Weapon Systems Operator
RAF Cranwell

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Flt Sgt Scott Steven Toomer

00:00:04 My name is Scott Steven Toomer and I am a Weapons Systems Operator in the Royal Air Force. We’re formed of four different types of trades, we have a crewmen and crewmen operate in the back of helicopters flying around at 50 feet operating the weapons systems, the navigation, looking after the passengers and the freight.

00:00:21 We have a fixed wing crewmen, they do a very similar job but on large transport aircraft and operate obviously in far greater distances. We have electronic warfare specialists. Their job is mostly involved around using very sophisticated radar systems searching for surface contacts. The last role we have is what we call linguists. These guys are very specialised.

00:00:41 They have to have quite good language skills and they operate quite a sophisticated surveillance aircraft based up at RAF Waddington up the road here. I specialise with the crewmen side of life. I’ve been operating both on fixed wing aircraft and on helicopters since I joined the Air Force in 1988. I’ve gone from fixed wing to helicopters back to fixed wing.

00:01:01 My father was in the Royal Air Force so I sort of was brought up in the Air Force family, you know, lived on military bases all throughout my life and it was just something for me that seemed very natural to continue with. My father never put any pressure on my, he was never one of these people who said, “Well, you know, I think you ought to go for this career, son, because it’s going to put you in good stead.”

00:01:21 He was very supportive. But I just thought, “Well, actually, I quite like this look of way of life,” and when I looked around at jobs flying because I’d been fortunate enough to have been on several stations that had aircraft on. It just seemed a very natural and fantastic job to do. I went down for selection and they said, “Yeah, you can go and fly for a living,” and I went straight in. So, straight from school I had a couple of jobs waiting for my application to be processed but I came straight into the Air Force as air crew. It was actually the officer in charge of the careers office here in Lincoln who suggested to me, “Well, if you can’t make it as a pilot have you ever thought about being aircrew but sitting in the back?”

00:02:00 And I’d never heard of a loadmaster and the more I looked into it I thought, “Well, actually, this is a fantastic job.” I went through selection, I passed the pilot test but didn’t pass the navigator test and in those days you had to pass both. I was given the option to either come back in 12 months time to try again or I’d passed the loadmaster test, did I want to join the Air Force straight away and fly?

00:02:21 And, having looked more and more into it, the variety of roles that I could fulfil, the places I could go, it just seemed a very, very straight forward decision for me to join up straight away and be a loadmaster in the Royal Air Force.

00:02:34 I would like to encourage every person to join. Because I think it’s a fantastic way of life.

00:02:39 But I do think it’s something that every young man and woman who is even remotely thinking about this job needs to sit down and think about what they’re getting involved in. We don’t live in a democracy. We operate under the auspices of our political leaders and if they wish us to go and do something we can’t just turn around and say, “Well, actually, no, I’m not going to do that.”

00:03:02 We’ve taken on the jobs of defending this country and, you know, operating in areas that our political masters decide we need to go and do. What I will say is if it’s something that worries you, come and talk to careers office staff about your concerns. My biggest piece of advice is sit down and talk to your parents.

00:03:22 If you have loved ones, if you’ve got a boyfriend or a girlfriend or a husband or a wife, again, sit down and talk to them about your decisions and your thoughts and if they have the support from you and you have their support, the Air Force will always try and support you. And hopefully we can keep you in and give you a fulfilling career.

00:03:41 Twenty years I’ve been doing this job and I can safely say that I wouldn’t want to do anything else. Flying is one of those environments that can be mundane, it can be boring but when it’s exciting, it’s very exciting.

00:03:54 The buzz of flying around on a helicopter, for instance, at 50 feet from the ground, when you’re flying and people look up and they’re just in awe of you and you’re waving and they wave back, it sounds corny but it’s a great kick when it happens. So, yeah, I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. ENDS


Scott Steven Toomer was brought up in a military family and followed in his father’s footsteps to join the RAF. As Weapon Systems Operator – Loadmaster, he fulfils his ambition to fly. Drawn to the job by the variety of roles involved and the places he is able to visit, he would encourage anyone to join the RAF after thinking carefully about all that they are signing up for.

More information about Officers in armed forces

average salary

The UK average salary is £28,758

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

20%  female 
80%  male 

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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