Flying for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN)
Deployed on board ships at sea, the Navy's fleet of helicopters are built to withstand the extreme environmental conditions associated with life at sea. They execute a range of operations including surface and anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, transportation, and medical evacuations.
Navy pilots fly rotary wing aircraft, which include:
- S70B-2 Seahawk helicopter
- MH-60R Seahawk Romeo helicopter
- MRH90 helicopter
- Aerospatiale Squirrel AS350B helicopter.
These aircraft are critical to the Navy’s capability and operate either from the Navy's Air Station at HMAS ALBATROSS in Nowra, NSW, or embarked from a variety of ships at sea.
The Navy's front-line line warfare helicopter, the S70B-2 Seahawk, is equipped to extend the combat radius of the ships from which they operate by detecting and locating surface or submarine targets, and coordinating its electronics systems with those of their ship to guide weapons accurately to their targets. The Seahawk is an integral part of the Naval ship's weapons and sensor system. Currently the RAN is introducing the MH-60R Seahawk Romeo helicopter into service. These next generation Seahawk helicopters are state of the art, advanced Naval helicopters and will be employed in the maritime environment. They will be equipped with torpedoes, anti-ship missiles and dipping sonar.
The MRH90 is a state of the art Maritime Support helicopter (MSH) which is employed in Afloat Logistics Support, Search and Rescue, MEDEVAC and Helicopter Visit, Board, Search and Seizure. Its secondary roles include Aerial Mine Disposal, Amphibious Support, Contingency Support to Special Operations, Surface Warfare and Defence Aid to the Civil Community.
The Aerospatiale Squirrel AS350B helicopter is employed in light utility and training tasks.
A career as a Navy Pilot gives you the chance to experience a variety of employment and training environments during your Naval career. These are designed to prepare you for the role of higher management as a senior officer in the Royal Australian Navy.
Royal Australian Air Force
Upgrade your flying ambition right now and within just a few years, you could be taking control of one of the fastest and most manoeuvrable aircraft in the skies or transporting troops and supplies to a disaster zone in a high-capacity heavy transport aircraft. You could also be carrying out a covert surveillance mission in an aircraft armed with state-of-the-art radar and sensor systems.
In the Air Force you'll enjoy an exceptionally exciting and highly responsible job, a very competitive salary package, and a lifestyle like nothing else. Plus, you'll benefit from continual investment in your personal and professional development.
Better still, in contrast to taking up an airline cadetship, you'll be paid as you train, you'll achieve captaincy far faster, and you'll experience a wide variety of deployments flying advanced military aircraft.
As a battle proven next generation multi-role fighter, the F/A-18F Super Hornet is equipped with a number of advanced weapons and sensors. These include radar guided and infra-red seeking missiles, a nose-mounted cannon and an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. The aircraft is easily recognised by the rectangular engine air intakes and features a dual cockpit configuration offering enhanced, networked air combat solutions.
The C-130J Hercules fulfils air lift roles such as search and survivor assistance, aero-medical evacuation and aid to Australian and neighbouring civil communities. The aircraft features several advanced navigation tools, allowing the minimum crew to be reduced from five to three. It can be distinguished from earlier RAAF Hercules by its six-blade propellers, as well as 'fuselage plugs,' which allow greater cargo capacity.
Matching awesome firepower with state-of-the-art weapons, navigation and avionics, this modified Boeing 737 is designed to increase Australia's surveillance and air combat capability. The aircraft is also used to support our naval fleet, and assist in civil operations such as border protection, and search and rescue.
The C-17A Globemaster III significantly enhances the Air Force's ability to support national and international operations, and major disaster relief efforts. It is capable of rapid delivery of troops and oversized cargo to deployment areas.
The upgraded Australian Orions, designated AP-3C, were introduced in 2002. The aircraft is fitted with a variety of sensors, including digital multi-mode radar, electronic support measures, electro-optics detectors (infra-red and visual), magnetic anomaly detectors, identification friend or foe systems, and underwater acoustic detectors. The P-8A Poseidon is replacing the Orion in 2017.
Your route to becoming a pilot in the Air Force:
Officer Training - 17 weeks (or 6 hours per week plus 6 weeks for ADFA students).
Pilot Basic Training - 25 weeks including over 60 hours in the CT4B Airtrainer.
Phase 1: General flying including basic aerobatics and emergency handling, instrument interpretation skills, night flying and navigation.
Phase 2: Consolidation of basic general flying skills, advanced aerobatics and urther development of emergency handling skills. Plus ground training which covers aerodynamics, aircraft systems, airmanship, air power, air traffic control, aviation medicine, cockpit systems, meteorology and Morse code.
Phase 3:Advanced Training - 37 weeks including 119 hours in the PC9/A single-engine turboprop.
The emphasis for this stage is taking all the skills learned during Pilot Basic to a higher level in a higher-performing aircraft. You'll also learn more advanced military flying skills including low-level navigation to a time-on-target, and formation flying.
On successful completion of these training programs, you'll receive your wings and be streamed onto a specific aircraft type, based on your ability, training scores and Air Force needs.
The Australian Army operates a fleet of rotary wing aircraft flown by officers of the Australian Army Aviation Corps (AAAvn). Their duties can take them to anywhere within Australia and possibly overseas. There are two avenues to become an Army pilot. One avenue is to join the Army as a General Service Officer (GSO), the other is to join as a Specialist Service Officer (SSO). GSO enter service either through the Australian Defence Force Academy, gaining tertiary qualifications along the way or directly through the Royal Military College, Duntroon (RMC).
You have the opportunity to undergo testing for suitability as a pilot prior to entering RMC. The AAAvn Corps is able to offer an Aviation Cadetship to applicants before entering RMC who have passed the Flight Screening Program (FSP) at the ADF Pilot Selection Agency and have been deemed competitive for a position on pilots course.
For the cadets at RMC or those that are yet to complete the FSP before joining RMC, testing for pilot training and application for a position on the FSP will be commenced in the early stages of RMC. If assessed suitable and competitive, you will attend the FSP during your course at RMC. If you pass the FSP and are deemed competitive for a position on pilots course, an Aviation Cadetship may be offered retrospectively to you while at RMC.
An Aviation Cadetship pre-selects you to join the AAAvn Corps upon graduation providing you meet the required standards at RMC.
The career of a GSO Pilot is normally long term and may encompass flying duties, non-flying appointments or command positions. The SSO Pilot Scheme is designed to produce sufficient pilots, on short-term appointments, to operate the Army's aircraft.
S70A-9 Black Hawk
The Black Hawk is one of the world's most advanced battlefield helicopters. Its tasks include tactical transport of infantry soldiers, search and rescue, medical evacuation, disaster relief and external carriage of heavy equipment including artillery howitzers and light vehicles.
The Black Hawk has a crew of two pilots and two load masters and can be armed with two machine guns. It has a cruise speed of 130 knots (240 km/h) and a range of approx. 465 km. The Black Hawk is operated by 5 Aviation Regiment (Avn Regt) in Townsville, 6 Avn Regt in Sydney and the School of Army Aviation (SAA) in Oakey.
The Boeing CH-47 Chinook is a versatile, twin-engine, tandem rotor heavy-lift helicopter. Its top speed of 170 knots (315 km/h) is faster than many contemporary, utility and attack helicopters. Its primary roles include troop movement, artillery emplacement and battlefield re-supply..
The aircraft is operated by C Squadron, 5 Avn Regt. C Squadron was raised on the Army order of battle in June 1995, on the return of the Chinook to Australia after re-manufacture by Boeing USA.
Tasks include logistic support to airmobile operations and battlefield support in the form of internal and external movement of fuel, stores, vehicles and heavy equipment. The Chinook cruises at a speed of 140 Knots (260 km/h) and has a range of approximately 500 km.
The MRH-90 is a single main rotor, twin engine, medium size helicopter. The MRH-90 belongs to a new generation of helicopter that boasts many leading edge technologies including a composite fuselage structure, fly by wire flight controls, an elastomeric bearing rotor hub, and an advanced avionics suite. The helicopter is designed for operations by night, day and in poor weather.
The MRH-90 has been purchased to provide an additional troop lift capability for the Army and to replace the Navy's Sea King helicopter and eventually the Blackhawk. The MRH-90 cruises at a speed of 140 Knots (260 km/h) and has a range of approximately 500 km. It is operated by 5 Avn Regt and the SAA.
The Tiger (Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter) is one of the world's most advanced armed reconnaissance helicopters. It incorporates cutting-edge technology, including composite airframe to minimise weight and reduce radar cross section. With the latest-generation engines and rotors, and an integrated suite of sensors and weapons, it's a key player in the Army's arsenal.
The ARH employs weapons, sensor and communications systems with the capability of employment in Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Intelligence, Offensive Support, Command and Control.
The ARH is a tandem seated, armed helicopter which cruises at a speed of 125 knots (approx 240 km/hour) and has a range of 450 km without external tanks. It is operated by the 1 Avn Regt in Darwin and the SAA.
Bell 206B-1 Kiowa
The Kiowa is the military version of the popular Bell Jet ranger, and has been in service with the Army since 1972. Its tasks are battlefield reconnaissance, path finding for other aircraft, artillery observation, and control of tactical aircraft such as the FA-18. It carries a crew of two pilots and often works closely with artillery and armoured cavalry units.
The Kiowa cruises at 100 Knots (185 km/h) and has a range of approximately 460 km. It is operated by 6 Avn Regt and is the principal training aircraft at the SAA.