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Job Role
Aircrew Officer Observer
Job Role

Aircrew Officer Observer

You’ll master navigation, first aid, emergency handling and survival, and then train for a specialist role on one of the Fleet Air Arm’s three helicopters.

AircraftAdventureAviationCombat and securityHands on
  • £31,000 - £120,000
  • A-Levels / college qualifications
  • Fleet Air Arm
  • Aviation
  • Officer level

At a glance

You’ll be an essential part of the flight crew, using your second-to-none observation skills and technical knowledge on operations all over the world. Whichever helicopter you’re working with, you’ll navigate, operate comms systems and even control weaponry.
I get to be part of a wide variety of missions. I’ve been involved in search-and-rescue, using the winch to pull people to safety, and on the frontline where I’ve fired machine guns.


Observer, Aviation branch .

Role details

What you’ll do

As an Observer in the Royal Navy you’ll be a key part of a flight crew. And that means whichever of our helicopters you’re working with, you’ll navigate, operate communications systems and even control the weaponry. You’ll need to be constantly aware of, and in control of, your surroundings. But you’ll do much more than that too. So much more. It’s how you use your second-to-none navigation skills and technical knowledge that counts. Wherever you are in the world, and whatever the challenge is, you’ll need to rise to it without fail. 

Your role

  • Be an integral part of a flight crew, coordinating and executing vital missions, all over the world.
  • Specialise on one of our three types of helicopter. You could become an expert in anti-submarine warfare on a Merlin, qualify as a fighter controller on a Sea King, or even work alongside the Pilot on our new two-man Wildcat. 
  • Be assigned to a flight, with a Pilot, Aircraft Controller, and team of Engineers, working together on multiple missions.
  • Master tactical and technical skills over a two-year training period. 

Pay & benefits

  • A starting salary of at least £31,000 after INT(O)
  • Earn up to £37,000 within two years
  • Earn additional pay after Flying Training
  • Accelerated training and responsibility from day one
  • Six weeks of paid holiday every year
  • Free medical and dental care
  • Subsidised travel and accommodation
  • Adventurous training
  • Excellent pension scheme

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • Study for GCSEs, A-Levels, NVQs or even a degree, with funding from us
  • A Foundation Degree in Aviation Systems Management as you progress through your professional training/career

Skills you'll develop

  • How to navigate, operate communication systems, and even man the weapons
  • How to apply your knowledge and expertise to state-of-the-art aviation equipment


  • You must be aged 18 to 34
  • You’ll need a minimum of 72 UCAS points. These can be accrued from either GCE A/AS levels (or equivalent) or National Diplomas (e.g., BTEC)
  • You’ll need at least 5 GCSEs at grades A*-C (9-4) (or Scottish equivalent), which must include English and Mathematics
  • You must be a United Kingdom citizen or British Dual National. Dual Nationality restrictions do apply
  • You must have lived in the UK for 5 years continuously prior to application
  • A minimum height of 151.5cm
  • A Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18 and 28 (between 17 and 27 if under 18)
  • Must pass CBAT. Specialist Aviation Medical at OASC, RAF Cranwell post AIB.
  • Pass the Naval Swimming Test

Skills & Interests

  • An ability to thrive on responsibility
  • A calmness under pressure
  • A confident multi-tasker
  • Have a high level of numeracy
  • Reliable and extremely professional


Joining Process

From picking your role to the first day of training; everything you need to know as an officer

Career Progression

From responsibilities to pay, find out where this role can take you.

Got a question?

Our virtual recruiter is available to answer your questions 24 hours a day

Fleet Air Arm