AAC Officer Career progression

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Omega90129, Mar 7, 2010.

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  1. Hi, just looking to get some advice on what the average career of an Officer in the AAC looks like so would appreciate any of your viewpoints. I'll be starting Sandhurst in May and have Flight Grading shortly so am busy trying to decide where my first choice lies in terms of selecting a Regiment.

    At the moment, I'm in two minds between joining the AAC or Infantry. The reasons the AAC appeals are obvious and if I am successful at Grading I will probably select it as my first choice in the hope of being selected at the RSB. On the other hand, the prospect of being a platoon commander and all the challenges that offers appeals a huge amount at this stage.

    From my understanding, it appears that as a pilot in the AAC there is not the same opportunity to work with, lead and manage soldiers in the same way as a Platoon Commander would in the infantry. As a young Officer on the pilot's course are you responsible for any soldiers or is a case of solely training to fly for 2 odd years?

    Also, thinking more long term after a few years flying and a few years as a staff officer, is there the opportunity for any command appointments in the same way as exists for Officers in the Infantry? I guess my question is essentially, after flying, will I be behind a desk for the remainder of my career or will it be possible to do any command appointments, and hence be promoted to the senior levels of the Army.

    Sorry if my assumptions are incorrect or over simplified but I can only say how things appear from the outside so would appreciate the viewpoints of any serving or former Officers.

    Thanks very much for the help
  2. Bad CO

    Bad CO LE Admin Reviews Editor Gallery Guru

    Yes .....

    Whilst a student you will be solely responsible for getting yourself through the course - which is normally plenty! Once you reach a front line unit you'll be given command of a Flight although I'd say this is in not in the same league as command of an Infantry Platoon.

    The simple answer is yes - AAC officers command at sub-unit (OC) and Regimental (CO) levels in exactly the same way as the rest of the Army. The only difference is that you'll be required to do all the usual command stuff (reports, discipline, tactical planning, etc) and you'll have to get in an aircraft and fly it. Very few, if any, other capbadges have this additional challenge.

    Beyond Regimental level you'll compete for Brigades, etc with the rest of the Army and historically this isn't something AAC officers have managed very well. Having said that there are one 3 star (Lt General), one 2 star (Maj General) and a number (three?) of Brigadiers (including one who is currently commanding a type A Brigade) who are late AAC. This is pretty good going for a very small Corps.
  3. I know a few people who have passed grading then taken another option at RSB with the view to transfer over later; which is sensible if you really want to do both and are fortunate enough to have been successful at grading and all RSBs. Something else to bear in mind - if you get AAC, you are more than likely to get an inf attachment prior to starting flying which will see you either as a pl comd back home, or as attached to a pl on ops. Best of both?

    There is always the transfer over late option - if you didn't get to do grading, or passed but were unsuccessful at RSB.

    And as Bad CO says, there are plenty of successful ex-AAC staff officers out there, and plenty of AAC bods working in both Bde and Div in other roles.
  4. Bad CO

    Bad CO LE Admin Reviews Editor Gallery Guru

    Unfortunately not - the increase in length of flying training means that inf attachments were stopped quite a long time ago.
  5. Not at all... done straight out of RMAS, and has been done for a couple of years now. See PMs
  6. Its rare and certainly not the norm as it was a few years ago. From the past few years, I could count on one Stowmarket hand how many DEs have done an exchange with either Inf or Tankies. Just aint the time to regularly do it now mores the shame. And with very few 'E3s' coming to the Corps, that low level command experience can at times be evident and sorely lacking.
  7. Since when did that ever bother anyone senior in DAAVN though? Producing enough 1* is all they're concerned about, regardless of the product at the OF1-4 level.

    Things have only started to change with the threatened outpouring of offices in the last few years, yet due to the recession and its increase in retention, Glasgow thinks all is fine and they have it right all along?!

    It's certainly enough to make you leave...
  8. Thanks for the advice. The idea of doing an attachment with the infantry for 6 months appealed hugely but I was recently told it would only be a possibility if there wasn't any space on a pilots course for a few months after commissioning. As you say, that doesn't seem too likely which is a shame.

    The idea of joining the Infantry and then transferring after a couple of years seems like the best of both worlds, however, I was under the impression that this method of entry was increasingly less common. If I did well at Grading but joined the Infantry, any idea what the chances of joining the AAC would be in couple of years? The last thing I want is to try and transfer at a later stage only to find out it's not possible, therefore missing my opportunity! I will be 25.5 on commissioning so not sure if that is a consideration or not?

    Thanks again, appreciate the advice
  9. Omega, no one here can tell you what to do. It's ultimately your choice. Each one has its own risks and merits attached.

    Go Inf with the possibility to go flying later? I agree that the chances now are rarer than they were and possibly more so in the future. How would you broach the subject to your new CO that you've already done Flying Grading with the idea that you're off to the AAC in the near future?

    Go all out for AAC now? After spending almost 3 years in a training environment, you may start to get slightly disillusioned at your career choice. And when you eventually get to a Regt, your first real chance of command may only arrive as and when you become a Squadron Commander. In between, you'll put all your expensive flying training to good use being SO3 Bog Roll Procurement or Flight Commander to the two Airtroopers you have in your squadron. (I'd suggest being a Flight Commander in a proper Flight with aircraft isn't exactly 'Command', more management).

    If you have a massive yearning to command a load of blokes in an operational environment, go Inf. If you want to fly, go AAC. If you want to command a load of blokes and fly, join the People's Liberation Army 15th Airborne Corps :wink:

    Not trying to sound all doomy and gloomy but unfortunately, in this day and age, it's pretty much one thing or the other. Having both isn't really possible nowadays.
  10. On your age I'd go AAC. Are you at the hurst yet? You will get an attachment- it's a 3-6 month wait for the pilots course at the moment.
  11. Bad CO

    Bad CO LE Admin Reviews Editor Gallery Guru

    Doh - shows how out of touch I am!
  12. Have to agree with the above, attachments pre-Pilot's Course are still possible. I'm just finishing mine! All those who Commissioned into the AAC from my intake completed an attachment, some only a month or so long, 3 or 4 of us have been away for 6 months or more.
    Some got on tours, others didn't, it depends on how your host unit wants to play it.
  13. Just quickly...how long from leaving Sandhurst will it be until you can deploy on Ops? It sounds a bit gung-ho, but I'm also considering AAC and with all the pilot training I would hate to miss out on Afghanistan whilst it's still quite hot.

    (How could you effectively command troops who've done tours of a war zone when you haven't been there...that's my logic!)
  14. Dont worry, I dont think that the Afghan thing is going away too quick. Apparently they are building Married Quarters at Bastion!
  15. After Sandhurst if you go to the AAC expect to be in the Flying training pipeline for about 2-3 yrs, should you be attached to another Unit before commencing training then it could be a lot quicker.

    Be careful what you wish for!