Qualified Weapons Instructor is a qualification given to graduates of the Royal Air Force or Royal Navy Qualified Weapons Instructor course. It is the equivalent to the USAF Fighter Weapons School Course or US Navy's TOPGUN school.
At the end of the first or second tour of duty, the best front line fast jet aircrew are selected for a place on the course. They qualify in both ground school and flying phases of the course in order to return to the frontline to instruct weapons and tactics on operational Squadrons.
The QWI course lasts five months. It begins with an initial two weeks combined ground school where pilots and navigators learn about the weaponry of various aircraft. This is followed by five months of training back at their respective squadrons in the use of the weaponry specific to their own aircraft. The course culminates in the operational phase, the Combined QWI (CQWI), where everything learnt over the past five months is put into practice. Each morning the QWI students are given an Air Tasking Order (ATO). They then need to plan the appropriate missions required to fulfil the objectives laid out by the ATO. The Hercules is included in the course to give the students an opportunity to integrate a slow mover into their mission plans.
All graduates are awarded 'qwi' annotation in the Air Force List.
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