Naval Electronic Sensor Operators operate the radar and radio detection devices, radar jamming systems and decoys, and gun/missile-firing equipment carried on major naval warships.
As members of the ship’s Combat Team, they detect, locate and identify friendly and enemy submarines, ships and aircraft. They also support the defence of their ship from all threats. The primary responsibilities of the Naval Electronic Sensor Operator are to:
- Locate and identify unknown radars
- Listen to communications from other submarines, ships, aircraft and shore bases
- Operate gun and missile-firing equipment used to defend the ship
- Conduct intelligence and evidence gathering
At sea, Naval Electronic Sensor Operators work mostly within the ship’s Operations Room where they operate some of the most modern and sophisticated warfare equipment at sea today.
As with all sea-going personnel, Naval Electronic Sensor Operators work with their fellow shipmates in out-of-occupation duties such as sentry or lookout duty, line handler for Replenishment At Sea, and as ship hand for entering and leaving harbour. They participate in Search and Rescue events and man-overboard emergencies, act as a member of the ship’s emergency response team for security watches, and routinely perform ship maintenance and repair. During emergency procedures, they fight fires as members of a Fire Attack Team, and provide damage control in the case of a breach to the hull. If necessary, Naval Electronic Sensor Operators may serve as a member of the Naval Boarding Party to inspect the cargo of suspect vessels and detain the vessel’s crew during inspections.
The starting salary for a fully-trained Naval Electronic Sensor Operator is $49,400 per year; however, depending on your previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. Initially, Naval Electronic Sensor Operators work at sea in Frigates or Destroyers based in Halifax, Nova Scotia or Esquimalt, British Columbia. As they progress in their career, there will be opportunities for employment at various shore establishments in addition to employment on board ship. Naval Electronic Sensor Operators who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential are selected for opportunities for career progression, promotion and advanced training.
The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the Canadian Forces physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.
Naval recruits attend the Canadian Forces Fleet School either in Esquimalt, British Columbia, or Halifax, Nova Scotia, for approximately five weeks. Training includes the following topics:
- Naval history and organization
- Shipboard firefighting and damage control
- Shipboard Safety
- Watchkeeping duties
Following Environmental Training, Naval Electronic Sensor Operators attend the Canadian Forces Fleet School in Esquimalt, British Columbia, for approximately 20 weeks. Training includes:
- Procedures for maintaining classified material
- Procedures for conducting intelligence and evidence gathering
- Basic radar and radio theory
- Electronic warfare equipment operation and checks
- Electronic emission classification
- Internal and external radio communications procedures
Naval Electronic Sensor Operators may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:
- Ship’s Team Diver
- Instructional Techniques
As they progress in their career, Naval Eelectronic Sensor Operators who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training. Available courses include:
- NATO Maritime Advanced Electronic Warfare Course
- Operational Signal Intelligence Analysis
- Technical Electronic Intelligence/Radar Analysis
- Intermediate Technical Electronic Intelligence/Radar Analysis
- Advanced Electronic Intelligence Collection Analysis
- Intermediate and Advanced Database Courses