Air Combat Systems Officer
Canadian Armed Forces
Canada
Air Combat Systems Officers plan, coordinate and direct the missions of aircraft and crew. They manage the operation of precision tactical navigation systems, sophisticated sensors, communication systems, electronic warfare equipment and weapon delivery systems.

Air Combat Systems Officers often direct and coordinate the tactical activities of other units. They lead a variety of missions, including:

Search and Rescue
Anti-Submarine Operations
Maritime Surface Surveillance and Targeting
Sovereignty and Fisheries Patrols
Counter-Narcotics Operations
Air-to-Air Refueling
Humanitarian Relief
Combined Operations with Foreign Militaries
Electronic Warfare Training and Support
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operations
Aircrew Selection Centre – the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) requires that all Pilots, Aerospace Controllers and Air Combat Systems Officers attend and successfully complete the Aircrew Selection. The selection centre is located in Trenton, Ontario where candidates are tested over a 2-day period with computer-based scenarios designed to validate those skills and aptitudes required by the RCAF. Success at Aircrew Selection is a necessary step in order to continue to be processed for these three occupations. Watch this video to learn more.
Aircrew Selection Centre
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Pay and benefits
Work environment

Air Combat Systems Officers work in a variety of roles at operational flying units across Canada and as instructors. On deployed operations, they work from airfields around the world. They may also support the Royal Canadian Navy and flying from ships at sea. Experienced Air Combat Systems Officers assist in the formulation of strategic and operational policies and plans, determine air requirements and set standards. They may also work in an international headquarters, on multinational staff or mission.
Basic Military Officer Qualification

After enrolment, you start basic officer training at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, for 12 weeks. Topics covered include general military knowledge, the principles of leadership, regulations and customs of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), basic weapons handling, and first aid. Opportunities will also be provided to apply such newly acquired military skills in training exercises involving force protection, field training, navigation and leadership. A rigorous physical fitness program is also a vital part of basic training. Basic officer training is provided in English or French and successful completion is a prerequisite for further training.

Following basic officer training, official second language training may be offered to you. Training could take from two to nine months to complete depending on your ability in your second language.

Learn more about Basic Training here.

Available professional training

Air Combat Systems Officers attend the Canadian Forces School of Survival and Aeromedical Training in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In order to prepare you for the roles and responsibilities of the Air Combat Systems Officer, you must successfully complete three courses which are designed to introduce you to the unique challenges of working as a member of an aircrew. The courses are:

Aeromedical Training, which details the physiological effects of high altitude operations, and the operation of oxygen supply systems used on military aircraft
Basic Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape course
Air Operations Sea Survival, which takes place at the Canadian Forces School of Search and Rescue in Comox, British Columbia.

Further training on the specific duties of the Air Combat Systems Officer takes place at the Canadian Forces Flying Training School in Winnipeg. You will receive training in meteorology, basic and advanced navigation, guidance and control systems, electronics, communications, tactical employment of aircraft, and weapons systems. This training takes place in the classroom, in the simulator, and in aircraft.

Available specialty training

Air Combat Systems Officers, after successful completion of Professional Training, proceed to an Operation Training Unit to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, in order to qualify as crew members on specific aircraft types, including:

Long Range Patrol
Maritime Helicopter
Search and Rescue
Electronic Warfare
Air-to-Air Refueling
Uninhabited Air Vehicle
Instructional Techniques
Available advanced training

As they progress in their career, Air Combat Systems Officers who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced and graduate training.

Direct entry options

If you already have a university degree, the CAF will decide if your academic program matches the criteria for this job and may place you directly into the required on-the-job training program following basic training. Basic training and military officer qualification training are required before being assigned.

Paid education options

Regular Officer Training Plan

Due to the requirement for CAF officer to obtain a university degree, the CAF will pay successful recruits to complete a bachelor degree program in the Royal Military College System. Recruits will receive full-time salary including medical and dental care, as well as vacation time with full pay in exchange for working in the CAF for a period of time. Typically, candidates enter the Canadian Military College System as an Officer Cadet where they study subjects relevant to both their military and academic career. In rare instances, based on the needs of the CAF, candidates may be approved attend another Canadian University. A determination will be made on a case by case basis. If you are applying for this program, you must apply to the CAF and it is recommended to apply to other Canadian universities of your choice should you not be accepted for ROTP.

Learn more about our Paid Education programs here.

Serve with the Reserve Force

This position is available for part-time employment through the Reserve Force. Reservists generally work part-time for a Reserve unit in their community. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.

Reserve Force training

Reservists train with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required professional standards of the job. If additional training is required in order to acquire specialized skills, arrangements will be made by the home unit.

It is also possible to set up an “Individual Learning Plan” to take courses leading to a university degree related to this job, and upon successful completion, be reimbursed for up to 50 percent of tuition and other mandatory costs. Education fees for successfully completed courses are reimbursed as long as the student was a Reservist during the entire duration of the course.

Reserve Working Environment

Typically, Reservists work or train with their home unit for at least four evenings and one weekend per month, from September to May of each year. They are paid 92.8 percent of Regular Force rates of pay and receive a reasonable benefits package.