Intelligence Specialist

As an Intelligence Specialist you will specialise in either Imagery, Geospatial or Electronic Warfare. Your specialisation will be determined through an assessment process, matching up your capabilities and strengths to the right specialisation.

As an Image Analyst you will be trained in the exploitation of optical, infrared, electro-optical and radar imagery, as well as training in the use of full motion video. The resulting analysis is used to support the full range of military operations including everything from Fisheries Patrol and Disaster Recovery to combat operations. You will be the eyes of the intelligence trade, looking for things that others can’t see.

Geospatial Specialists are responsible for the production of a range of geospatial data and mission products, which includes everything from maps and charts; spatial analysis of information through to three dimensional fly throughs that show weapon threats, airspace and exercise zones. You will work with a variety of applications and tools that can be used to present and analyse information in a variety of different ways both in terms of hard copy print outs to digital data for use in electronic systems. Geospatial Analysts present information and intelligence in a way that makes it easier for all to understand.

Electronic Warfare Specialists are responsible for the analysis, production and programming of data across the electromagnetic spectrum in order to support electronic warfare support equipments that are fitted to our aircraft. This includes systems that need to be able to detect and identify threats but also includes aircraft self protection systems that are designed to keep our aircraft and aircrew safe.

Your role will see you using state of the art work stations, and other high technology devices and software in the course of your daily duties. A high degree of computer literacy is a must as you manipulate web based application as well as digital data libraries and tools.  Technology is a key partner of the Intelligence Specialist.

You will frequently work in a secure environment with a close knit, highly motivated team who are very mission focused. As an Air Force we are always ready to respond, with Intelligence support being a 24 hour job, you may deploy at short notice and operate in various locations throughout the world. The prospect of shift work can add flexibility to your personal pursuits, but remains a reality of the job.

The world of an Intelligence Specialist is always dynamic and constantly challenging as we support operations in every corner of the world. You may be working up a package supporting a border protection operation today with Customs and Police; and days later deployed overseas supporting operations in Afghanistan. Variety is a key component of the Intelligence Specialists role.

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.

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 (Imagery; 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 a Economic Zone Patrol around New Zealand one day, and deployed overseas the next working a multi national exercise involving aircraft, ships and land forces.

Intelligence Trade personnel operate in small teams across a range of operational environments.  At all rank levels you will interact with members of other squadrons, especially aircrew trades and specialisations, as well as with members of the Army, Navy and wider Government Agencies.

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 within the Imagery, 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.

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.

While undertaking initial Recruit Course you will be paid as a Recruit (see attached pay table). On completion of  your Recruit Course you will be paid as an Aircraftsman and your pay will continue to increase as your career progresses.

  • You must be 17 Years 8 Months or Older on Date of Enlistment
  • Be an NZ Citizen
  • 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.

You must have achieved NCEA level 2 with a minimum of 12 credits in level 2 Science.

Find out more about the NCEA levels and certificate requirements

  • You must be medically fit for service.
  • Colour perception restrictions may apply.

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

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

After successful completion of your Recruit Course, it is likely you will gain experience in the RNZAF Intelligence workplace while your Security Vetting is processed. Subsequently, you will attend a Basic Air Intelligence Training Course of approximately four weeks duration, held at RNZAF Base Auckland. You will be educated on the New Zealand and Military Intelligence Communities, security principles and be introduced to specialist intelligence techniques on this course.

Having completed your Intelligence Training Course, you will then commence on your specialist training course. The duration and location of your training is dependant upon the specialisation to which you are streamed, but in most cases it will involve several weeks to months of overseas based training. No matter what specialisation you are selected for, your training will provide the theory, analytical and practical skills that will enable you to capably perform a variety of tasks within the Defence intelligence community as analysts.

There will be various ongoing training courses relevant to your specialisation to attend throughout your career. This may range from courses in New Zealand through AUT or industry courses, through to highly specialist training overseas. You will also spend your career working alongside other agencies and wider Government where you will learn about helping maintain the economic and security interests of New Zealand.

You will also have the opportunity to attend promotion leadership courses where your ability to manage teams and develop yourself as an individual is enhanced while networking with other people of a similar age and experience throughout the Air Force and Defence Force.

On-going specialist training is the norm, enabling you to grow as a professional and as an individual, enhancing your ability to interpret, display and explain complex data. Specialist training can take a variety of forms from formal classroom based training through to on the job experience either in New Zealand or overseas. 

You will initially be employed at 230 Squadron in Auckland, with employment at other bases throughout your career. During this time you will also have opportunities to be employed in various Defence Joint Service environments and potentially overseas.