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Operators of Army Unmanned Aircraft Systems, or UAS, play an integral role in providing intelligence and battlefield information in support of military operations around the world.

Soldiers working in this MOS conduct air reconnaissance, providing an eye in the sky to friendly forces below, helping them identify enemy strategies, locations and vulnerabilities, creating a technological advantage over the enemy.

This career field requires individuals who have an interest in UAS operations, organizing and analyzing information and who can qualify for a secret clearance and pass a flight physical.

After successfully completing 10 weeks of Army Basic Combat Training you will attend 18 to 25 weeks of Advanced Individual Training at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. Where you will learn basic ground school and flight simulator training, plan and analyze flights, charts and end of mission reports, perform preflight, in flight and post flight checks and procedures, launch and recover air frames from runways; analyze aerial imagery, and perform operator level maintenance on communications equipment, power sources, and light and heavy wheeled vehicles.

After successfully completing your Advanced Individual Training you will be awarded the Army Aviation Basic Crewmember Badge, and be eligible for worldwide assignments in this unique and growing career field. As a UAS operator you may have the opportunity to advance in your career through additional technical, tactical and leadership training.

The skills and knowledge you acquire as a Soldier can help you in your transition from the military to the civilian work force, where you may find employment with Government agencies or with commercial businesses which employ drone operators.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operator, ensuring mission success as an essential and integral member of the Army battlefield team.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operator (15W)

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


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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