Air Defence Gunner

Royal Artillery

At a glance

  • Soldier
  • combat

Defend against air attacks using high-tech guided missiles. Learn all about the technology, get qualifications, make friends and become an outstanding soldier.

  • £18,687The minimum amount you’ll earn during training
  • £23,496Your pay after completing basic trade training
  • AgeFrom 16 years & 0 months to 35 years & 6 months
  • QualificationsNo formal qualifications needed
Female Artillery soldier operating a sky sabre


The Sky Sabre (Regular Army only) and High Velocity Missile weapon systems are used to defend against cruise missiles, jets, attack helicopters and drones. As an Air Defence Gunner, you’ll use these hi-tech weapons to protect sites like airfields, supply depots and headquarters. You'll learn how to spot enemy aircraft and target them for attack; we’ll teach you everything you need to know. In time you could attempt the arduous P Company course and join the battery which supports the Parachute Regiment. Plus, you can get an HGV licence, IT qualifications and leadership skills. With all this plus worldwide travel, great mates, sports and adventurous training, it’s an experience like no other.

The Royal Artillery is the heart of the action - everywhere across the battlefield - providing the British Army with its eyes, ears and firepower. Using high-tech surveillance devices and uncrewed aircraft, the Royal Artillery finds the enemy. We then monitor them before striking decisively. We do this by co-ordinated use of our guns, rockets and missiles, the Army’s attack helicopters and other weapons, including fast jets and even the guns of Royal Navy ships.

Apply now

Key Responsibilities

  • Defend troops from air attacks

  • Work in high-tech weapon systems

  • Destroy enemy targets

  • Learn a highly skilled job role

Have any questions? Talk with us

Master of your craft - Gunner Crew video still

Regular (full time)

Entry requirements

  • Age:

    From 16 years & 0 months to 35 years & 6 months

  • Qualifications:

    No formal qualifications needed

  • Basic physical fitness assessment:

    • Mid Thigh Pull 50kg

    • Medicine Ball Throw 2.7m

    • MSFT (beep test) level 6.6

    Army Reserve standards

    • Mid Thigh Pull: 50kg

    • Medicine Ball Throw: 2m 70cm

    • MSFT (beep test): Level 5 shuttle 8

    More information about the fitness test

Training for the role

Your initial military training teaches you how to be a soldier, covering everything from fieldcraft to how to handle a rifle.

  • If you join as a Junior Soldier (under 17 years and 6 months), you’ll do a 23-week basic military training course at Harrogate.

  • If you join as a Regular Soldier (over 17 years and 6 months), you’ll do the regular 14-week adult basic training.

Step 2
Then it’s off to Larkhill in Wiltshire to become a qualified Gunner. Over 15 weeks, you do military training and sport, learn to drive a car and trailer, and do a cross-country driving course. You also learn to use Army communication systems. You then join 16 Regiment Royal Artillery, Thorney Island in West Sussex, and learn to use the Army's air defence systems.

Qualifications you could get after training

  • HGV truck licence

  • European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL)

  • Computer Literacy and Information Technology Stage 1 (CLAIT)

  • NVQ in Learning and Development

  • Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM)

Pay & benefits

Earn £18,687 a year during training. When you have completed 26 weeks' service or finished basic trade training – whichever comes first – your pay will rise to £23,496.

How to Apply

Once your online application has been approved, you'll meet with a local recruiter. This is your chance to tell us about the role that you're interested in. When you go to the Assessment Centre, you'll take tests - the results will show whether you'd be suitable for this role, or should consider a different role.

More about the joining process

Related Roles

Armoured AS90 Gunner
Royal Artillery

Armoured AS90 Gunner

Driving one of the Army's most powerful weapons: the AS90 is an incredible experience. Learn the ropes, take qualifications and enjoy a full Army life.

Artillery Command Systems
Royal Artillery

Artillery Command Systems

Use the latest systems to get crucial information to troops. Learn about IT, get qualifications and work with people who'll be mates for life.

Artillery Logistic Specialist
Royal Artillery

Artillery Logistic Specialist

Could you get food, water and ammunition to troops on the battlefield? If so, you could be a key part of the Royal Artillery team.