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What’s a WSO?

WSO (Weapons Systems Officer)

A Strike Eagle WSO loving life
Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons

The WSO straps into the cockpit behind the pilot or pilots aboard some of the most deadly aircraft in the USAF inventory. WSOs can be found in both fighters and bombers as an essential part of crews that are highly-trained in delivering devastating ordinance when, where and how it is needed to kill bad people and break their stuff. While the pilots will maintain control of the aircraft, WSOs are directly involved in multiple aspects of aviation and weapons delivery.  

In particular, you can expect to operate sensors (high-powered infrared and TV cameras), manage radios, control defensive systems – radar warnings, flares, etc. – and know everything about the stuff that comes off the airplane and makes bad things go away. For that matter, you may be the crewmember inputting coordinates or actively putting the cursor on the target and guiding hundreds of pounds of hate on whatever needs to be killed. 

These communities, as much as, and maybe even more than the rest, are known to work extremely hard and play extremely hard. If you don’t mind the idea of living and breathing Air Force, and if you truly crave putting warheads on foreheads, this may be the path for  you. 

WSO Aircraft include: F-15E Strike Eagle, B1B Lancer, B-52 Stratofotress