Advice on being a submariner (aiming for bombers)

Bradhead

Midshipman
Good morning All

I made a post this week regarding joining then RN in what can be seen as difficult time in its history. I received some great responses. Thank you!

I am trying to collate as much information as I can about life as a Warfare Officer - submariner ( preferably bomber boats )

I am interested in particular with:
1-> Time at sea per year.
2-> General idea what day to day life is like at sea.
3-> Idea of possible career progression with ages and rank (20 currently - joining when 21)
4-> Advice on a long term girlfriend, how to make them feel better about it etc...

Thank you in advance.
 
Your AFCO may be able to arrange an appropriate S/M Acquaint visit for you to raise these queries as the small cadre of S/M Warfare Officers rarely contribute to this site.
 

pompeyexpat

War Hero
Well I am a submarine Officer, though an engineer not the warfare kind, so I'll see what help I can be.

1. It depends on the number of boats in the patrol cycle, but I'd expect you to do 1, possibly 2 if you're unlucky, deterrent patrols in a year. Having taken over the boat (on a 2 crew boat) you'll have a maintenance period of about 4 weeks, followed by an index and work up period. (Training and assessment at sea with sea training staff embarked). Back in for a short defect rectification period, then off on the patrol. 3 - 4 months on patrol then hand the boat over to the other crew, who will repeat the cycle. So you're basically looking at 6 months or so a year of 'on-crew', of which maybe 4/5 months of that at sea.

2. Dull, really dull. But then apart from one patrol over 20 years ago my career has been exclusively SSN's so I may be biased. The fact is thought that an SSBN on patrol has, by it's very nature, to do everything it can to avoid any interaction with anything. Which means finding the quietest bit of ocean they can and hiding. Important work undoubtedly, but boring (in my view).

3. Not really my bag, a Warfare Officers career progression being markedly different to an Engineers, but a Warfare Officer that was at Dartmouth with me in 2012 is currently undergoing his PWO(SM) course (the Watch Leader, or one of the 2 Senior Warfare Officers onboard, below the Captain and XO). What I can say with a degree of certainty though is that you will not be able to exclusively spend your career on SSBN's. The RN wants it's Warfare Officers to have a wide experience of submarine operations and so even if you start on a bomber, you will find yourself in an SSN too. Time spent only at sea on bombers is not a good way to succeed in the long term either as, at PWO level to some degree, but certainly on Perisher you'd struggle without some experience of SSN's.

4. Expect her to appreciate that it's a career you want to follow and support you? And if she doesn't you either don't do it and spend the rest of your life wondering what could've been and resenting her, or ditch her.
 

Bradhead

Midshipman
@pompeyexpat

Wow thank you very much! Really appreciate the time taken to write this up, really great insight!

Regarding 3
In terms of branches, I definitely believe I am most suited to the Warfare branch.

For interest when it comes to rank progression, are their any stronger branches than others?

Regards

B
 
Last edited:

Taztiff

War Hero
Regarding 3
In terms of branches, I defiantly believe I am most suited to the Warfare branch.
defiantly - in a manner that shows open resistance or bold disobedience.
or
definitely
without doubt (used for emphasis).
"I will definitely be at the airport to meet you"
synonyms:certainly, surely, for sure, unquestionably, without doubt, without question, undoubtedly, indubitably, positively, absolutely;

in a definite manner; clearly.
"we couldn't plan to go elsewhere until we had heard from you more definitely"

Small difference but.......
 

pompeyexpat

War Hero
No, not really, but career paths are very different. As an Engineer Officer the majority of my jobs are shore based, so having completed my CISE/DWEO time I'm now in my second shore job and won't go back to sea (other than as a sea rider - I got back from a boat yesterday) until I'm promoted to Lt Cdr. Similarly, Logistics Officers will spend more time ashore but Warfare Officers not so much. Certainly not in the first 10 years or so anyway.

But that's by the by. You shouldn't look to make career decisions like that based on how quickly you may or may not get promoted, but on whether you'll enjoy the job. The RN will find plenty of ways of screwing you over and pissing you off, at least try and be doing a job you enjoy while they're doing that.
 

Bradhead

Midshipman
@pompeyexpat

Again thank you for the insight!

I think warfare id definitely for me and will be moving forward with this.

In terms of Lt Cdr, how long have you been in the RN for and when do you expect to be promoted?

Regards

B
 

pompeyexpat

War Hero
Nearly 28 years.

My situation is subtly different - I joined as 18 as a mechanic and after subsequently becoming an Artificer 10 years in, I had my papers raised for a commission when I was a Chief 'tiff, going through Dartmouth in 2012.

For promotion - not really in my hands. I'm in zone and I'm happy with my reports, but whether that's enough or not is somebody else's decision. For me personally at my stage of life (grown-up kids, one of whom is also a submariner, and a grand-daughter) I prefer to be enjoying what I'm doing rather than actively chasing promotion. I have a job until I'm 60 if I want it and a pension in the bag, so when I find the job starts interfering with my life too much I'll go.
 

Sumo

War Hero
defiantly - in a manner that shows open resistance or bold disobedience.
or
definitely
without doubt (used for emphasis).
"I will definitely be at the airport to meet you"
synonyms:certainly, surely, for sure, unquestionably, without doubt, without question, undoubtedly, indubitably, positively, absolutely;

in a definite manner; clearly.
"we couldn't plan to go elsewhere until we had heard from you more definitely"

Small difference but.......
surprisingly I didn't notice:)
 

Bradhead

Midshipman
Being a submariner I presume regardless of if I am SSN or SSBN I will be based in faslane for at least the beginning of my career, is this correct?
 
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