Warfare Officer (Submarine)

Chalky

Lantern Swinger
I have, to my Career Officer's endless delight, decided to pursue a career as a warfare officer on her majesty's finest submersible vessels.

The literature is very informative in painting a broad picture of what goes on, but I was wondering if anyone out there can give me more useful information, apart from not bothering with sun block or not forgetting to hold my breath? A sort of day to day picture, good points, bad points and general stuff would be appreciated.

Anything useful for the AIB related to this wouldn't go amiss either! :)
 

snorko

Lantern Swinger
Oh dear oh dear.....
You have to choose between bombers and Fleet boats; the following may help.

Fleet boats - operate around the world so lots of runs ashore. work a 1 in 2 routine at sea and you will be worked hard, especially as a junior dabber where you will be 2OOW and quite often a ship controller - bit like flying a plane but you are underwater and have no windows and your oppo's all smell. You will also have your part 3 to do - this is what gets you your dolphins and that extra £11 per day. You will get lots of experience quite quickly and if you are good you should quickly graduate to Navigators course and the Advanced warfare Course which is the step beforee the infamous "perisher". Accommodation is pretty crap, you could well be living in the bomb shop and if not, hot bunking is pretty much guaranteed. The cameraderie is good and you should enjoy it.

Bombers - deploy for 3 months at a time, stay underwater, no comms with the outside world. Spend your time tiptoeing around the oceans, being very quiet, slow and avoiding anything that comes near. Get very few runs ashore but because you can plan your life much better you get to take LOADS of leave so can spend all of the well earned money. You will be worked quite hard at sea, and the Officer of the day duties are a complete bitch as you have to look after the big pointy things that go bang! However you do get your own 3 berth cabin, no hot bunking and when you come off watch - as you work 1 in 3 at sea, you always get to watch a movie - Bonus.

The choice is yours
 
As a Warfare Officer you get no choice between Bombers and SSN's - not at least for the first 6 years of your career anyway. You'll go simply where the Appointer wants you to go - I'd still look to buy a house in Scotland though as we're all going to eventually live up there anyway!

Sornko had it pretty much right though. On an SSN you do have the chance to push a periscope around and dot the spot whilst your a PIII and Navigator/SCO (ie your first 2 jobs - probably 4-6 years, depending on boats programmes and how good you are), and also LIMITED opportunity to be a Ship Controller (you'll be too busy doing the first two jobs than being a Ship Controller, plus the fact Senior Rates are Ship Controllers as well, so why ease their Watchbill and make yours harder!?!).

On a Bomber you'll get to do the same as a SSN Warfare Officer, however you are limited on how much inshore work you'll do (ie BINTS, etc), and where in the World you go. Bearing in mind that Perisher (your ultimate goal) is mainly spent doing inshore work and SF ops, you need the SSN experience. However, you will get to pretend to be the Dived OOW alot earlier in your career (the Watch Leader will always be on hand to get you out of the shit, if required) and this does bring about a certain amount of job satisfaction.

On a daily basis though everything revolves around 6 on/off ie 0700-1300, 1300-1900, etc so don't expect much sleep, especially during Work-Up and whilst you doing your PIII! The extra money is a bonus though (despite the best efforts of JPA), especially when you reach the dizzy heights of becoming a Watch Leader (£25!!!!)!

Good luck, and I'll see you out there.
 

snorko

Lantern Swinger
I agree with neveragainonbombers on that. The only advantage of Bombers is much more rack time (sleep). For a Warfare Officer the average patrol can be very very boring..... you rarely get to play with other units and if you do hear another unit you run away. The bit about pretending to be the dived OOW is also a good comment. Have seen a few guys do it, one was ******* scary - close quarters became closer quarters, and often the ship control team knew what to do before the pretend Dived OOW!! It is however good experience and you will learn a lot very quickly. You will get stitched for OOD duties on a Bomber as a junior Warfare Officer and no money will compensate you for the joys of having responsibility for a bunch of Trident Missiles.

One thing to bear in mind, SSBN's or SSN's is that you will be treated like pondlife until you pass your PtIII....
 

Chalky

Lantern Swinger
Thanks for the thoughts and advice, everyone. It's useful as I'll no doubt be asked this at my board interview.

At least there are few disadvantages between the two, although it does sound like SSN's offer a greater breadth of experience.

Sorry for the late reply, but I didn't get an email informing me of comments!
 

slim

War Hero
Chalky said:
Thanks for the thoughts and advice, everyone. It's useful as I'll no doubt be asked this at my board interview.

At least there are few disadvantages between the two, although it does sound like SSN's offer a greater breadth of experience.

Sorry for the late reply, but I didn't get an email informing me of comments!
Sorry you didn't get your email sir. Will have a quick word with RR duty steward.
 
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