Test your skills at home and overseas as you learn how to produce accurate intelligence from imagery, electronic signals and geospatial information.

  • Service
    Air Force
  • Specialisation
    Intelligence, IT and Communications
  • Location
    Auckland, Ohakea and Wellington
  • Starting Trade Training
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About the role

As an Intelligence Specialist, you will be assisting in the preparation and planning for military air operations. This includes researching, preparing and producing mission data. This may be presented as written reports, oral briefs or programmed software. 

The Intelligence Specialist trade is comprised of two separate specialisations, Geospatial Intelligence Analysts and Electronic Warfare Specialists. 

As a Geospatial Intelligence Analyst, you will receive training in the exploitation of satellite, electro-optical, infrared and radar imagery, as well as full motion video. You will also be trained in the use of Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) software, enabling you to display and analyse spatial data for the creation of maps and various graphics that supplement intelligence reports.

The Electronic Warfare Specialist is responsible for the analysis, production and programming of data across the electromagnetic spectrum in order to support electronic warfare equipment across the Air Force fleet. A technically challenging role, you will display a keen interest in utilising state-of-the-art equipment and software to analyse complex signals to produce high quality intelligence products. In addition to this, you will be involved in programming aircraft self protection systems that are designed to keep our aircraft and aircrew safe.

The NZDF’s commitment to international peace and security necessitates the deployment of aircraft and military personnel overseas. This can be in support of internationally led peacekeeping missions, or to partake in humanitarian aid and disaster relief requirements. As an Intelligence Specialist, you’ll play a vital role to support these operations either from New Zealand, or deployed within the operating environment.

Job on base

You will work with aircrew and Intelligence Officers in the preparation and planning for missions. This includes researching, preparing, producing and collating mission data, presenting oral and written reports as well as preparing visual aids for briefing purposes.

You will maintain computerised intelligence databases which involves inputting, storing and retrieving information. You will also interpret and analyse all forms of intelligence data to produce electronic warfare, geospatial and imagery-related reports and products in support of a broad range of Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) maritime, land and air operations.

In order to support this and following Recruit training, you will initially attend a Basic Air Intelligence course. Depending on your specialisation, you will be selected to attend intensive training in either electronic warfare, geospatial or imagery analysis followed by a period of consolidation at 230 Squadron to hone your newly developed skills. Throughout your career, you can expect to further extend your skillsets in specialist areas.

Job on deployment

All Intelligence Specialists will have the opportunity to deploy with squadrons on exercises or operations. You will spend time in other countries and experience a diversity of cultures and conditions as you support the activities of the squadron you are deployed with. Your duties on deployment will draw on your specific specialisation (Geospatial or Electronic Warfare) and have you working alongside aircrew and other intelligence staff.

At times you may be called upon to deploy on operations at short notice and to work shifts. Such is the varied and dynamic nature of the role that no day is ever the same as an Intelligence Specialist. You may be supporting an Economic Zone Patrol around New Zealand one day, and deployed overseas the next working a multinational exercise involving aircraft, ships and land forces.

Career progression and training

Career Progression

Basic Training

Job Training

Ongoing Training

Specialist Training

You will initially be employed at 230 (Mission Support) Squadron in Auckland; home of the RNZAF Intelligence Trade and responsible for mission support to RNZAF Air Operations. At 230 Squadron you will be part of the Mission Support Flight (MSF) team working with either the Geospatial or Electronic Warfare Sections. You can expect to spend at least six to eight years at 230 Squadron during which time you will support operations and deployments both overseas and within New Zealand.

Over your career you may also complete six to twelve month exchanges with other NZDF and allied units. Options for overseas posts are also feasible along with ongoing opportunities for deployment. Intelligence Specialists continue to grow their skills throughout their career and will increasingly become involved in the management and coordination of staff; rising to become a Section Commander and ultimately potentially head up the Intelligence Team at 230 Squadron.

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 basic military training, you will be posted to 230 Squadron in RNZAF Base Auckland where you will undertake an initial induction process. This induction will introduce you to the different sections within the intelligence trade along with other supported flying squadrons. Following familiarisation to the unit and obtainment of appropriate clearances, you will undertake Air Intelligence Analyst Initial Employment Training at RAAF Base Edinburgh in Australia, to complete an analyst induction course. Post-graduation, you will return to 230 Squadron to undertake consolidation training.

Following advancement to Senior Intelligence Specialist classification, you will continue to advance and develop your expertise in the specialised and niche roles within your respective specialisation. This may involve further training courses both in New Zealand and overseas. You will also begin to undertake a mentoring role in order to develop basic leadership skills in preparation for progression up the chain of command. You can also expect to be deployed on various exercises and operations working in small teams to deliver intelligence support to air units.

As you progress to senior roles within the trade, you will focus on the leadership and management required to lead teams of analysts in support of military air operations. This will involve deploying as a lead of a small team and liaising with Intelligence Officers in support of flying squadrons to produce intelligence products.

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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 accommodation 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 18 years old upon completion of recruit course.
  • You must have been a NZ Citizen for a minimum of 10 years.
  • Meet the citizenship & security requirements to gain TSV security clearance for this trade.
  • You must pass a full Psychological Assessment.
  • Complete a 10 year background history check that can be checked with the New Zealand authorities to obtain high level security clearance.

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 TSV security clearance for this trade, including having been a New Zealand citizen for at least 10 years. 

Find out if you’re eligible here.

There is a 24 month Return of Service associated with the Imagery Specialisation that commences from the completion of your Primary Trade Course.

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