Weapons Systems Analyst Ref. 2583

Black History MonthMind Silver AwardThe Times Top 100Disability confident leaderThe Prince's Responsible BusinessStonewall Diversity Champion 2021The Guardian UK 300 logoSocial Mobility Foundation Award

Technology Roles
Cheltenham, Yorkshire
£30,831 to £46,146 (depending on skills and experience). A one-off Recruitment Bonus and an annual Specialist Skills Bonus may be available once skills are assessed at interview.

About Us

We’re GCHQ, and we unlock the complex world of communications to make a real difference to the safety of the nation. We work closely with our partners in the intelligence community to safeguard Britain's people, interests, and businesses from threats such as serious organised crime, people and drugs trafficking, terrorism and cyber-attacks.

The Role

The UK maintains a detailed understanding of foreign threat systems in the interest of national security. This unique and fascinating role involves conducting technical data analysis to understand the capabilities of foreign weapons and related technologies. In short, this is work you won’t find anywhere else.

Weapons System Analysts play a valuable part in informing UK defence planning and procurement, making a vital contribution to the UK’s defence capability. You’ll also provide regular insights into world events and have opportunities for international collaboration. You don’t need any previous experience with the technology, as all training is provided; in fact, we have some great analysts who had never worked in this field before.

Using a wide range of tools and techniques, you’ll develop your own analytical methods and employ these when collaborating with colleagues. So, you’ll be someone excited about finding solutions that others miss, and support UK and international partners in solving problems together. We’ll look to you to provide reliable, informed guidance to an expert community in the UK and overseas. And, as you become the go-to in your field, you’ll also take on mentoring opportunities to support colleagues with their own development.

About You

Most people begin their careers with us at entry-level, but depending on your experience we may be able to offer you a more senior role within the team. This depends on your experience, including working with military technology in the armed forces or industry, or relevant transferrable skills from academia or other walks of life. 

You’ll need to have a degree (2:2 minimum) or equivalent qualifications in a STEM subject, or relevant work experience in a technical/engineering role that involves detailed data analysis and report writing. You’ll also have GCSE (4 or above) or equivalent in maths and English Language.

Successful candidates also:

  • Enjoy problem solving and presenting their analytical findings
  • Like working both independently and collaboratively
  • Are motivated to make a positive difference and willing to learn analysis techniques
  • Have sound communication skills

It’s not essential for you to have the following, so don’t deselect yourself, but you could also have:

  • Directly relevant experience (e.g. working with military hardware)
  • A data-science background and/or experience in this field
  • For some lines of work, a good grounding in physics (at least A-level)
  • A background or knowledge of communications engineering for some roles

Above all, we’re looking for people with enthusiasm and a positive attitude to acquiring new skills and learning about unfamiliar technology. Tenacious and naturally curious, you’ll enjoy solving problems and demonstrate a keen willingness to develop your own expertise.

Training and Development

Whilst there’s some formal or classroom training provided, much of the learning takes place on-the-job – meaning your contributions begin within months of joining. In addition to a line manager, all new starters are assigned a mentor who’ll help you complete your training plans. And, you’ll be encouraged to move around within the team, so you’ll constantly be exposed to new learning experiences. There are even opportunities for postings to other UK or overseas locations.

Being specialists, our analysts are able to earn specialist pay which increases as they move up through a series of assessed levels.  There are also opportunities for promotion within the team.

Rewards and Benefits

You’ll receive a salary from £30,831 to £46,146 (depending on skills and experience). We may also offer you a one-off Recruitment Bonus and an annual Specialist Skills Bonus, both of which are also dependent on your skills and experience, which will be assessed at interview. Our other benefits include:

  • 25 days annual leave rising to 30 days after 5 years' service, and an additional 10.5 days public and privilege holidays.
  • Opportunities to be recognised through our employee performance scheme.
  • Opportunities to work flexibly, subject to business needs.
  • Interest-free season ticket loan.
  • Excellent pension scheme.
  • Facilities such as a subsidised gym and restaurant, and on-site coffee bars at some locations.
  • Paid parental and adoption leave.

Culture and Working Environment

As part of our team, you'll discover an inclusive workplace that's welcoming, supportive and encouraging. You'll be part of an organisation where people want to support one another and make a difference. Aside from fostering an open culture, we've got a range of growing affinity groups including:

  • Ethnic Minority and gender equality networks
  • Groups supporting wellbeing, mental health, neurodiversity and disability
  • Faith/No Faith communities
  • LGBTQ+ support networks


You’ll also find a variety of sports, activity, and social groups to help you find and connect with people with similar interests. The role will mainly be office-based, though some research can be done from home. We are flexible in our approach; currently a mix of working patterns exist within the team.

Before You Apply

To work at GCHQ you need to be a British Citizen.  We do have a strict drugs policy, so once you start your application, you can't take any recreational drugs and you'll need to declare your previous drug usage at the relevant stage.

Honesty and integrity are really important if you want to work at GCHQ.  Take some time to read about the vetting process and make sure you meet the criteria in the vetting pages of the "how to apply" section.  The process can take some time, but this is just because it's thorough.  Giving misleading information and omitting or concealing information during the recruitment and vetting process is viewed very seriously.

The role is based in Cheltenham, with a small number of roles in Yorkshire so you'll need to live within a commutable distance.  Please consider any financial implications and practicalities before submitting an application.

Please note, you should only launch your application from within the UK.  If you are based overseas, you should wait until you visit the UK to launch an application.  Applying from outside the UK will impact on our ability to progress your application.

Equal Opportunities

At GCHQ diversity and inclusion are critical to our mission.  To protect the UK, we need a truly diverse workforce that reflects the society we serve.  This includes diversity in every sense of the word: those with different backgrounds, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations,  ages, ways of thinking and those with disabilities or neurodivergent conditions.  We therefore welcome and encourage applications from everyone, including those from groups that are under-represented in our workforce.

We're Disability Confident

GCHQ are proud to have achieved leader status within the DWP's Disability Confident scheme. This is aimed at encouraging employers to think differently about disability and take action to improve how they recruit, retain and develop disabled people.  Being Disability Confident, we aim to ensure that a fair and proportionate number of disabled applicants that meet the minimum criteria for this position will be offered an interview where practicable; this is known as 'offer of an interview'. To secure an interview for this vacancy, the minimum criteria (in order of application process) are:

  • You’ll need to have a degree (2:2 minimum) or equivalent qualifications in a STEM subject, or relevant work experience in a technical/engineering role that involves detailed data analysis and report writing.
  • Clear motivation for applying to work for GCHQ as a Weapons Systems Analyst – assessed in Application Form sift.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible to apply, you must be a British Citizen. One of your parents must be a British Citizen or must have the nationality or citizenship from our approved list of countries (further information on our eligibility criteria can be found here. If you hold dual nationality, of which one component is British, you will nonetheless be considered. Candidates must normally have been resident in the UK for seven out of the last ten years. This is particularly important if you were born outside the UK. You can apply at the age of 17 years, if successful you will not be offered a start date prior to your 18th birthday. Discretion is vital. You should not discuss your application, other than with your partner or a close family member. Please note, you should only launch your application from within the UK. If you are based overseas, you should wait until you visit the UK to launch an application. Applying from outside of the UK will impact on our ability to progress your application. Further information on our eligibility criteria can be found on the Applying section. 

What to Expect  

Our recruitment process is fair, transparent, and based on merit. Here is a brief overview of each stage, in order:

  • Application Form Sift
  • Competency-based interview, including a technical section testing analytical aptitude

Please note, you must successfully pass each stage of the process in order to progress to the next stage. You application may take six to nine months to process including vetting, so we advise you continue any current employment until you have received your final job offer. 

Our Vetting

To work in this role you will need the highest security clearance, known as Developed Vetting (DV). It's something everyone in the UK Intelligence Community has to go through and it can take some time. As part of the DV process you will be asked to fill in a detailed questionnaire and attend an interview with a vetting officer. In your interview the vetting officer will have a thorough, compassionate and honest discussion with you about you as a person and your life experiences, to ensure holding a DV clearance is right for you. You don't need to do any preparation for your vetting interview, just be honest and be yourself.  All applicants for DV are treated to impartially and inconsistently, irrespective of gender, race, disability, religion, age, sexual orientation and other protected characteristics.   

Please return to the main job page to apply for this role. Click 'Submit' at the bottom of the page where you will be taken to complete the application form. Within the application you will be prompted to select which role you are applying for.

Right to Withdraw Statement:   

Please be aware that we withhold the right to bring the closing date for this role from the original closing date once a certain number of applications have been received.  Please be mindful of this and submit your application at your earliest convenience to avoid disappointment.

This Program / Vacancy is closed to applications.