Air Engineer Officer

Service:Fleet Air Arm
Aviation personnel walking along a flight deck with a helicopter in the background

At a glance

What you’ll do

When you join the Royal Navy as an Air Engineer Officer, you’ll lead the people who ensure our aircraft are ready to take off at a moment’s notice. A team of highly-trained aviation engineers will look to you for advice, guidance and support on a daily basis as they tackle a range of complex problems, in challenging environments, all over the world. 

You’ll use your knowledge and expertise to guarantee the safety of our pilots and the reliability of our aircraft. Without you, our planes and helicopters stay grounded, and our reach is reduced.

If you have questions, talk to us

Your role

  • Lead a team of specialist Air Engineering Technicians. They’ll rely on you to mentor them, and in return, you’ll get to see them develop into the engineers of the future.
  • Collaborate with fellow industry specialists to develop new aviation solutions, from concept, to testing, manufacture and application.
  • Take overall responsibility for maintaining, updating, fitting and testing our planes and helicopters, at Royal Naval Air Stations (RNAS), and on board ships all over the world.
  • Work with some of the most advanced propulsion, weapons, navigation and control systems in existence, using your in-depth knowledge to find innovative solutions, often under extreme pressure.

What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain 

  • Become an internationally recognised Chartered Engineer – we’ll support your professional registration. 

Opportunities open to you  

  • There are also many opportunities to get involved in post graduate study, for example, you might work towards an MSc in Military Aerospace, Airworthiness and Cyberspace operations. 

Skills you'll develop

  • Learn how to lead people in a highly pressurised environment.
  • Build your team-working skills, working as a valued member of our management team.
  • Gain an in-depth understanding of avionics and mechanical engineering –  from the rotor system of a helicopter, to the weapons of a fighter jet.

Career progression

What you'll need


  • You’ll need to be aged between 17 and 39
  • All Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) degrees will be considered
  • You’ll need a minimum of 96 UCAS points or Scottish equivalent). At least 64 points should be in maths and an engineering based science. These can be accrued from either GCE A/AS levels (or equivalent) or National Diplomas (e.g. BTEC).
  • You’ll need at least 5 GCSEs at grades A-C (9-4) (or Scottish equivalent), which must include English and Mathematics at grade B/6 or above
  • A British/British Dual National who has lived in the UK continuously for the 5 years prior to applying
  • A Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18 and 28 (between 17 and 27 if under 18)
  • Pass the Naval Swimming Test

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
  • 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 and have satisfied the basic eligibility criteria, you will be sent an online application form

  • Naval Service Recruitment Test (NRST)

    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 learn by the time you join us.

Professional training

Your professional training starts with 12 weeks at sea. After that, you’ll begin a 12-month systems engineering and management course at the Defence College of Aeronautical Engineering, focussing on:

  • Learning the principles of flight
  • Gaining an understanding of aircraft systems and components, including avionics, engines and weapon systems
  • Practicing aircraft maintenance management in a simulated squadron environment
  • Taking your experience in the simulated environment to an operational Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS), where you’ll spend three months
  • Gaining a detailed understanding of squadron operations and earning your Certificate of Competency to be a practising Air Engineer Officer