Army Communication Systems Operator full width

You are the internal voice of the Army, operating and maintaining sophisticated communications systems to keep vital command and control systems up and running.

  • Service
  • Specialisation
    Intelligence, IT and Communications
  • Location
  • Starting Salary
  • Upcoming Intake
    01 March, 2021
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About the role

For a modern army to function, communications are vital. As a Communication Systems Operator you will be working with some of New Zealand’s most sophisticated communications equipment and technology to keep the Army's command and control systems up and running.

This can include communication channels over short distances, or anywhere around the world using a modern array of complex communication systems.

You will learn to set up and operate multi-channel communications, long and short range radio networks and satellite systems. Out in the field, you could find yourself in a highly mobile radio detachment or possibly in a node providing vital strategic reach back communications.

Job on base

You'll have the opportunity to work at 2 Signal Squadron, RNZ Signals at Linton Military Camp or 4 Signal Squadron, RNZ Signals at Burnham Military Camp. You may also be able to work alongside other NZ Army units, as well as the Air Force and Navy. Your role includes your day to day responsibilities as a Communications Systems Operator. On top of that, you will continue your soldier training with weapons, medical and radio/communications.

Job on deployment

Communications Systems Operators are highly deployable, and are employed in a variety of overseas missions and exercises, primarily in support of other units. While on deployment overseas you can expect to work alongside other countries and nationalities establishing and supporting high tech communication equipment, ensuring units can talk to each other and important information is received and sent to the right place at the right time.

"A person that would best fit a Communication System operator is someone that’s a fast learner, they have high standards, and someone that definitely wants a sense of adventure and challenge."

Training and career progression

Basic Training
Job Training

You start with 16 weeks of basic training at Waiouru Military Camp, followed by three months of communication information systems training and various other courses to enhance your trade knowledge and capabilities. You will also be expected to complete Global VSAT Forum Satellite Communications Training (basic, advanced and instructor level) Certification

Later on, as you move up in rank and seniority in your chosen trade of Communication Systems Operator you can be expected to be posted to such areas as Wellington, Trentham, Auckland and Burnham.


Once qualified you play an important role keeping the Army’s command and control systems up and running.


As your career progresses you can work to become a Signals Instructor.

Basic training

Upon successful enlistment into the Army you are be posted to Waiouru Army base. Here you do 16 weeks of basic military training to find out if you have what it takes to be in the Army, and learn various subjects including:

  • Organisation and Administration
  • Army Customs and Protocol
  • Drill and Parades
  • Military Field Skills and Weapon Training
  • First Aid
  • Physical Fitness

Royal New Zealand Signals Corps Training Course

You will start your initial communications training with a 3 month course at, Linton, Palmerston North. On this course you will learn to operate a broad range of Army Radio and Communications equipment whilst gaining a good understanding of computer and networking systems. This primary course is the building block of Esprit de Corps & comradeship to the RNZ Signals Corps and its members whom will become lifelong friends within and outside of the NZ Army.


Communication Systems Operator and Operational Support and Information Specialist Junior Course

This five week course conducted at Linton Military Camp will teach you the requirements to operate all communications access node (CAN) bearer systems and provide first line operational support within a command post environment. You will receive instruction on advanced combat net radio systems, construction of antenna systems, wide band satellite systems, army security systems, command post operations and information assurance.


Communication Systems Operator Intermediate Course

This one month course conducted at Linton Military Camp will teach you the requirements to operate as a detachment member or as an independent deployed signaller. You will be taught basic electrical principles, planning and designing long range radio communications, advanced radio operations and establishing multichannel satellite links


Communication Systems Senior Course

This one month course conducted at Linton Military Camp will teach you the requirements to design, implement and advise on communications systems. You will be taught data communications concepts, multiplexing concepts, radio frequency technology concepts, planning short and medium distance communications links, design frequency plans, produce communications instructions and understand cellular communications technologies


Trade Promotion Courses

The Detachment Commanders Course and the Troop Sergeants Course are part of your career progression. They are designed to test your trade knowledge and skills as well as your leadership ability. Base level management is conducted during these courses and enhanced at Unit level. The Communications Information System Electronic Warfare Managers Course is more advanced course which will train you in the administration, design and management of communications systems. The course is designed to test your management skills and your ability to manoeuvre communications assets on the battlefield.

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Salary and benefits

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




Starting Trade Training


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 medical and dental
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 at least 17.5 years of age due to the requirement to hold a TSV clearance. However, the preferred minimum age is 20 years old
  • be a NZ Citizen
  • meet the citizenship and security requirements to gain TSV security clearance for this trade
  • have no decreased colour perception.


  • some typing ability and computer skills will make your application more competitive
  • a Class 1 restricted driver's licence is recommended, but is not compulsory.

You must have 10 NCEA Level 1 credits in each Literacy and Numeracy.

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.

Your training is some of the most thorough and advanced in the world. On completion of your training, 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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