Warfare Officer

Service:Surface Fleet
Officer looking through binoculars

At a glance

What you’ll do

Joining the Royal Navy as a Warfare Officer means making key strategic decisions on board some of the most advanced warships on the planet. You’ll be more operationally active than most Naval personnel as you provide the warfare capabilities that are essential to protecting our nation’s interests, all over the world. From starting as an Officer of the Watch, to becoming a Principal Warfare Officer, the Executive Officer, or the Commanding Officer, you’ll manage a team of dedicated sailors, in a range of unique and challenging environments.

If you have questions, talk to us

Your role

  • Contribute to the success of every mission, using your skills as a seaman, and as a leader, to operate in all conditions. Keeping the crew safe is your remit, so when the unexpected happens, everyone looks to you.
  • Be a key part of some essential operations. You might be on a Type 45 Destroyer conducting anti-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean, or escorting a mine hunter that’s sweeping the Persian Gulf.
  • Take on real responsibility from day one, using your knowledge and experience as a professional sailor to tackle anything, from navigation, to planning boarding parties.
  • React to ever-changing situations, using your tactical skills to achieve a successful outcome, whatever the operation.

What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • We’ll make a significant contribution towards GCSEs, Masters degrees, and everything in between
  • Gain internationally recognised professional qualifications as your career progresses

Skills you'll develop

  • Gain the unique naval leadership and management skills that are highly valued by civilian employers
  • Develop an in-depth knowledge of life as a professional seaman, from navigating and manoeuvring, to more advanced war-fighting skills

Career progression

What you'll need


  • You’ll need to be aged 18 to 39
  • You’ll need a minimum of 72 UCAS points. 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
  • You must be a United Kingdom citizen or British Dual National. Dual Nationality restrictions do apply
  • You must have lived in the UK for 5 years continuously prior to application
  • 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
  • Calmness under pressure and a love of teamwork
  • A passion for life at sea
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

  • Defence Aptitude Assessment (DAA)

    You’ll be tested on: Verbal Reasoning, Numerical Reasoning, Work Rate, Spatial Reasoning, Electrical Comprehension and Mechanical Comprehension.
    To prepare, you can practise the DAA

  • 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 in two parts. A Pre Recorded Interview (PRI) is an online assessment which assesses your motivation to join the Royal Navy as an officer and your awareness of the Royal Navy. The Group Planning Exercise (GPE) is the second stage of the AIB and is an online competency based assessment which will take place on a separate day to the PRI. It will be conducted in a virtual group environment and you will be assessed on your contribution to the team based on your individual performance

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 will then be completed on the job, as you spend time at sea gaining experience and developing your skills. There you will focus on:

  • Working towards a Navigational Watch Certificate
  • Consolidating everything you learn on the Initial Warfare Officers’ Course (IWOC)
  • Choosing a specialism, or developing as a General Service Warfare Officer
  • Gaining the experience needed to progress to Principal Warfare Officer