Intelligence Analyst
RAF Cranwell

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SAC Ryan W

00:00:04 Hi, my name’s Ryan W and I’m an Intelligence Analyst in the Royal Air Force. Well I mean Intelligence Analysts primarily are dealing with imagery. We have both tactical and strategic sides to the job and in basic terms, it’s depicting pictures, analysing them and then getting intelligence from them. We’ve got new AVs or uninhabited aerial vehicles and yeah, basically these are reconnaissance drones, as you say, which can fly over areas of interest without the need for a pilot.

00:00:36 Just a guy on the floor at the ground station and then we can analyse live feeds coming from the vehicles. Intelligence can give you, you know, the handover of the enemy as such. If you know something they don’t or know what they’re up to and they don’t know what you’re up to, you’ve got the upper hand, you’ve got an advantage.

00:00:57 I’d always been interested in aeroplanes and as a kid, I always wanted to be a pilot but unfortunately I didn’t get the qualifications from school to be a pilot so I had other options given to me by the AFCO and intelligence was the next one in line as such. The AFCO is the Air Force Careers Office.

00:01:16 I joined the Air Force on 16 July 2003 at RAF Holton and I think it was a ten week course, basically turning you from a civilian into a military personnel. After that, it was onto another course, a three month course I believe at DISC Chicksands. After that, I was onto my first operational station.

00:01:40 The basic training, it was just fun. The whole thing was fun. There was loads of sports, learning new things all the time, being active and that’s what I enjoyed. For other people, I’d say the hardest thing was in the first couple of weeks being away from home. You know, some of the young lads 16 years old have never been away from home before. Other than that, it would be the ironing. That’s all.

00:02:01 Well the standards are so high from the staff at Holton that your creases have to be perfect, your shoes have to be bulled to the, you know, shiniest of shines and a lot of guys have never ironed a shirt in their life. Luckily for me, I ironed my school uniforms since I was 12 so again it was a doddle. But everyone helps, mucks in. Some people are good at shoes, some people are good at shirts so you just trade off.

00:02:27 I’ve always been interested in weight training. Again my grandad in the Paras was very active and he got me into the gym from a young age. I decided that I wasn’t just happy with trying to build muscle, I wanted to be stronger so I started dabbling with power lifting. A chief technician at my gym saw potential in me and basically said he’d train me and, you know, go from there. Little did I know he was 11 times world champion himself so yeah, a good, good teacher.

00:03:57 This year, this is my second year in power lifting and I’ve broken British, European and currently hold two world records at my age and weight class, the junior 90kg class and I’ve just returned from Belgium which was funded by the Air Force. I wouldn’t be able to afford it without their help and again, there I broke my own world record and became the 90kg junior world champion.

00:03:26 I’d say the worst point for me of being the new boy at the station, when you don’t know anyone, but within a week, you know, you’ve got mates in the halls and you just settle in really quickly. Other than that, honestly, there’s…I’ve had no other bad points in my five and a half years in the forces as of yet.

00:03:48 The highlights are providing troops with intelligence and then getting feedback saying look, the product you gave us, you know, saved these guys’ lives or the operation was successful, that’s always a…that’s always a good feeling to know. ENDS

Ryan W knows that the Royal Air Force can give you opportunities to pursue personal as well as work related goals. When he didn’t get the grades he needed to be a pilot, Ryan became an Intelligence Analyst. By interpreting images from reconnaissance drones, he now provides information needed to make operations successful and to save lives. A keen power lifter, the Air Force has also funded Ryan’s involvement in the recent championships in Belgium, where he broke his own world record!

More information about Officers in armed forces

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

80%  male 
20%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Officers in armed forces serve as commissioned officers in Her Majesty’s armed forces, foreign and Commonwealth armed forces; plan, direct, organise and administer military operations; and perform duties for which there is no civilian equivalent.
Entry to a commission in the UK armed forces is possible with GCSEs/S grades and A levels/H grades, or with higher academic qualifications, or by promotion from NCO or other rank. Each arm of the forces has different age restrictions. Candidates must pass a medical examination and interview.
  • Advises and provides information on military aspects of defence policy;
  • Plans, directs and co-ordinates military training and manoeuvres;
  • Supervises the operation of military units and monitors the activities of junior officers, NCOs and other ranks;
  • Plans, directs and administers aid to civilian authorities as requested or when faced with civil disorder, natural disaster or other emergency.
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