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Travel the world and work on our expanding fleet of aircraft, learning how to maintain and repair the complex electronics systems that keep them flying. On any given day you could find yourself in the hangar on base, out on the flight line or in the field working on working on aviation systems, navigation, radios and conducting specialised electronics work.

  • Service
    Air Force
  • Specialisation
    Engineering and Technical Trades
  • Location
    Whenuapai, Woodbourne and Ohakea
  • Starting Trade Training
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About the role

As an Electronics Technician you will have the opportunity to work with modern electronic systems and a limited number of simple mechanical systems fitted to military aircraft. You will carry out all aspects of equipment installation, testing, troubleshooting, maintenance and repair. Whether you’re finding and repairing faults in aircraft on operations overseas, or working with our specialist equipment at maintenance facilities on base, being an Electronics Technician is an exciting and challenging role.

Job on base

As an Electronics Technician you will work with an operational flying Squadron, conducting squadron and maintenance bay duties. As you advance through your career and get promoted there are greater and more varied opportunities for employment within the Air Force.

Squadron duties

RNZAF flying squadrons are the focus of aircraft operations and, as part of a ground crew, you will be responsible for aircraft maintenance, fault finding, and receiving and dispatching aircraft for flying tasks. Maintenance duties include the installation and removal of components, and conducting the operational checks to ensure that aircraft systems are fully serviceable.

You will also complete routine maintenance when an aircraft reaches a prescribed number of flying hours. Before the aircraft can fly again it must be stripped down, inspected, repaired, rebuilt and tested. The technology used in the aviation industry is ever changing and you’ll be required to operate a wide range of test equipment. This includes computer software to assist with maintenance checks, ground running of aircraft avionic systems and the rectification of avionic, software and network faults.

Maintenance bay duties

When not working with a squadron, Electronics Technicians work in the specialised maintenance bays. Where aircraft component faults cannot be fixed during maintenance on the squadrons, they will be removed from the aircraft and sent to the maintenance bays for repair. In the maintenance bay avionic components are tested, repaired and returned to service to meet flying squadron demands. This also includes the inspection of components returning from overseas repair, loading of software and as necessary, the development of new systems or equipment for testing electronic components.

Job on deployment

When squadron aircraft deploy overseas for routine flights, peacekeeping, disaster relief or military operations, Electronic Technicians are part of the attached maintenance team to service and repair the aircraft. You may be responsible for ensuring all the correct tools and spare parts are brought along on the deployment, setting up a computer network for computerised maintenance recording at the deployed location, and liaising with foreign military or civilian personnel for equipment to support maintenance tasks. Operational environments can be widely varied providing new challenges on every deployment.

The great thing about the RNZAF is definitely the group of people that you work with. You're instantly surrounded by positively motivated people... Once you start getting a handle on the potential you can unlock in yourself, it really has driven me to keep pushing myself further. That's been huge.

Ashoka, Electronics Technician

Career progression and training

Career progression

Basic Training

Job Training

Specialist Training

Following primary training you will complete courses covering working in the aeronautical environment and providing you with basic trade skills. After these initial training courses, you will be posted to one of the other Air Force bases to practise these skills for 18-24 months. Once you have gained some practical experience you will return to Woodbourne for advanced trade training that will fully qualify you as an Electronics Technician, and you will be posted to a Squadron.

As you gain experience you will be promoted and given greater responsibilities regarding the management of aircraft maintenance and associated equipment, and personnel. Duties can include leading personnel, supervising teams performing repair work, instruction of junior technicians, technical administration and engineering design roles. You will receive leadership and management training as required to perform your duties effectively.

Personnel who have completed their trade training may also have the opportunity to apply for the specialist role of Non Destructive Testing (NDT). NDT is the ability to test aircraft structures for defects without dismantling the structure. This skill involves the employment of X-ray technology and specialist electronic test equipment to look ‘inside’ aircraft structure. This skill is becoming more and more important as aircraft structure involves greater use of composite structure (think plastic, glass fibre and Kevlar) rather than the traditional aluminium structure.

The opportunity also exists for Electronics Technicians to deploy on Royal New Zealand Navy ships in support of seaborne helicopter operations.

Upon successful enlistment into the Air Force you will be posted to RNZAF Base Woodbourne (near Blenheim) for your Recruit Course. Here you will 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
  • Teamwork and Self Discipline


Defence Aviation Rules (DAR) 66 Category A Course

After your Recruit Course you will complete a full-time 48 week DAR Part 66 Category A Course. This course covers:

  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Electrical Fundamentals
  • Electronics Fundamentals
  • Digital Instrument Systems
  • Materials & Hardware
  • Maintenance Practices
  • Basic Aerodynamics
  • Human Factors
  • Aerodynamics, Structures and Systems
  • Essential Principles of Armament
  • Aviation Legislation

During this course you will receive theoretical and practical training on the principles of operation, as well as theory of construction and maintenance of fixed and rotary wing aircraft and their components and systems.

Subjects covered include the inspection, fitting and removal and maintenance of aircraft components, and an overview of aircraft structures, environmental control systems, digital techniques, electronic instrument systems. Instruction is also given in the use of maintenance documents and engineering publications.

On-the-job training

After graduating from the RNZAF DAR 66 Category A Course as a junior Electronics Technician (AVMECH), you will be posted to a technical unit for a period of approximately 24 months. During this time you will work towards gaining the DAR 66 Category A – Military Aircraft Maintenance Licence (MAML) becoming an AVTECH(A) as well as completing the majority of on-aircraft work-experience required to consolidate the skills and knowledge learned during the DAR 66 Category A course under the control of your Training Support Manager.

Your workbook will then be completed while working in a variety of maintenance bays where you will gain experience working on a variety of aeronautical components and structures.


DAR 66 Category B2 Course

Once you have finished your OJT, you will be posted back to Woodbourne to complete a 12 month DAR 66 Category B2 (Electronics) Course, which includes;

  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Electrical
  • Electronics
  • Digital Instrument Systems
  • Materials & Hardware
  • Maintenance Practices
  • Basic Aerodynamics
  • Human Factors
  • Aerodynamics, Structures and Systems
  • Aviation Legislation
  • Propulsion

On completion of this course you will be posted to a technical unit for a period of approximately 24 months. During this time you will work towards gaining the DAR 66 Category B2 – Military Aircraft Maintenance Licence (MAML) becoming a licenced aircraft technician (AVTECH(B)) you’ll be eligible to apply for a National Certificate in Aircraft Servicing Level 2 (after around two years) and a National Certificate in Aeronautical Engineering (Maintenance) after around four years.

With the foundation laid during your primary and advanced trade training, a large variety of post graduate training and experiential opportunities exist, providing a wide scope of professional development opportunities. This includes specialisation training in technologies or aircraft systems, and generalist training where you can advance your knowledge in other technical or non-technical areas.

Specialist technical training depends on where you go with your career, and can include aircraft replacement/upgrade project roles, avionic research, design and development roles, specialist technology (such as E3, software & technical support) roles, instructor roles and technical management roles.

Non-technical training can include Defence Force management and leadership training and sponsored external training through NZ universities or polytechnics.

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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.


Under Initial Training


Starting Trade Training


Future Potential Earnings

Figures updated on July 1st 2023

Benefits and allowances

Earn a competitive salary while training or learning your trade, along with additional allowances for time spent in the field, at sea, overseas, or deployed on operations.

In addition to salary and allowances, other benefits of joining the New Zealand Defence Force include:

Access to your Service marae or tūrangawaewae

Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Free access to gyms and swimming pools on camp and bases

Opportunities to travel

Free and subsidised medical and dental care

Subsidised food and accomodation on camps and bases

Free and subsidised insurance cover

Help to buy a home and save for retirement

Entry requirements



Fitness and medical


Period of Service

  • You must be at least 17 years of age.
  • Meet the citizenship & security requirements to gain SV security clearance for this trade.

Minimum: NCEA Level 2 certificate.

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 SV 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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