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As an Air Warfare Specialist your primary role is to utilise the P-3K2 Orion’s highly advanced sensor systems to collect and analyse information in the aircraft’s area of interest.

  • Service
    Air Force
  • Specialisation
  • Location
  • Starting Salary
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About the role

As an Air Warfare Specialist your primary role is to utilise the P-3K2 Orion’s highly advanced sensor systems to collect and analyse information in the aircraft’s area of interest. To achieve this, you’ll be responsible for the effective operation of a number of high-tech onboard systems including the radar, electronic surveillance, electro-optics, magnetic anomaly detector and acoustic sensor systems.

Your role will include processing, analysing, classifying and filtering the information gathered prior to it being used by your fellow crew members to aid in the tactical employment of our aircraft and to guide civilian and military response units. You will be involved in a range of tasks including Search and Rescue Operations, Military Operations, Fisheries Patrols, Airborne Surveillance and Military Exercises.

You will also be expected to carry out tasks common to all aircrew positions, including flying support, human and crew resource management, teamwork, mission support, and aircraft-related tasks such as monitoring of aircraft systems and emergency procedures.

The great thing about my role is you get to work in a crew. You get to be cohesive as a group of people; grow, develop and learn together.

Daniel Ross-Murphy


Career progression and training

Basic Training

Job Training

(12 weeks) Location: RNZAF base Woodbourne (near Blenheim)

Upon successful enlistment into the Air Force you’ll be posted to RNZAF Base Woodbourne (near Blenheim). Here you’ll do 12 weeks of basic military training to find out if you’ve got what it takes to be in the Air Force, and learn various subjects including:

  • Organisation and Administration
  • RNZAF Customs and Protocol
  • Drill and Parades
  • Military Field Skills and Weapon Training
  • First Aid, and Search and Rescue Techniques
  • Physical Fitness

Following 12 weeks basic military training at RNZAF Base Woodbourne, you’ll be required to pass a four-week Corporal Qualifying Course to confirm your rank as Acting Corporal. You’ll then be posted to 42 SQN to complete an 8 week Combined Non-Commissioned Officer Aircrew Course, covering generic aircrew subjects as well as Aviation Medicine and Survival training. You will then be posted to 5 SQN to begin training in your specialist role as an Air Warfare Specialist.

As part of the Orion Conversion Course, your training as an AWS will consist of a nine-month residential course at RNZAF Base Auckland covering general aircraft safety precautions and emergency procedures, security, computer management, data handling systems, communications, radar theory and systems and electro optics. Your flying is carried out on a P-3K2 Orion aircraft and your training will culminate with a First Voyage, where you will conduct tasking and training in the Pacific.

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Salary and benefits

Careers in the Air Force are well-rewarded, as well as being diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, you will see your salary rise accordingly.




Starting Salary


Higher Rank

Benefits and allowances

There are many additional benefits to being in the Defence Force, that will make your money go further.

For example, on top of your basic salary you can expect ‘Military Factor’. This provides you with significant extra financial rewards because of the commitment you’ve made to serve your country.

Free and subsidised medical and dental care

Access to subsidised equipment on base

Subsidised food on base

Competitive superannuation, up to 4% with KiwiSaver

Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Entry requirements



Fitness and medical


Period of Service

  • You must be 17 years or older.
  • Meet the citizenship & security requirements to gain TSV security clearance for this trade.

Minimum: NCEA Level 2 with a minimum of 12 credits in each Level 2 English, Mathematics and a Science subject.

To be competitive: NCEA Level 3.

Find out more about the NCEA levels and certificate requirements

  • You must be medically fit for service.
  • Colour perception restrictions may apply.

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the required TSV security clearance for this trade.

Find out if you’re eligible here.

There may be a return of service period for this trade.

Please contact our 0800 number or talk to your Candidate Experience Facilitator for more information.


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