Aviation Ranks & roles

Are you a leader? Can you command respect? Look after the morale and lives of the men and women under your charge? And ensure the success of the mission? If the answer is yes, you could have what it takes to be a Royal Navy Officer.

  • Midshipman

    While you're still completing your training for your specialist role at Britannia Royal Naval College, you'll have the rank of Midshipman.
  • Sub-Lieutenant

    After 12 months of service and while you're still training, you'll automatically be promoted to Sub-Lieutenant.
  • Lieutenant

    Once you've moved into an operational environment, you'll automatically be promoted to Lieutenant, after 30 months as a Sub Lieutenant as long as you perform to the required standard.
  • Lieutenant Commander

    You’ll now be in charge of a department on a large ship of shore base, or Executive Officer (XO) or even Commanding Officer (CO) in a smaller unit.
  • Commander

    You may command a warship or submarine, Fleet Air Arm squadron or shore establishment. You could also serve as a Staff Officer in the Ministry of Defence or the Permanent Joint Headquarters.
  • Captain

    With the rank of Captain, you'll be commanding a large ship or hold a more senior position on shore.
  • Commodore

    As a Commodore, you'll be the Commanding Officer of a large Royal Navy establishment and well on your way to the top.
  • Rear Admiral

    As an officer of flag rank, you'll have your own flag flying on your ship or headquarters and be responsible for an entire capability within the Royal Navy.
  • Vice Admiral

    By now a very senior officer, you'll be second-in-command to a full Admiral, and working at the level of government, helping to implement defence policy etc.
  • Admiral

    Admiral is the highest rank in the Royal Navy, equivalent to a General in the British Army.
  • Air Traffic Control Officer

    As an Air Traffic Control Officer, you’ll head up the team responsible for maintaining the safe flow of air traffic.

    Minimum Qualifications:

    • A-level
  • Aircrew Officer Observer

    As an Observer you are responsible for the tactical employment, sensors, mission and weapon systems of the aircraft – you’ll have one of the most demanding jobs in aviation.

    Minimum Qualifications:

    • GCSE
  • Aircrew Officer Pilot

    A pilot’s job is to fly aircraft or helicopters from aircraft carriers, assault ships, frigates, destroyers and shore stations.

    Minimum Qualifications:

    • A-level

The Royal Navy is a team. And the Ratings are the trained professionals ensuring the success of every single mission. No matter the weather, the conditions, or demands of the job.

  • Able Rate

    Whatever your job, you'll start your career as an Able Rate.
  • Leading Hand

    With some experience and further training, you could be promoted to Leading Hand, often managing a small group of Able Rates.
  • Petty Officer

    As a Petty Officer, you'll have responsibility for certain sections within your department and you have now moved up to become a Senior Rating (non-comissioned officer)
  • Chief Petty Officer

    The rank of Chief Petty Officer give you more responsibility in the team, with the officers relying heavily on your skills and experience.
  • Warrant Officer 1

    WO1 is the highest rank you can achieve as a rating and you'll provide a crucial leadership link between your officers and the ratings serving under you.
  • Aircraft Controller

    You’ll be the critical link between the aircraft and its base and will be involved in the mission at every single stage.

    Minimum Qualifications:

    • GCSE
  • Aircrewman

    You’ll be a vital member of a helicopter's crew, undertaking many different mission profiles.

    Minimum Qualifications:

    • GCSE
  • Naval Airman (Aircraft Handler)

    As an Aircraft Handler you’re in charge of safety all the time the aircraft is on the deck or ground. Your main task? Making sure they’re ready for action, no matter what the conditions.

    Minimum Qualifications:

    • None
  • Naval Airman (Survival Equipment)

    You’re responsible for all aspects of aviation-related survival equipment. This includes both the maintenance and instructions in its use for aircrew and passengers.

    Minimum Qualifications:

    • None