Careers & Jobs
U.S. Army drone pilots standing around a military drone

Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operator (15W)

  • Enlisted
  • Officer
  • Active Duty
  • Army Reserve
  • Entry Level

Overview

Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operators are remote pilots of unmanned observation aircrafts, aka military drones, or UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) that gather intelligence used in operational tactics. Our drone operators are intelligence specialists; they are integral to providing Army personnel with information about enemy forces and battle areas.

Job Duties

  • Conduct air reconnaissance, surveillance, targeting and acquisition missions
  • Plan and analyze flight missions
  • Perform preflight, in flight and postflight checks and procedures
  • Launch and recover air frame from runway
  • Perform maintenance on communications equipment, power sources, light/heavy wheeled vehicles and crane operations

Requirements

Those who want to serve must first take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, a series of tests that helps you better understand your strengths and identify which Army jobs are best for you.

Training

Job training for an unmanned aircraft systems operator requires 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training and over 23 weeks of Advanced Individual Training with on-the-job instruction. Part of this time is spent in the classroom and in the field.

Some of the skills you’ll learn on your way to becoming an elite drone pilot are:

  • Performing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance simulation missions
  • Preparing maps, charts and intelligence reports
  • Analyzing aerial photographs
  • Using computer systems

Helpful Skills

  • Interest in remote/radio control vehicles
  • Organize information and study its meaning
  • Think and write clearly
  • Attention to detail

Required ASVAB Score(s)

Surveillance & Communications (SC) : 102

Learn more about the ASVAB and see what jobs you could qualify for.

Compensation

Total compensation includes housing, medical, food, special pay and vacation time. Learn more about total compensation.

Earn Cash For In Demand Jobs

You could earn up to $40,000 in cash bonuses just for enlisting under certain Military Occupational Specialties. Visit Jobs in Demand to see if this job qualifies for an enlistment bonus.

Education Benefits

In the Army, qualified students can earn full-tuition, merit-based scholarships, allowances for books and fees, plus an annual stipend for living expenses. Learn more about education benefits.

Future Civilian Careers

The skills you learn as a drone operator in the U.S. Army will help prepare you for a career with federal government agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency. It can also prepare you for other fields such as research or business planning.

PARTNERSHIP FOR YOUTH SUCCESS (PaYS) Program

Those interested in a career as a UAV or drone pilot in the Army may be eligible for civilian employment, after the Army, by enrolling in the Army PaYS program. The PaYS program is a recruitment option that guarantees a job interview with military friendly employers that are looking for experienced and trained veterans to join their organization. Find out more about the Army PaYS Program at http://www.armypays.com.

 

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