UAV/UAS Operator


Ancora imparo
I am currently an 11B1P (Airborne Infantryman) and am scheduled to ETS the ARNG in October 2009 if I don't reenlist. Either way, I will be done with the Infantry after October. I have an opportunity to go to OCS this summer, but apparently the only aviation job available to Army officers is aircraft pilot. I will be 40 y/o next month and I also wear glasses so flying is not a valid option for me. There aren't any other officer branches/positions in the Army that interest me so I will probably not accept the invitation to attend OCS.

I know that people say anything is waiverable in the military, but I have been constantly trying to get a flight slot for over 15 years now and have not been successful in getting a waiver approved for me, so that myth is busted.

Anyhow, I am an instrument rated ASEL/AMEL Commercial pilot and was wondering if there was anybody here that could tell me what that MOS is really like. No recruiting BS, just straight up what it's like and how it compares with actual flying. I've heard that Army UAV/UAS operators are enlisted and I've also heard that they are WOs, so which is it? Both/either? Can an officer be a UAV/UAS operator?

Do the operators just fly the UAVs/UASs or do they also maintain them? How long is a typical shift? Is there a vision and age restriction to flying UAVs/UASs? Is there a seperate MOS for each UAV/UAS airframe or is there just one MOS (15W) and the airframes are ASIs? Can I request to fly the Warrior?

I am within my one year window of ETS, so any information you may have about this MOS would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.


Hubschrauber Flieger
As an Army Officer you will not be a UAV operator. You would be a UAV unit leader, maintenance manager, etc. However, to even do those jobs, you'd have to be an aviation-branched officer, which means you'd have to be a rated pilot - an option not available to you.

If you stayed enlisted, you could certainly become a 15W.

According to this information paper, all UAV operators are now 15Ws.


Ancora imparo
Thanks for your reply Ian. Looks like the different airframes are ASIs. Also, I have heard the Hunter is going away, to be replaced by the Warrior. Warrior ASI wasn't mentioned in that paper though.

Would still like to know what the job is like.


Well-Known Member
If you have 300 PIC you could apply directly with General Atomics. My understanding is that they hire civilian predator operators. Be a "factory pilot of sorts". I bet with your experience, they would talk to you if they are hiring. That UAV experience may open some doors in the reserves.