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Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) Sensor Operator (SO)

Overview:  Though no one is physically onboard, Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) have pilots and crew members located within control centers that are often thousands of miles away.  As members of the crew on MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper vehicles, RPA Sensor Operators employ airborne sensors and sophisticated video imagery equipment to monitor airborne, maritime and ground objects.

Position:  Enlisted


Specific Tasks:

  • Conduct reconnaissance and surveillance of potential targets and areas of interest 
  • Discriminate between valid and invalid targets using radar, electro-optical, low-light, infrared video imagery and other tracking systems 
  • Assist RPA pilots through all phases of mission


  • ASVAB score of 64 on General and 54 on Electrical
  • Demonstrated weight lift of 40 pounds
  • Normal color vision  
  • Compliance with medical standards for Ground Based Aircraft Controller Physical 
  • Eligibility for Top Secret security clearance


  • Candidates without prior military experience are required to attend 8 ½ weeks of Basic Military Training (BMT) at JB San Antonio-Lackland, TX followed by Technical Training 
  • Technical Training is 34 days at JB San Antonio-Lackland, TX and JB San Antonio-Randolph, TX 
  • College credits earned: Air and Space Operations Technology - credits vary

Related Civilian Careers:

  • Electro-Mechanical Technicians