Communications Specialist (CIS) (Submariner)

High priority role
Service:Submarine Service

At a glance

What you’ll do

Part of the elite Silent Service, you’ll be a central member of your vessel’s engineering team. Using ultramodern radio and satellite systems to communicate with off-vessel command, you’re key to tactical and strategic communications. 

But it’s much more than that. Because a submarine’s first line of defence is stealth, you’ll have to know every tiny detail about communication with the outside world. Not giving your boat’s position away is crucial. It means the safety of the submarine – and your crewmates - is in your hands. 

If you have questions, talk to us

Your role

  • Work on vessels at the forefront of our nation’s defence: a Vanguard class ballistic missile submarine (our nuclear deterrent) or an Astute class attack submarine. 
  • Using cutting-edge comms kit, you’ll be handling extremely confidential data, including highly classified intelligence and personally sensitive crewmate information.
  • Operate, maintain, diagnose and repair global communication systems, to guarantee the safe transmission of information.
  • Find a solution to whichever problem comes your way, working with your team in challenging environments and high-pressure situations.

What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • Professional qualifications including a Level 2 Apprenticeship in IT, Software, Web and Telecoms Professionals.

Opportunities open to you 

  • Study for GCSEs, then A-Levels in subjects including English, Maths and Science. 
  • Or choose, NVQs like IT Systems, User Skills or Office Administration. 
  • Eventually, you can work toward a degree like Information Systems.

Skills you'll develop

  • Learn to operate and maintain sophisticated communications equipment, including global radio and satellite systems.
  • Build practical skills like thinking on your feet to find a solution if a problem arises.
  • Become the ultimate team player, working with your colleagues in the Engineering branch to keep the ship operational, and collaborating with your crewmates on other projects.

Career progression

What you'll need


  • You need to be aged between 16-39
  • No qualifications are required for this role
  • British National (or hold Dual Nationality iaw UKSV policy)
  • You need to be a minimum height of 157cm
  • A Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18 and 28 (between 17 and 27 if under 18)
  • Pass the Naval Swimming Test

Skills and interests

  • A quick thinker, with a passion for working with the latest equipment and technology
  • A problem-solver, with a common sense approach, who can work well as part of a team
  • A real sense of adventure, with a high level of physical and mental fitness
  • Enthusiasm for networks, information systems and communications
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 (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

  • Pre Royal Navy Course (PRNC)

    This four-day induction to life in the Royal Navy is a pass or fail course

  • Start training

    Once you’ve passed a Security Check, you’ll be offered a place at HMS Raleigh

Initial training

Your Royal Navy career begins with 10 weeks’ basic training at HMS Raleigh, a shore base in Torpoint, Cornwall. The discipline, teamwork, organisational, firefighting and weapon handling skills you learn here will stay with you right through your career.

Aim to get yourself as fit as possible before you arrive. You’ll be doing a lot of physical exercise, and you’ll find it much easier if you’re already in 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

Once you have the essential military and maritime skills under your belt, it’s time to start your specialist training. 

You’ll stay at HMS Raleigh for another five months, this time at the Submarine School. As well as your specialist communications skills, you’ll learn about submarine warfare, weapons, nuclear propulsion and escape training, then go to sea in a submarine. 

You’ll also be trained for important peacetime tasks on shore, including berthing the submarine and guarding the vessel with a rifle when you’re in port. At the end of your training, there’ll be an exam to test your knowledge. When you pass, you’ll win your ‘Dolphins’ – the coveted badge of a qualified Submariner – and join one of the world’s elite fighting forces.