Marie-Helene Belisle -
Naval Combat Systems Engineer
Naval Combat Systems Engineers maintain combat systems in ships and submarines. They are responsible for the leadership and wellbeing of a large team of highly trained technical professionals who perform the systems analysis, fault-finding and maintenance of equipment to ensure peak performance.
The primary role of the Naval Combat Systems Engineering Officer is to provide technical expertise, advice and leadership for the operation and maintenance of the following naval combat systems:
- Above Water and Underwater Warfare Systems and its ammunition
- Above Water and Underwater Sensor Systems
- Navigation Systems
- Communication Systems
- Command and Control Systems
- Data Processing Systems
- Electronic Warfare Systems
Naval Combat Systems Engineering Officers are employed in the ships and submarines of the Canadian Forces Naval Fleet and at shore-based establishments.
Marine Systems Engineers serve as the Head of the Combat Systems Engineering Department. They deal with the challenges associated with life at sea while leading a large number of personnel. In shore-based establishments, Naval Combat Systems Engineering Officers are employed throughout Canada, primarily in Halifax, Nova Scotia; Victoria, British Columbia; the National Capital Region; and abroad. The range of employment is wide and involves the challenges of understanding present and future technologies. In addition, they are employed in staff, training and administrative positions requiring engineering expertise.
The starting salary for a fully-trained Naval Combat Systems Engineering Officer is $51,000 per year; however, depending on previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. Regular promotions through the junior officer ranks take place based on the completion of required training and on the length of service as an officer. Once promoted to the rank of Lieutenant (Navy) their salary is approximately $74,000 per year. Marine Systems Engineers who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential are selected for opportunities for career progression, promotion through the senior officer ranks and advanced training.
After enrolment, you start basic officer training at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, for 14 weeks. Topics covered include general military knowledge, the principles of leadership, regulations and customs of the Canadian Forces, basic weapons handling, and first aid. Opportunities will also be provided to apply such newly acquired military skills in training exercises involving force protection, field training, navigation and leadership. A rigorous physical fitness program is also a vital part of basic training. Basic officer training is provided in English or French and successful completion is a prerequisite for further training.
Second language training is available following basic officer training; depending on your ability in your second language, it may take from two to nine months.
All Officer candidates in the Navy attend a nine-week Naval Environmental Training Program held at the Naval Officer Training Centre in Victoria, British Columbia. This course introduces the Naval environment and includes four weeks on board a minor war vessel for officers to experience life at sea.
Naval Combat Systems Engineering Officers attend several courses held at the Canadian Forces Naval Engineering School in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The first course, Naval Engineering Indoctrination, lasts 11 weeks and introduces the systems, equipment and personnel of the two engineering departments of the Fleet. This course includes seven weeks on board a major warship.
The next course, Naval Combat Systems Engineering Applications, lasts 28 weeks and provides detailed instruction in the theory, application, operation, maintenance, personnel and management of Naval Combat Systems Engineering. On completion, officers join the ships of the Fleet for one year in order to consolidate their skills and knowledge of Naval Combat Systems Engineering.
Naval Combat Systems Engineers may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:
- Computer Software Management
- Guided Weapons Systems and Ammunitions
- Radar Systems Analysis
- Electronic Warfare
- Digital and Satellite Communications
As they progress in their career, Naval Combat Systems Engineers who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training. Available courses include:
- Combat Systems Engineering
- Weapon System Engineering
- Underwater Acoustics
- Naval Architecture
The minimum required education to apply for this position is the completion of the provincial requirements for Grade 10 or Secondaire IV in Canada. Foreign education may be accepted.
If you already have a university degree, the Canadian Forces will decide if your academic program matches the criteria for this job and may place you directly into the required on-the-job training program following basic training. Basic training and military officer qualification training are required before being assigned.
Regular Officer Training Plan
Because this position requires a university degree, the Canadian Forces will pay successful recruits to complete a Bachelor degree program at a Canadian university. They receive full-time salary including medical and dental care, as well as vacation time with full-pay in exchange for working with the Canadian Forces for a period of time. Typically, candidates enter the Canadian Military College System as an Officer Cadet where they study subjects relevant to both their military and academic career. In some instances, the Canadian Forces is able to pay for Officer Cadets to attend other Canadian universities in a relevant degree program. Officer Cadets who attend other Canadian universities typically attend university during the regular academic year and participate in additional military training during the summer months. If you choose to apply to this program, you must apply both to the Canadian Forces and the Canadian university of your choice. For more information, click on Paid University.