Combat Systems Officer (CSO)

Official Air Force CSO Career Page 


To begin flying operationally, you will need to complete your training as a CSO, which can take anywhere from one to two and a half years. Upon graduation from Undergraduate Combat Systems Officer Training (UCT), you will incur a service commitment of six years active duty.


If you do not have a Private Pilot’s license, you will attend Initial Flight Training (non-governmental source, not endorsed by the Air Force) along with pilots and RPA pilots in Pueblo, Colorado. After your training there, you will be sent to Pensacola, Florida for UCT. Here is a non-governmental video with some footage from UCT. UCT is a 9 month long program where you will train aboard the T-6 Texan II and the T-1A Jayhawk. The schedule of the UCT program was recently altered to provide more specialized training to students. You can read about the changes here


The most notable change is that about halfway through the program, on day 85, you will be assigned to your specific job and begin training for that job. You will be assigned to one of four specialties:

  • Weapons System Officer (WSO)

  • Electronic Warfare Officer (EWO)

    • Responsible for operating offensive and defensive electronic systems aboard combat aircraft

    • EWO B-52  (non-governmental) 

  • Navigator (Nav)

    • Responsible for mission planning, aircraft navigation, and crew coordination

    • B-52 Navigator

  • Combat Systems Officer (CSO).

After you track for your specific job and complete UCT, you will head to your operational squadron where you will undergo approximately 6 more months of training on the specific systems that you will be operating. Upon completion of this training, you will be qualified to fly operationally.