1a8x1 Assignment Locations Air


Airborne Cryptologic Language Analyst

Intercept and analyze signal intelligence of possible enemy threats

Coordinate with aerospace rescue and recovery services and operations

Improve analytical methods to maximize operational effectivenes

Perform and assist in mission planning

Provide actionable intelligence to command

Maintain proficiency in emergency equipment use and procedures

Career Tasks

Translating in the air

When we receive or intercept data in the air, it’s critical for us to understand it in order to act accordingly. Responsible for translating intelligence communications, Airborne Cryptologic Language Analysts utilize fluent foreign language skills to analyze messages obtained during flight. Providing threat warnings and actionable intelligence that can assist in mission planning, these highly skilled specialists are critical to keeping our missions successful and our Airmen safe.

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Qualifications Summary

Minimum EducationHigh school diploma or GED with 15 college creditsASVAB RequirementsGeneralQualifications
  • Knowledge of a designated language
  • Completion of a designated airborne cryptologic linguist course
  • A minimum score of 110 on the Defense Language Aptitude Battery
  • Height must be no less than 64 inches and no more than 77 inches
  • Ability to type at a rate of 25 words a minute
  • Successful completion of a polygraph examination
  • Completion of a current Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI) or Top Secret Reinvestigation
  • Completion of 7.5 weeks of Basic Military Training as well as Airmen’s Week
  • Must be between the ages of 17 and 39
Cryptologic Language Analyst00:00
Training & Education
How do we transform you from a raw recruit to an expert Airman in this field? From hands-on experience to college credit toward a degree, the path begins here.
  • Basic military Training

    7.5 weeks

  • Airmen's Week

    1 week

  • Technical Training

    224 - 459 days

Tech School Location

Lackland AFB TX, Monterey CA, Goodfellow AFB TX

Status upon Completion

Enlisted Airman with credits earned towards Intelligence Studies and Technology

  1. Cryptologic Language Analyst Training00:00
  2. Defense Language Institute00:00

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Interests & Skills

  1. Aircraft & Flight
  2. Intelligence
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Airborne Cryptologic Language Analyst

Air Force Enlisted Job Description for MOS 1A8X1

In the Air Force, airborne cryptologic language analysts translate intelligence communications or data received or intercepted while in the air. Often it's critical for this data to be analyzed quickly to prevent imminent threats, so airborne cryptologic language analysts, who generally are fluent in a foreign language, are a key part of protecting Air Force personnel while in flight. 

These airmen operate and manage airborne signals intelligence information systems.

Their jobs include analyzing and translating voice communications and signals, which are then used for mission planning. They use radio receivers and recording equipment, to record and correlate data, and analyze traffic to determine the nature of any significant transmissions. ​

Training for Airborne Cryptologic Language Analysts

Following Air Force basic training, airmen in this specialty attend the aircrew fundamentals course, at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, for four weeks. They'll take a foreign language course in Monterey, California for up to 68 weeks, depending on the language, and an airborne cryptologic language analyst course at Goodfellow Air Force Base in Texas for four to 19 weeks, depending on the language. Also required is spend four weeks at Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington, to take survival, evasion, resistance, and escape (SERE) training, and weapons system formal training, which will be determined by the type of aircraft they're assigned.

In technical school, cryptologic language analysts will learn their designated language, as well as topics related to national intelligence organization, communications networks and techniques, geography, and methods for handling, distributing and safeguarding sensitive information. 

Advancing as an Airborne Cryptologic Language Analyst

Upon arrival at the first duty station, airmen are enrolled in upgrade training to the five-skill level (journeyman).

This training is a combination of on-the-job task certification, and enrollment in a correspondence course called a career development course (CDC).

Once the airman's trainer(s) have certified that they are qualified to perform all tasks related to that assignment, and once they complete the CDC, including the final closed-book written test, they are upgraded to the five-skill level and are considered to be certified to perform their job with minimal supervision. For this job, five-level training averages 12 months.

Upon achieving the rank of staff sergeant, airmen are entered into seven-level (craftsman) training. A craftsman can expect to fill various supervisory and management positions such as shift leader, element NCOIC (noncommissioned officer in charge), flight superintendent, and various staff positions.

For nine-skill level awards, individuals must hold the rank of senior master sergeant. A nine-level can expect to fill positions such as flight chief, superintendent, and various staff NCOIC jobs.

Other Qualifications for Airborne Cryptologic Language Specialists

To qualify as an airborne cryptologic language specialist, a composite Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) exam score of G-72 is required, and recruits must be able to qualify for top secret security clearance.

In addition, airmen must pass a flight class III medical examination. They have to be U.S. citizens and score 100 on the Defense Language Aptitude Battery, or otherwise, show demonstrated proficiency in a designated language other than English. 


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