Weapon Engineer Officer (Submariner)

Service:Submarine Service

At a glance

What you’ll do

Being a Weapon Engineer Officer (Submariner) means leading a team of skilled engineers on some of the Royal Navy’s most top secret missions. You could be on board a Vanguard-class submarine, where you’ll maintain the ballistic missiles that are our nation’s nuclear deterrent, or be working on the cutting-edge radar and detection systems of a hunter killer Astute-class boat. 

Whatever the operation, below the surface, teamwork is key. You’ll need to combine your first-class engineering knowledge with personal skills, as you guarantee the submarine’s potency as a state-of-the-art fighting machine

Your role

  • Lead a team of skilled engineers, from specialists in communications and IT, to those with a unique knowledge of explosives and electronic sensor systems.
  • You’re the person who is responsible for the performance of our weapons, radar and detection systems, overseeing their maintenance and preparation.
  • Get hands-on with the world’s most advanced defence systems, using, developing and adapting your engineering knowledge in highly-challenging environments that are unique to life in the Royal Navy.
  • Take advantage of a range of career development opportunities, from becoming a Chartered Engineer, to working alongside industry partners on equipment development projects.

What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • Study for an MSc or MA
  • Become an internationally recognised Chartered Engineer

Skills you'll develop

  • Learn how to lead people in a highly pressurised environment, mentoring more junior personnel and overseeing some extremely complex projects
  • Gain an in-depth knowledge of weapon systems, radars and other detection equipment, while also understanding nuclear engineering and physics

Career progression

What you'll need


  • You’ll need to be aged 17 to 29
  • A BEng or MEng degree accredited by the Engineering Council
  • If you take your A-levels after the start of 2017, you need 72 UCAS points, including two non-overlapping subject areas; before 2017, you need 180 UCAS points
  • If you take your GCSEs after the start of 2017, you need 5 at grades 9 – 4, including English Language and Maths; before 2017, you need 5 at grades A*– C  
  • Minimum height of 157cm and within the healthy range for Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • A British or dual national

Skills and interests

  • An ability to thrive on responsibility and lead from the front
  • Confidence making key decisions in high-pressure situations
  • A passion for cutting-edge engineering and electronic equipment
  • An aptitude for solving problems
Check Eligibility

Starting your career

Joining process

Once you’ve confirmed your eligibility, the joining process is as follows:

  • Submit an application

     Once you’ve registered your interest, we’ll be in touch to discuss your options

  • Naval Service Recruitment Test (NSRT)

    You’ll be tested on general reasoning, verbal ability, numeracy and mechanical comprehension

  • Interview

    A formal interview to talk through your suitability for the role

  • Medical and eye tests

    These are quite comprehensive and must be completed by one of our Ministry of Defence-approved doctors

  • Pre-Joining Fitness Test (PJFT)

    This involves completing a 2.4km run on a treadmill within a certain time, at a fitness centre near you

  • Interview

    You’ll have a short interview to assess your suitability for a career in the Royal Navy, and to ensure you’re ready for the Admiralty Interview Board (AIB)

  • Admiralty Interview Board (AIB)

    This stage is unique to officers and takes place over a day and a half. It’s a competency-based assessment that confirms that you’re physically and mentally ready to become a Royal Navy Officer

Initial training

You’ll spend 30 weeks training at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) in Dartmouth, focusing on: Military Skills, Maritime Skills and Initial Fleet Time. The military skills phase includes learning leadership and teamwork skills, and the principles of command and management. You will put this into practice during several exercises on Dartmoor.

Aim to get yourself as fit as you can before you arrive. You’ll be doing a lot of physical exercise, and you’ll find it much easier if you’re already in good shape. There’s also a swimming test, so if you can’t swim, make sure you’ve learned by the time you join us.

Professional training

Your professional training starts with 12 months at the Maritime Warfare School, focussing on:

  • On-the-job training
  • Learning about all the systems on board a submarine, from warfare and weapons, to propulsion
  • A mixture of laboratory work and simulations
  • Learning to apply your engineering, leadership and management skills 
  • Undertaking training accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)

After successfully completing your professional training, you will spend another four months at HMS Raleigh in the Submarine School. You’ll learn about submarine operations, including warfare, weapons, nuclear propulsion and escape training, and go to sea in a submarine. After this, there’ll be a test to check your knowledge. When you pass, you’ll earn your ‘Dolphins’ – the coveted badge of a qualified Submariner.

Once you’ve refined your skills, you’ll take your place on board an active submarine, where you’ll lead a team of engineers on deployments all over the world.