Air Traffic Control Officer

Service:Fleet Air Arm
Branch:Aviation
Level:Officer
Tactical
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The role at a glance

What you’ll do

It’s not just the air space directly above you that you’ll be responsible for. You’ll control the flow of air traffic for a 30-mile radius. Given this could be anywhere in the world depending on where your missions take you – with civilian and private traffic, extreme weather and potential conflict to consider – you’ll need to be completely on the ball. Whether you’re in the middle of the ocean on board an aircraft carrier like the new Queen Elizabeth, or on shore at a Royal Naval Air Station, the lives of your crewmates will be in your hands. 

Your role

  • Monitor the airwaves and make sure each and every one of the helicopters and jets under your watch lands safely. 
  • Use your knowledge of our world-class kit, and understanding of your environment, to give clear instructions to pilots and crew.
  • Operate sophisticated radar and communication systems, and collaborate with everyone in your team.
  • Use your world-class communication skills to ensure the safety of your crew. 

What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • Study for GCSEs, A-Levels, NVQs or even a degree, with funding from us
  • Gain specialist vocational qualifications

Skills you'll develop

  • How to use state-of-the-art equipment to monitor your airspace and keep it safe 
  • The art of effective communication and decision-making in high-pressure situations 

What you'll need

Eligibility

  • If you take your A-levels after the start of 2017, you need 72 UCAS points, including two non-overlapping subject areas; before 2017, you need 180 UCAS points
  • If you take your GCSEs after the start of 2017, you need 5 at grades 9 – 4, including English Language and Maths; before 2017, you need 5 at grades A*– C 
  • The above must include English Language and Maths
  • You must be aged 17 to 25
  • Minimum height of 151.5cm and within the healthy range for Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • A British or Irish national, a Commonwealth citizen who has lived in the UK continuously for the 5 years prior to applying, or a dual national

Skills and interests

  • Able to thrive on responsibility
  • A confident leader
  • A passion for working as part of a team
  • Calm under pressure
  • Able to concentrate for long periods of time
Check Eligibility

Starting your career

Joining process

Once you’ve confirmed your eligibility, the joining process is as follows:

  • Submit an application

    Once you’ve registered your interest, we’ll be in touch to discuss your options

  • Naval Service Recruitment Test (NSRT)

    You’ll be tested on general reasoning, verbal ability, numeracy and mechanical comprehension

  • Interview

    A formal interview to talk through your suitability for the role

  • Medical and eye tests

    These are quite comprehensive and must be completed by one of our Ministry of Defence-approved doctors

  • Pre-Joining Fitness Test (PJFT)

    This involves completing a 2.4km run on a treadmill within a certain time, at a fitness centre near you

  • Interview

    You’ll have a short interview to assess your suitability for a career in the Royal Navy, and to ensure you’re ready for the Admiralty Interview Board (AIB)

  • Admiralty Interview Board (AIB)

    This stage is unique to officers and takes place over a day and a half. It’s a competency-based assessment that confirms that you’re physically and mentally ready to become a Royal Navy Officer


Initial training

Before you begin your initial training, you’ll need to take Flying Aptitude Tests (FATs) at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire. These assess your ability to cope with the rigours of flying training. You’ll then progress to Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) in Dartmouth, where you’ll spend 30 weeks, focusing on: military skills, maritime skills and initial fleet time. The military skills phase includes learning about leadership and teamwork, and the principles of command and management. You will put this into practice during several exercises on Dartmoor.


Professional training

After you’ve passed out of BRNC, you will spend a further 15 weeks learning about how our equipment works. At the end of this stage, you’ll go through grading. This is a set of tests that determines your suitability for your specialisation.

Once you’ve completed grading, you’ll begin your professional training at RAF Shawbury in Shropshire. Throughout this 24-week course, you’ll use state-of-the-art simulators under the guidance of our experienced instructors. From there, you’ll go to either RNAS Yeovilton, RNAS Culrose, or RAF Marham, where you’ll spend 34 weeks gaining hands-on experience working with real aircraft. At the end of this, you’ll gain your Certificate of Competency and be a fully qualified Air Traffic Control Officer.