Mine Warfare Officer

I'm about to go into BRNC (GS Warfare) but I've already been thinking about my specialisation later on in my career, and I've been thinking about Mine Warfare Officer... I haven't just picked this out of the air, for the past year I've been updating and proof reading Jane's Underwater Warfare Systems and Jane's Underwater Security Systems and Technology and have become very interested in the subject, there seems to be a lot of new stuff going on and it all looks good, however...

what are people's personal experiences of it? is it exciting at all or just driving up and down in a search box at slow speeds? I'm not sure if I'd like to be a diver, if I don't go down that route is there still scope for me as a MWO? As with all career choices in and out of the Navy it looks good from the outside, but the reality is not always what it seems!

Thanks for any advice you might have



War Hero
MWO is a good start to a Warfare career. You would get early exposure to the Ops Room and to general Warfare principle, like say writing signals.

For career progression MWO is really the start of your career. You would look to doing a couple of jobs, maybe second in command of a MCM and then PWO course.

However there are some who have stayed in the sub branch and go on to Staff appointments and such like.

I am sure some MWOs will enlighten you.
Only one non-PWO qualified MWO has been promoted to Cdr and I suspect he was the last. However, as Guns says, an MWO on PWO course has a definite advantage because he has already performed most of the tactical functions (AWW, UWW, Comms, Int, etc.), albeit on a smaller scale. Not many other junior Lts have the opportunity to act as the equivalent of the PWO in a ship deployed for operations in the Gulf, Mediterranean or the Baltic.

You are right about the quality of kit. RN mine countermeasures (MCM) equipment is probably the best in the world which is why much of it has been adopted by other navies. It includes the hi-tec Variable Depth Sonar 2093, wideband Sonar 2193, the NAUTIS 3 Combat Management System, the SEAFOX mine disposal system, the REMUS AUV and the new Clearance Diver Life Support Equipment (CDLSE) that incorporates the 'Stealth' breathing apparatus. Life in a mine countermeasures vessel (MCMV) is not all "driving up and down in a search box at slow speeds" but even this is punctuated by the excitement of detecting and disposing of live ordnance. See the 'Latest News' and 'News Archives' pages of the MCDOA website for some recent examples.

Minehunting using NAUTIS 3 and 2193 in the Ops Room of a Hunt Class
And to provide the counter to the cheery news above....

It's remarkably boring, trolling around a box at speeds upto 3 kts. Yes you may be in an Ops Room, however you have 2 guys working for, and honestly the introduction of Sea-Fox has reduced your work load even more. The Ops job does get you some exposure to command level stuff early on, but I would say that an FC, FNO or WAFU would have just as much exposure by the time they got to PWO course. I'd strongly suggest you don't mention to anyone whilst going through BRNC or CFT; wait until you're on SFT and then try and get a period on an MCMV doing it's stuff (as well as a CVS, FF/DD and PP).


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