The Aerospace Battle Manager (ABM) Branch is a diverse and exciting organisation which directs, and supports, operations around the world.
In the UK, ABMs use sophisticated radar and communications technology to:
- monitor all aircraft flying over the UK;
- order Typhoon jets to scramble and intercept suspect aircraft;
- monitor foreign surveillance satellites and warn friendly forces that they’re being watched from space.
Overseas, ABM support ground troops and ships by:
- warning of enemy air activity;
- directing fighter, bomber, surveillance and refuelling aircraft.
As an ABM you could be working from a bunker, a building, a tent, an E-3D aircraft or a ship. Regardless, you will be part of a varied and stimulating organisation which secures Britain’s skies and offers outstanding career and worldwide employment opportunities.
Like all our officers, you’ll begin your RAF career with Initial Officer Training (IOT) at the RAF College Cranwell in Lincolnshire.
You’ll follow a challenging 24 week course designed to develop your leadership and management skills. The course includes fitness development, military training and academic study as well as practical outdoor leadership challenges. You can find a breakdown of the course here.
Specialist training is delivered at the School of Aerospace Battle Management (SABM) at RAF Boulmer in Northumberland starting with a 6-week foundation module. Following the foundation module you will be assigned to one of the two core specialisations, Surveillance or Weapons, for a further 6 months of training.
Surveillance officers learn to interpret the air picture, determining friend from foe. Weapons Control officers are taught to direct fighters to intercept threat aircraft and maintain the integrity of our airspace.
Your first tour will last approximately 24 months and will be at one of our two Control and Reporting Centres, which are located at RAF Boulmer and at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire. You will consolidate your specialist training and develop post-graduate skills allowing you to achieve ‘combat ready’ status and deploy on operations.
Your Career Prospects
You will join the RAF on an Initial Commission of 12 years and may be selected to serve on a pension earning commission of 20 years service or age 40, whichever is the later, during this time. Promotion to the rank of Flight Lieutenant is on a time served/satisfactory service basis after 3½ years from completing IOT. Further promotion to Squadron Leader and above is by competitive selection.
Subsequent tours may see you being employed in a wide variety of areas, including:
• As ‘mission crew’ flying in E-3D ‘Sentry’ Airborne Early Warning aircraft;
• ‘Number 1 Air Control Centre’, the RAF’s deployable, ground based, command & control unit;
• Instructing ab initio and postgraduate students at the SABM;
• As a ‘Ballistic Missile Early Warning’ space operator at RAF Fylingdales in North Yorkshire or the ‘UK Space Operations Coordination Centre’ at RAF High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire.
You may also be selected for advancement to management roles, responsible for leading fellow officers and airmen. Throughout your career, you should expect operational deployments (generally of up to 6 months) to a range of locations worldwide, together with ad-hoc shorter detachments such as to Cyprus, Lithuania, Gibraltar, Canada, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and many more. We also have a variety of exclusive exchange opportunities which include instructing the US Marine Corps in Arizona; the US Air Force Space Command in Colorado and the Royal Norwegian Air Force.
As an ABM, you will obtain plenty of transferable skills including in the fields of leadership, operations management and decision-making. You will also amply demonstrate your ability to take responsibility for others, including in demanding situations.
You will need a minimum of 5 GCSEs at Grade C (Grade 4 to 5 with effect from Aug 17) or above, including English Language and Mathematics (or acceptable equivalents).
In addition, you need at least 2 A2 Levels, at a minimum of Grade C (or equivalent qualifications, excluding General Studies and Critical Thinking) which must total a minimum of 160 UCAS points
Alternatively you hold a UK degree at Grade 2:2 or higher (or acceptable alternative), you only need 2 GCSEs (Mathematics and English Language) at a minimum of Grade C (Grade 4 to 5 with effect from Aug 17).