Warfare Specialist Tactical (Submariner)

Service:Submarine Service

At a glance

What you’ll do

As a Warfare Specialist Tactical (Submariner), you’ll use some of the most of the advanced radar intercept and tactical systems on the planet to identify potential threats. If it sounds like a lot of responsibility, that’s because it is. From your first day on board, your role will be vital to the safety of your crewmates, and the success of some of our most highly classified missions. Even as a junior rating, you’ll pass vital information directly to the Officer of the Watch, who will then make a key strategic call. 

Your role

  • As well as excelling below the waves, you’ll also have a key role to play when we surface. It’s then that you operate the Tactical Systems Radar to detect and track our smaller targets, from pirates off East Africa, to drug traffickers in the Caribbean.
  • Whether it’s a friend or a foe, a simple reconnaissance mission or an essential combat operation, you do the keeping tabs that keeps everyone safe.
  • You’ll be the person on duty who knows most about operating the radar and intercept systems that give us a tactical picture of the ocean, from the natural landscape to the position of other vessels.
  • The Silent Service is one of our most elite teams, and your central involvement in its most challenging and covert missions, will guarantee a day job that’s as exhilarating as it is rewarding.

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 radar 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.