Warfare Specialist (SONAR) (Submariner)

High priority role
Service:Submarine Service

At a glance

What you’ll do

As a Warfare Specialist (Sonar) (Submariner), we will train you to become an underwater acoustic specialist-employed within the close knit and highly professional Sound Room team. Your understanding of the environment and oceanographic conditions, enabled by the use of the world's cutting edge technology will enable you to seek out, classify and track contacts within the underwater battle-space. As the eyes and ears of the whole submarine operating undetected within the world's oceans, you and your team ensure the safety of your shipmates, minimising your own submarine's acoustic vulnerabilities whilst enabling the submarine to complete its mission. 

Your role

  • You’ll work on a shift pattern, with a member of your team on duty 24/7. Without you, the submarine can’t go anywhere, so you’ll always need to be at your best.
  • When a submarine is submerged, the Sound Room becomes the centre of the action.  you will be a key member of the Sound Room team, providing crucial information to the Command.
  • Using your expert knowledge gained during world class training, you will use some of our most advanced sonar equipment to interpret even the slightest sounds within the ocean, passing your assessments to the Warfare Officer, who will use them to make key decisions.
  • Whether you're at sea providing our nation's nuclear deterrent, hunting other submarines or on exercise in domestic waters, the work you do is vital to the navigation and warfare capabilities of your submarine.

What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • We’ll make a contribution towards GCSEs, Masters degrees, and everything in between
  • Gain specialist vocational qualifications

Skills you'll develop

  • Hands-on experience with highly sophisticated sonar equipment
  • The ability to work accurately and calmly under extreme pressure

Career progression

What you'll need


  • There are no minimum qualification requirements
  • You’ll need to be aged at least 15 years and 9 months old when you apply, and under 37 years old when you begin basic training
  • You need to be over 16 years old on entry
  • You need to be a minimum height of 157cm and within the healthy range for Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • You must be a British or dual national

Skills and interests

  • Reliability and a willingness to learn
  • First-class at working within a team
  • A high level of physical and mental fitness
  • An adventurous spirit
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 (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

  • 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 essential military and maritime skills under your belt, it’s time to start your specialist training. This is where you’ll gain a thorough understanding of all the equipment you’ll be using on a day-to-day basis.

After successfully completing your professional training, you will stay 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.