navy airborne tactical officer full width

You’re our most powerful helicopter’s key component. While the pilot flies, you run the aircraft, co-ordinate the mission and make tactical decisions.

  • Service
  • Specialisation
  • Location
  • Starting Salary
navy airborne tactical officer landscape
Navy AirborneTacticalOfficer Square 01

About the role

As a Navy Airborne Tactical Officer (TACCO), you'll make up a key part of the Navy helicopter crew – co-ordinating and operating systems and weapons on the Kaman SH2G Super Seasprite.

Put simply, while the pilot flies, you manage the helicopter.

You're responsible for managing and co-ordinating the mission whenever the Seasprite is launched, and acheiving the mission's goals.

You could be engaging a hostile vessel in the aircraft's key anti-surface warfare role, conducting an urgent search and rescue mission, or attacking a submerged submarine under the direction of a warship or another aircraft.

Your role includes all tactical aspects of helicopter operations, as well as aircraft navigation, communications, sensors and weapons and crew (pilot and crewman). 

This role is great for Officers aspiring to challenge and push themselves to new levels.

TACCO’s are selected from civilian applicants or you can enter the Navy as a Warfare Officer, train as a Bridge Watch-keeper and then change over to TACCO after four to seven years.

Job on base

On completion of Junior Officer Common Training, Bridge watching and Flight training you will be posted to 6 Squadron at Whenuapai Air Force Base. Once there you are responsible for the ongoing development and training of all flight crew to ensure the operational readiness of 6 Squadron.

Job on deployment

On completion of Junior Officer Common Training, Bridge watching and Flight training you will be posted to 6 Squadron at Whenuapai Air Force Base. Once there you are responsible for the ongoing development and training of all flight crew to ensure the operational readiness of 6 Squadron.

Training and career progression


Once qualified, you will serve at sea on Naval ships and ashore at 6 Squadron, Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Base Auckland in various tactical and strategic roles. As you career progresses, you can expect promotion to Flight Commander. As the Flight Commander onboard a ship, you will be responsible for all aspects of the ship's helicopter operations for extended periods away from New Zealand. A ship's flight crew usually consists of eight RNZAF technicians, the TACCO, the pilot and a helicopter crewman. The level of responsibility on your part is substantial as you will act as the ship's Aviation Officer, advising the Captain on all aviation matters. You will also act as the ship's Meteorology Officer and be responsible for the well being of the flight deck crew.

After Junior Officer Common Training (JOCT) you will complete the Officer of the Watch (Bravo) course. The aim of this course is to teach the basic principles and processes of navigation and good bridgemanship, which includes experience in the bridge simulator and culminates in assessments at sea navigating a small naval vessel.

On completion of your OOW(B) course you will spend time aboard a navy ship to get the opportunity to familiarise and put your new skills into practice, or commence your tertiary studies if you are entering on the University scheme of training.

Once you are a qualified Officer of the Watch you will join Royal Australian Navy trainees at East Sale, near Melbourne, Australia, where you'll spend 12 months flying the Beechcraft KA-350 Super King Air. During this period you will learn core navigation skills (both IFR high altitude and VFR low level) and the operational aspects required for maritime aviation operations.

You will also learn survival, escape and evasion procedures and first aid. On completion of your training in Australia you will graduate as a TACCO and then return to join the Naval aviation community at RNZAF Base Auckland at Whenuapai Auckland.



As a TACCO you will always be expected to be at the top of your game – nothing but perfect. To ensure that you are capable of delivering on this the RNZN and RNZAF will continuously train and develop your skills.

Following a Seasprite conversion course (you will spend up to 18 months mastering the aircraft and all its systems) you will be posted to a frigate with an experienced Flight Pilot who will be your Flight Commander.

Options are available to you further into your career to become a TACCO instructor so you can train junior officers to become TACCO’s themselves. Also Helicopter Warfare Instructor courses are available for you to increase your knowledge of aviation warfare and teach the principles and skills of such warfare to junior TACCO’s at 6 Squadron.

navy full width 2

Salary and benefits

Careers in the Navy are well-rewarded, diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, your salary will 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
Citizenship and security
Period of Service

You must be at least 17 years of age.

You must have achieved NCEA level 2 with a minimum of 18 credits each in level 2 English, Mathematics and a Science.

You must be medically fit for service. Colour perception restrictions may apply. Height limits will apply with the introduction of new or upgraded training aircraft. Individuals will be assessed for height limits as part of the application process.

There are strict citizenship and security requirementsto gain TSV security clearance for this trade.

You must also be free of any criminal convictions.

Find out if you’re eligible here.


Your training is some of the most thorough and advanced in the world. On completion of your training, you will be contractually obliged to carry out a return of service to the Navy for 10 years.

navy generic base for roles

Ready to start your Navy career?

Other jobs you might like

You can also browse jobs by specialisation to narrow down your search, or find your ideal fit with the Passion Finder tool.

Back to top