As a Weapon Engineering Officer (WEO) you are responsible for the ‘fight’ function of an RNZN warship. You will be responsible for the training, welfare and management of up to 35 personnel to ensure the ships weapons, sensors and communication systems are maintained and are available to command when required. You are also required to liaise closely with other senior officers onboard to assist in tasks such as overseas deployment preparations, ordering of ammunition and liaison with foreign navies during warfare exercises. You are required to display exceptional leadership qualities throughout your duties as the WEO and report directly to the Commanding Officer.
Weapon’s Engineers also carry out a range of important roles ashore - from training our personnel to designing and testing the technology of the future. Examples include: managing complex engineering projects; equipment upgrades, trials and acquisition; equipment repair and maintenance; and budget control. Navy engineers are involved in equipment assessment, installation design, installation and operational testing from a very early stage in their careers. This provides them with the competencies to manage complex engineering projects involving of millions of dollars. You will also have the opportunity to complete peacekeeping missions, overseas postings and be involved in areas such as training, human resources and recruiting.
The Royal New Zealand Navy’s effectiveness as a modern fighting force depends on its ability to respond quickly to situations that are constantly changing. To do this, its communications, sensors and weapon systems must be maintained to the highest possible standards. It is the responsibility of the Weapons Engineer Officer (WEO) to ensure that these systems are ready to operate whenever they’re needed.
You will be responsible for the ship’s weapons (guns, missiles and torpedoes), sensors (RADAR, sonar, and electronic support measures), communications (radio, satellite and the onboard computer network), explosives and the combat management systems. The majority of these systems rely on information technology to do their job, and are becoming increasingly complex and integrated; a good knowledge and understanding of IT will assist you in your role as a Weapons Engineer Officer.
Your hard work, experience and training accomplishments as a Weapons Engineer Officer are rewarded by promotions in rank and salary. If you are joining with a relevant tertiary qualification, this is recognised by a four year ‘jump start’ in your career and you will be promoted to Sub-Lieutenant upon completion of Junior Officer Common Training (JOCT). The time before sitting the Weapon Engineer Officer Charge Qualification (WCQ) and becoming a fully qualified WEO will involve a variety of training courses and on-the-job training both at sea and in shore establishments.
You can join the Navy after you have completed (or partially completed) a suitable tertiary engineering qualification. The navy has two scholarship schemes for university students studying towards a Degree or Diploma. Or, if you are a student with good school grades and suitable potential, you can join through the Salaried scheme where you’ll be sponsored through your tertiary qualification and paid a salary at the same time.
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.
While undertaking Officer Training you will hold the Rank of Midshipman (see attached pay table). On graduation from your commissioning course your rank and pay will increase based on your trade speciality and qualification level.
The Navy has a year for year return of service scheme. Therefore, if the Navy pays for one year of your tertiary qualification then you will have to give one years return of service on completion of the qualification. If they pay for two years you will have to give two years return of service and so on.
Upon successful enlistment into the Navy you’ll be posted to Devonport Navy base in Auckland. Here you will do 22 weeks of officer military training course to find out if you’ve got what it takes to become leaders in the Navy, and learn various subjects including:
After successful completion, those without engineering qualifications are sponsored by the Navy through a tertiary scheme to complete either a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours), BEng Tech or a Diploma in Engineering. Once the appropriate tertiary qualifications have been completed, you will travel to England to undertake a 6 month Systems Engineering Management Course (SEMC) with the Royal Navy.
The SEMC is a professional application training course in Naval Marine Engineering equipment and systems, which will complement your academic training and prepare you for the next step of your professional development.
On completion of SEMC you will be posted to a New Zealand ship to gain further skills and experience necessary to manage the entire Weapon Engineering Department onboard a ship as a fully qualified WEO. Along the way, you will complete professional development courses, including leadership and management courses, and specialist Navy training. Once you have completed the necessary courses and fulfilled the time requirements, you will be promoted to Lieutenant.
Predominantly Devonport Naval Base but as a Weapons Engineering Officer you can be called upon to go anywhere in New Zealand and abroad.