year 10 education (or equivalent) with passes in English and Mathematics.

If you have not achieved the appropriate passes for this role, an education assessment can be conducted to determine your eligibility. Employment history and other qualifications will be considered. Speak to your ADF Careers Centre representative to discuss options.

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

You will be enlisted for an Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS) of 4 years.

Subsequent periods of service may be offered subject to the requirements of the ADF and your suitability for further service. You may request discharge at any time provided you do not have an outstanding IMPS obligation.

Your Careers Coach can advise on how IMPS will relate to your chosen occupation.


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.


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 security clearances appropriate to their employment.

A process of background checks, collection of relevant information and, as required, interviews, enables the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency 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, and current policy requires applicants to have a checkable background for the previous 10 years. Required information includes:

  • Residence
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Credit

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

NOTE: The security clearance is critical to an applicants successful progression through the Army training system. If an applicant is unable to obtain the required security clearance in time, they will not be allowed to continue their training and may need to be re-allocated to another employment category. As such, it is strongly recommended that all applicants obtain the required documentation as soon as possible to provide the best opportunity to be employed in their preferred employment category.


Military Training

As a General Entry recruit, you’ll be required to complete the Recruit Course.

Army Recruit Course
Duration: Approximately 12 weeks.
Location: Kapooka, Wagga Wagga, NSW.

During training, you will take part in physical training, weapon handling and shooting, first aid, drill and field craft. You'll be challenged both mentally and physically.

Although it can be demanding, most recruits gain a sense of achievement, purpose and confidence during basic training, and on completion of the course feel justifiably proud of what they have achieved. The priority of our instructors is to help you succeed.

For more information, visit Soldier Training at Kapooka.

Employment Training

After graduating from recruit training, you'll start learning the skills of your trade or profession under the guidance of world-class Army instructors.

Basic Combat Communications Course
Duration: Approximately 1 week.
Location: School of Artillery, Puckapunyal, VIC.

You will learn to set up, operate and maintain communications equipment and radios including basic high frequency combat communication equipment.

Specialist Combat Communications Course
Duration: Approximately 5 weeks.
Location: School of Artillery, Puckapunyal, VIC.

You will learn to enable team communication in the field using high frequency radios, satellite communications and modern data transfer equipment.

Royal Australian Artillery Common Induction Training
Duration: Approximately 3 weeks.
Location: School of Artillery, Puckapunyal, VIC.

You will learn Artillery procedures and how to use small arms weapons systems and other combative equipment.

You will then conduct one of the following courses based on your specialisation:

Operator Ground Based Air Defence Course
Duration: Approximately 5 weeks, not including weekends.
Location: School of Artillery, Puckapunyal, VIC.

You will learn to operate encrypted systems to receive a radar picture, identify hostile aircraft and operate the RBS70 surface-to-air-missile launcher.

Operator Sense Warn and Locate Course
Duration: Approximately 5 weeks, not including weekends.
Location: School of Artillery, Puckapunyal, VIC.

You will learn to identify rockets, artillery and mortars using radar systems. This includes qualification in the Giraffe Agile Multi Beam (GAMB) Radar, Lightweight Multi Mission Radar (LMMR), network routers (C-NET) and wireless warning systems (WAVES).

Once you’ve finished your Initial Employment Training, you’ll be assigned to an Army unit and your career as a soldier will begin.

Throughout your career, you will also have the opportunity to develop your skills with specialist training.