RAF Careers – Life as a Regular

Whether they’re on a UK base or tour abroad, RAF Regulars make a full time commitment to serving. They enjoy the RAF lifestyle all day, every day.

RAF Regulars are full-time personnel that can be posted in the UK and all over the world. Most Regulars work normal five-day weeks and have evenings and weekends to themselves. That said, they’re not nine-to-fivers; they do what’s needed to get the job done, which could mean working round the clock, going on a mission at a moment’s notice, or transferring to a new location.


All RAF Regulars live on base during their initial training so they can get to know others and see what life in the RAF is like. This helps integrate you into the RAF community whether you choose to live on-base or off-base afterwards.


The RAF has many bases across the UK, which you can explore below. Each base has its own role, from front-line operations to training establishments. Most bases are like small, self-contained towns with shops, gyms, playing fields, crèches, post offices, cinemas, and even bowling alleys. Some are close to large cities while others are more remote because things like night flying need to be conducted in less populated areas.


Regulars have many accommodation options. They can choose to live in a barrack block or ‘Mess’ on base, commute from home, or rent nearby – all of which are subsidised by the RAF. Most Regulars choose to live on base with hundreds of other personnel and their families. Along with subsidised food and great sports facilities, there’s also a great social life  there for the taking.


Food on base is subsidised and will cost you around £28 per week for three meals a day. You can expect good quality food that caters for all dietary requirements, including religious and vegetarian preferences.

Friends & Family

Most RAF personnel work normal hours and have evenings and weekends free to spend with family and friends. If you’re not on duty, and your family isn’t already living with you on base, you can leave to visit them whenever you wish after initial training. You also get six weeks of paid holiday every year.


We do everything we can to cater to your personal requirements, including religion. Chaplains are on hand, along with other religious counsellors. Prayer facilities are also usually available and we’ll adapt your uniform, catering and duty roster to meet your religious requirements, where possible.


In the RAF you will be part of a large community. Advice and support services will be available to help with everything from settling in to planning a foreign posting for you and your family.


Although you’ll probably spend much of your working life in the UK, most Regular roles involve at least some overseas travel. Typically around 10 per cent of RAF personnel are overseas on long or short term posts at any one time.

Short Term Post

The RAF takes on challenges and is ready for anything at any time. For RAF Regulars this means you could be sent on short term overseas duty to use your skills to help with specific, temporary projects. Overseas duty can vary in length from a few days to a few months, depending on the job.

Past duties have included airlifting supplies to a snow-bound mountain village, rescuing stranded crew from enemy territory, evacuating casualties from abroad to the UK, and providing relief to victims of natural disasters.

As part of a short term post you could see people and places you’d never normally see, and find yourself stretched and challenged in ways an average civilian job could never offer

Long Term Post

The RAF polices the skies and supports peacekeeping and reconstruction initiatives around the globe. We do this through permanent bases, temporary bases, embassies, NATO and exchange posts.

RAF Regulars can be posted at these locations for two to three years, sometimes getting the opportunity to work alongside our coalition partners.

Life on long term post tends to be similar to living on a base in the UK. You’ll find typical amenities, well maintained accommodation, and the same high quality food. Beyond that you’ll get to experience a place you normally wouldn’t, and have the opportunity to travel during peacetime posts.

We also provide a network of support for your partner and children while you’re away from home, but most personnel have the opportunity to take their dependent family with them.