As an Electronic Warfare Operator you will find yourself working with an extensive range of communications technologies, employing leading edge systems and procedures.

  • Service
  • Specialisation
    Intelligence, IT and Communications
  • Location
  • Starting Salary
  • Upcoming Intake
    26 July, 2021
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About the role

As an RNZ Signals Electronic Warfare Operator you will find yourself working with an extensive range of communications technologies employing leading edge systems and procedures to detect, intercept, collect, identify, analyse and exploit electronic emissions contained within the electromagnetic spectrum.

Job on base

Working in the Electronic Warfare environment means that you will have to obtain and continually maintain a TOP SECRET security clearance as your day to day work involves working within a highly sensitive environment.

Initially you will be posted to the Electronic Warfare Squadron located at Burnham, just south of Christchurch. You can expect to spend an initial 3-5 years in this environment. Electronic Warfare Operators generally work within small teams of three-five personnel in both field and office environments.

Job on deployment

RNZ Signals Electronic Warfare Operators can be found in small contingents around the globe in support of New Zealand's military commitments on operations. Additional opportunities also exist to train and exercise with other military nations such as Australia, Canada, UK, and US. Other military ties could also see you exercising with other allied nations through bi-lateral or other uni-lateral military training agreements.

To be an effective EW Operator you need to like the outdoors, be an effective problem solver and be able to think fast on your feet in short windows of time.

Career progression and training

Career Progression

Basic training

Job training

Ongoing training


Operational deployments performing Electronic Warfare duties will be available to those with the desire and drive to succeed once you have gained some experience post your Junior Electronic Warfare course.

Upon successful enlistment into the Army you will be posted to Waiouru Army base. Here you will do 16 weeks of basic military training to learn various subjects including:

  • Organisation and Administration
  • Army Customs and Protocol
  • Drill and Parades
  • Military Field Skills and Weapon Training
  • First Aid
  • Physical Fitness


You will start your initial communications training with this 12 week course conducted at the School of Signals, where you will learn to operate a broad range of Army communications equipment utilised at the tactical level. This course will prepare you to progress to advanced training within the Electronic Warfare environment and will strengthen your comradeship with fellow RNZ Signals Corps members who will become life long friends within the communications environment.


This six week course focuses on providing you with the fundamental principles of collection and dissemination of sensitive information across the Electronic Warfare environment. You will learn about conducting Electronic Warfare operations in a small team, under tactical conditions day and night. Your ability to understand and adhere to communications security principles, coupled with your capacity to operate specialist Electronic Warfare equipment will be the foundation of learning for this course. Being a team member who can apply the fundamentals of technology and Electronic Warfare, combined with possessing physical courage will see you successfully graduate as a junior Electronic Warfare Operator. With experience ‘on the job’ you could be on EW operations in a short space of time.




By the time you attend this course, you will have a sound understanding of EW operations at the tactical level, in particular in the area of detection, interception and collection. You will also have been qualified as a junior EW operator for a minimum of 18months. The Intermediate EW Course at 6 weeks duration focuses on training EW personnel to conduct detailed analysis of complex information derived from the electromagnetic spectrum. During this course you will be introduced to the specifics of analysis, inclusive of a range of tools and capabilities that will allow you to derive patterns and linkages of communications systems and other electronic targets of interest. The final product you and your team compile and deliver to the commander on the ground will directly affect their decisions on the battlefield. You may even contribute to ensuring the safety of your comrades and coalition partners, military and civilian - this role is that important.




Having entered this stage, your Electronic Warfare career will have positioned you into the management arena at team leader/junior manager level. You will most likely have operational Electronic Warfare experience and you will have attained enough leadership experience to lead small to medium sized teams on operations. We will train you to be competent in the fielding and management of electronic warfare systems and personnel within an operational area. You will be capable of prioritising workloads, performing systems analysis and applying the highest security protocols across your team. Your planning and reporting capacity will be second to none, and you will know how to prioritise the delivery of your outputs to ensure your team collects and gets the right information to the right place at the right time. You will be highly regarded by your supervisors and commanders and your competence in collection and analysis will be sought after for the next operation.

From time to time, other opportunities will be extended to you for attending specialist training both trade related, and in generic military skill-sets. Such experiences normally arise after demonstration of good work performance and will normally position you for further professional development in leadership and management, or simply to enhance your trade knowledge with emerging technologies.


Salary and benefits

Careers in the Army are well-rewarded, diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, your salary will rise accordingly.




Starting Trade Training


Higher Rank

Benefits and allowances

There are many additional benefits to being in the Defence Force, that will make your money go further.

For example, on top of your basic salary you can expect ‘Military Factor’. This provides you with significant extra financial rewards because of the commitment you’ve made to serve your country.

Free medical and dental

Access to subsidised equipment on base

Subsidised food on base

Competitive superannuation, up to 4% with KiwiSaver

Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Entry requirements



Fitness and Medical


Period of Service

  • Meet the citizenship and security requirements to gain TSV security clearance for this trade
  • Minimum age for this trade is 17.5 years old due to the requirement to hold a TSV clearance. However, the preferred minimum age is 20 years old.

You must have 10 NCEA Level 1 credits in each Literacy and Numeracy.

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.

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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