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As a Weapon Engineer Officer you will be one of the Navy’s weapon, communication, sensor and combat management system experts.

  • Service
  • Specialisation
    Engineering and Technical Trades
  • Location
  • Starting Salary
  • Upcoming Intake
    26 June, 2020
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About the role

As a Weapon Engineer Officer you will become an expert in the Navy’s weapon, communication, sensor and combat management systems.

Onboard a ship you will lead a team of skilled technicians who maintain and repair the sophisticated equipment that provides our Navy’s fighting capability. Information Technology is key in your area of work, however a diverse range of systems will be under your charge.

Leadership and effective communication in a multi-disciplinary environment will be your key qualities. You are also likely to be a logical thinker who works well with people and seeks a challenging work environment.

Job on base

In shore based positions, generally in Devonport Naval Base (Auckland), Weapon Engineers perform duties in support of the fleet. You are responsible for the procurement and through-life support of our ships, as well as the training and management of our officers and sailors.

A diverse range of positions are available such as project management, equipment procurement and upgrades, system performance analysis and maintenance planning. Your career will be managed so that you rotate regularly through these roles, ensuring you develop a broad understanding of weapon and combat systems engineering tasks. Further specialist training will be provided in fields such as project management, to ensure you have all the skills required for the job.

Job on deployment

Onboard a ship, once you’re fully qualified you will lead the Weapon Engineering Department – a team of up to 31 skilled technicians.

You will be responsible directly to the Commanding Officer for the performance and availability of the equipment under your charge and the welfare and training of the people under your leadership.

You will hold a senior position onboard and will work closely with the other members of the senior leadership team to achieve the ship’s objectives.


Tactical problem solving, tinkering and leading from the front are my three passions.

Keith Cook

Career progression and training

Career Progression
Basic Training
Job Training
Ongoing Training

After graduating JOCT and a minimum of six months experience onboard a ship, you will move to the Royal Navy’s Maritime Warfare School near Portsmouth, UK. Here you’ll complete the Systems Engineering and Management Course (SEMC), learning the principles of weapon engineering and the management of a ship’s engineering department.

The next phase of your career will be on-the-job training conducted under the supervision of a senior Weapon Engineer. You will be mentored to achieve the Weapon Engineer Officers’ Charge Qualification (WCQ), which indicates you have the theoretical and practical knowledge required to take sole charge of a ship’s Weapon Engineering Department.

You will then rotate through various shore based engineering positions every 18 to 24 months, to broaden your skills before returning to sea as the senior Weapon Engineer. You will be offered continuous internal and external training opportunities for professional development. You will be able to complete your Masters degree, and you'll benefit from a streamlined route to becoming a Chartered Engineer.

Upon successful enlistment into the Navy you will complete the seven week Joint Officer Induction Course (JOIC) at RNZAF Base – Woodbourne. Once you march out of the JOIC you continue with the remaining 15 weeks of Junior Officer Common Training course (JOCT), which is back at the Devonport Naval Base. You will be exposed to various subjects and find out if you’ve got what it takes to be an officer in the Navy!

Junior Office Common Training (JOCT)

The following are just some of the subject areas covered on JOCT:

  • RNZN customs
  • Drill and parades
  • Military law
  • Weapons training
  • Basic mariner training
  • Defence and strategic studies
  • Communication skills
  • Command, leadership and management

All NZ Defence Force (NZDF) Officer Cadets and Midshipman are required to complete this course which is designed to introduce the basic individual military skills required to continue on to your respective service Officer training courses. The course will give you a basic level of military skills including field-craft, weapon handling, navigation, drill, sea survival, battle-craft, seamanship, communications and an introduction to leadership. It is during JOIC that you will be introduced to the standards and discipline demanded of all members of the NZDF and the ethos and values required to be an Officer in the NZDF.

Upon successful completion of the JOIC, you will be posted to Officer Training School, Devonport to complete the JOCT Course. The JOCT course is 22 weeks in duration (which includes the 7 weeks JOIC) split over three phases:


Trainees are instructed in basic service knowledge, discipline, parade and kit preparation. There is a focus on ‘followership’ and teamwork and on developing a high level of physical and mental fitness.

The aim of this phase is:

  • To ensure that trainees can perform as effective team members
  • To instil the Navy Core Values
  • To develop the competency behaviours required of a Junior Officer
  • To provide the basic skills and knowledge for service in the Navy

Phase two is focused on fitness for sea and academic development. The training provides trainees with the minimum knowledge and skills necessary to safely post to sea on a Navy Ship. The Sea Qualification Deployment is designed to give trainees an insight into life at sea and for staff to assess trainees in the sea going environment.

The aim is to:

  • Cement and build upon communal living skills
  • Gain an appreciation of the roles at sea
  • Confirm the trainees commitment to life at sea

Phase two also focuses on academic development. Trainees are lectured in Defence Communication topics such as service writing and oral communication. Officers are expected to have an understanding of wider national and defence policies, international relations and maritime doctrine.


The final phase of JOCT has a strong leadership focus covering both theoretical and practical aspects. The trainees are put through a number of assessments. The assessments are scenario driven and provide the trainees with the opportunity to display their individual and combined skills.

On completion of JOCT, those without tertiary engineering qualifications will be sponsored through a scheme to complete either a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours), a Bachelor of Engineering Technology or similar degree. If you join with a tertiary engineering qualification, you’ll be promoted to Sub-Lieutenant, and usually start the next available SEMC.

Systems Engineering and Management Course (SEMC)

(6 months) Location: Defence School of Weapon Engineering, Portsmouth, UK.

The SEMC is a professional application training course in Naval Weapon Engineering, which will complement your academic training and prepare you for the next step of your professional development. The course covers weapons engineering theory and practice, before you return to New Zealand and gain practical experience in charge of the operation of relevant systems.

SEMC training is recognised as professional development towards registration as a Chartered Engineer.

On completion of SEMC you will be posted to a Royal New Zealand Navy Ship to gain further skills and experience necessary to manage the entire Weapon Engineering Department. During this time you will be supervised and mentored by the senior Weapon Engineer Officer onboard.

Once you have achieved the required qualifications you will be promoted to Lieutenant. The Navy supports Weapon Engineer Officers to become Chartered Engineers, and there is also a Masters programme available through the University of Portsmouth.

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Salary and benefits

Careers in the Navy are well-rewarded, as well as being diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, you will see your salary rise accordingly.




Starting Salary


Higher Rank

Benefits and allowances

There are many additional benefits to being in the Defence Force, that will make your money go further.

For example, on top of your basic salary you can expect ‘Military Factor’. This provides you with significant extra financial rewards because of the commitment you’ve made to serve your country.

Free medical and dental
Access to subsidised equipment on base
Subsidised food on base
Competitive superannuation, up to 4% with KiwiSaver
Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Entry requirements

Fitness and Medical
Period of Service
  • You must be at least 17 years of age.
  • Meet the citizenship and security requirements to gain SV security clearance for this trade.
  • You must be free of any criminal convictions.

Direct entry

Applicants require a BE(Hons) or BEngTech, typically in a field such as electrical, electronics or computer engineering.

Applicants from most engineering specialities will be considered. Applicants with a Degree in Computer Science, Systems or IT are also encouraged to apply.

Scholarship entry

The Navy offers graduate and undergraduate scholarships for engineering students who demonstrate the qualities required to become a Weapon Engineer Officer.

The minimum educational requirement to apply for a scholarship is NCEA Level 3 with 18 credits in Level 3 Mathematics and Physics and University Entrance.

The scholarships are:

  • Salaried (Tangaroa) Scheme: Become an Officer in the Navy and be paid to study at the University of Auckland or the Auckland University of Technology on a ‘year for a year’ return of service basis.
  • Bursary (Chatham) Scheme: Study at the university of your choice while the Navy pays your fees and a living allowance on a ‘year for a year’ return of service basis.
  • Graduate (Amakoura) Scheme: Study at the university of your choice and, on completion of your degree, you will have approximately a quarter of your course fees reimbursed annually for every year you serve for up to four years. No return of service incurred.

Find out more about the NCEA levels and certificate requirements

  • You must be medically fit for service.
  • Colour perception restrictions may apply.

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the required SV security clearance for this trade.

Find out if you’re eligible here.

There is no minimum time you are required to commit to the Navy. The exception to this is the salaried and bursary university scholarship schemes incur a year for a year return of service. Therefore, if the Navy pays for one year of your tertiary qualification then you will have to give a one year return of service. If they pay for two years you will have to give two years return of service and so on. The SEMC also incurs a two year return of service, however, this occurs concurrently with any return of service from your tertiary qualification (they do not add together).

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