Qualified Weapons Instructor

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"QWI" redirects here. For other uses, see QWI (disambiguation).

Qualified Weapons Instructor (QWI) (queue-why) is a qualification given to graduates of the Royal Air Force or Royal Navy Qualified Weapons Instructor courses. It is the equivalent to the United States Air Force Weapons School Course or US Navy's TOPGUN school. Graduates of a QWI course are entitled to wear a QWI 'patch' on their flying suit which denotes their status as an expert practitioner in air warfare.


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 and C-17 are included in the course to give the students an opportunity to integrate a slow mover into their mission plans.

There are QWI courses for Harrier, Tornado GR4, Hawk and Typhoon as of 2010.

In Feb 2010 the RAF introduced an additional new QWI course for aircrew of Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance platforms (such as Reaper, Nimrod, Sentry and Sentinel) as well as Air Battle Managers and Intelligence Officers. This course, the QWI (ISR) Cse has the equivalent status of the QWI annotation and equates to the Intel Weapons Course run by the USAF Weapons School. This course is run by 54(R) Sqn RAF and also lasts 5 months. [1]

Pilots of other airforces can attend the school through the Ministry of Defence's International Defence Training Programme.[2]

All graduates are awarded 'QWI' annotation in the Air Force List.

There are equivalent courses for helicopter and multi-engine Aircrew. These are the Qualified Helicopter Tactics Instructor (QHTI) or Qualified Multi Engine Tactics Instructor (QMETI) Course. They focus on tactics, training and procedures of adversaries, as well as ensuring that all graduated QHTI/QMETI Aircrew are subject matter experts on all threat systems this includes Infra Red, Radar and low technical threats.

The QHTI course and qualification is unique as it is the only time that helicopter crews are able to 'dogfight' with another helicopter. This is due to the very close in nature and very small turning circle representing a high danger level if crews are not well practiced. QHTIs also are experts in employing aircraft crew served weapons to maximum effect.

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