Drone Careers for Ex-Military Personnel

October 26

Leaving the Australian Defence Force is a big decision. There are lots of things you’ll need to adjust to, including finding a new career you’ll love.

There are lots of options out there – your training probably provided qualifications you can use to continue your ADF career in the civilian world. If you’ve got the skills (or if you’re prepared to learn something new), the drone industry is one of Australia’s fastest-growing sectors.

Drones are being put to use in hundreds of creative ways. As a drone pilot, you’ll have the opportunity to fly a huge variety of mission types and play a role in situations such as emergency response operations.

If you’re getting ready to explore life beyond the ADF then we’re going to have a look at some of the options available to you!


Transferable Skills as a Drone Pilot

Drones originally started life as a military technology. They’re widely used by the ADF, but they have also become a huge industry in the civilian world. Civilian drones are used extensively for surveying, mapping, inspections, agriculture, filming and a variety of emergency response applications.

For those who worked with drones in the ADF, the transferable skills you learned could be the kickstart your civilian career needs. Companies that use drone services are always in need of skilled pilots. Civilian drones are a major expense for most companies, and skilled pilots are a surefire way to protect the investment and get more from the technology.

While you’ll need to earn civilian qualifications to become a drone pilot, previous experience is a huge leg-up in the industry.

If you don’t have any previous experience with drone platforms then there’s nothing stopping you from making the career switch. Earning your civilian qualifications is simple, and that’s all you really need to get started as a drone pilot.


Emergency Response Capabilities

Drones are widely used in emergency response situations. Because they can be launched rapidly and retrieve a wide range of useful data, drones are the ideal platform for managing floods, fires, earthquakes and disaster relief.

Emergency response drones are used to:

  • Locate missing people
  • Assess affected areas
  • Help ground teams plan missions
  • Deliver supplies to trapped communities and people
  • Provide support, even in smoky or dark conditions
  • Provide lighting to help rescuers and survivors

With modern connectivity, emergency response drones can feed information to anywhere in the world. That’s particularly useful for missions that involve remote response and international support.


Search and Rescue Capabilities

Finding people in remote places is a challenge for rescue teams. Extreme terrain such as forests and mountains can obscure rescue efforts and make it difficult to obtain accurate location data. Worse, flying helicopter missions in these locations poses a serious risk to rescue teams.

Drones are the ideal platform for assessing large areas quickly. They can also be equipped with infrared sensors that make it much easier to locate missing persons. Combined with high-fidelity camera systems, GPS and laser range finders, drones can quickly and efficiently locate anyone who’s in trouble.


Medical Capabilities

Remote communities and emergency situations often require medical services. Accessing these areas has historically been a challenge, but long-range drone technology is changing that.

Companies are investing in systems that will use drones to deliver patient-critical healthcare products such as defibrillators and blood. Using drones cuts down on the need for ground or air-based transport, improves response times in critical situations, and reduces environmental impact.


What Qualifications Do I Need to Become a Civilian Drone Pilot?

Civilian drone pilots are subject to the standards set out by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). If you’re interested in becoming a drone pilot, you’ll need to earn your Remote Pilots Licence (RePL).

The easiest way to earn an RePL is to work with a drone training organisation like UAV Training. Our programs cover flight theory and hands-on training with a variety of industry-standard drone platforms. Upon successful completion of your training, we can issue your RePL, which allows you to work as a pilot for a business that offers drone services.

While we covered a few of the major drone capabilities above, earning an RePL is your gateway into many more industries, including:

  • Mining and prospecting
  • Construction and engineering
  • Infrastructure maintenance
  • Surveying and mapping
  • Agriculture
  • Emergency response

These roles are expanding as drone technology matures. As ex-military personnel, having transferable skills makes you an attractive candidate for any of these jobs, so an RePL is a great way to build a sustainable career.


Transfer Your Skills and Start Your Drone Career with Toll Uncrewed Systems

There are thousands of career options for anyone leaving the ADF. If you’re looking for a change, or if you’d like to put your existing skills to good use, a career in the drone industry is a fantastic starting point!

Toll Uncrewed Systems offers accredited RPAS training that allows you to earn qualifications as a drone pilot. Our drone licence program delivers a mix of theoretical coursework and hands-on flight training that will prepare you for any role you’re interested in.

You can explore our drone training courses online, or chat with a consultant if you need help selecting the right program!

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