Communications System Operator

For a modern army to function, communications are vital. As a Communication Systems Operator you will be working with the some of New Zealand’s most sophisticated communications equipment and technology to keep the Army's command and control systems up and running.

As a Communication System Operator you will provide communications and information systems advice and solutions in the planning, implementing and supporting of communications bearers for the NZ Army.  This will primarily voice, data via radio, and satellite communications with copper and fibre-optic cabling solutions.  You will run the radio frequency networks, and also our wideband communications that are satellite and data centric.

When on campl you have the opportunity to work at Linton within 2 Signals Squadron and the Regimental Headquarters, Burnham within 4 Signals Squadron, Auckland as part of the Sigs Troop, Trentham and Waiouru.  You will also have the opportunit to work alongside other NZ Army units as well as the Air Force and Navy.

As a Communication Systems Operator your role on camp is to support other Army units by providing communication and information system equipment, procedures and personnel for training and exercises.  You will be required to plan, install and manage Army communication and information systems.  This includes Tactical Mobile Communication Systems (Radio) that operate within NZ Army, military satellite systems, and telephony equipment, and the back bone network for the Land Tactical Information Network.

Communications Systems Operators are highly deployable, and are employed in a variety of overseas missions and exercises, during combat, stability and support, or disaster relief primarily in support of other units. We currently have Communications Systems Operators deployed in Timor-Leste, Afghanistan, and the Solomon Islands.

Currently Communication Systems Operators are deployed around the world.  Those deployed are operating high tech communication equipment 24/7, ensuring deployed headquarters and units can communicate with each other as well as back to New Zealand.  This allows important information to be received and sent at the right time.

As your career progresses you will continue to develop your skills and eventually work towards becoming a signals instructor. As an instructor, you can be posted to Waiouru to the School of Signals.

Careers in the Army 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 a Private and your pay will continue to increase as your career progresses.

  • You must be at least 17.5 years of age due to the requirement to hold a TSV clearance. However, the preferred minimum age is 20 years old.
  • Be a NZ Citizen
  • Meet the citizenship & security requirements to gain TSV security clearance for this trade
  • No decreased colour perception
  • Some typing ability and computer skills will make your application more competitive
  • A Class 1 restricted driver's licence is recommended, but is not compulsory

You must have achieved the NCEA level 1 Literacy and Numeracy requirements

Find out more about the NCEA levels and certificate requirements

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

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 find out if you have what it takes to be in the Army, and 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 telecommunications training with this three-month course, where you will learn radio voice procedure, basic information systems and be introduced to some of the Army's communications equipment including the Tactical Mobile Communications Systems.


This Course equips you with higher level communication skills including data, satellite and Information Systems skills. You will be taught the theory and implementation of ground base satellite systems. This course also includes the engineering of long range data systems.


These courses are made up of four electives. The electives specialise in Electronic Warfare, UHF Multi-Channel Bearer Systems, Strategic multi-channel satellite systems and Advanced Line Laying Techniques. The Advanced Line Laying Techniques course is associated with civilian qualifications - these being BISCI Installer Level One, Employ Fall Arrest Systems, and Conduct Pole Top Rescue.


These courses are higher level courses which combine trade knowledge gained from the Junior and Specialist courses. Your knowledge of Satellite, Data, and Electronic Warfare will be enhanced to a higher level of understanding.


The Detachment Commanders Course and the Troop Sergeants Course are part of your career progression. They are designed to test your trade knowledge and skills as well as your leadership ability. Base level management is conducted during these courses and enhanced at Unit level.


A more advanced course which will train you in the administration, design and management of communications systems. The Communications Information Systems Managers Course is designed to test your management skills and your ability to manoeuvre communications assets on the battlefield.

During your first three years of training as a Communications Systems Operator you will be posted to either 2 Signal Squadron, RNZ Signals at Linton Military Camp or 3 Signal Squadron, RNZ Signals at Burnham Military Camp.

*keyword Combat Communicator