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Weapons Engineering Technician

Non-Commissioned Member | Full Time

In Demand

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As a member of the military, Weapons Engineering Technicians are responsible for the corrective and planned maintenance activities of the Weapons, Communications, Radar and Marine Navigation systems onboard a ship.

The primary responsibilities of Weapons Engineering Technicians are to:

  • Monitor and evaluate the performance of electronic equipment
  • Operate electronic diagnosis systems, specialized tools and test equipment
  • Perform diagnostic analysis on components and systems to identify faults
  • Repair faulty electronic equipment to restore system function
  • Inspect, maintain, and install, electronic components
  • Compile test logs, evaluation reports, equipment maintenance documentation and read and interpret electronic drawings

Work environment

Weapons Engineering Technicians spend much of their career on board ships with “home ports” in either Halifax, Nova Scotia or Esquimalt, British Columbia. They experience the unique adventures and challenges that come with work at sea, such as working in small spaces, on open deck surfaces repairing and maintaining equipment and a rotating shift or watch system.

Weapons Engineering Technicians usually work the regular day shift on board a ship they are assigned. In addition to their usual duties, subordinate Weapons Engineering Technicians perform out-of-occupation duties such as cleaning, painting, working in the cafeteria and loading supplies.

If you chose a career in the Regular Force, upon completion of all required training, you will be assigned to your first base. While there is some flexibility with regards to postings (relocations), accommodations can’t always be made, and therefore, you can likely expect to move at some point in your career. However, if you decide to join the Primary Reserve Force, you will do so through a specific Reserve unit. Outside of training, your chosen Reserve unit will be your workplace on a part time basis, and you will not be obligated to relocate to a different base. As part of the Primary Reserve Force, you typically work one night per week and some weekends as a minimum with possibilities of full-time employment.

Career Overview





LEADING SEAMAN KEVIN ALLAN: I’m Leading Seaman Kevin Allan from Rosemère, Quebec. I’m a Weapons Engineering Technician serving on HMCS Regina.

Weapons Engineering Technicians work on many systems critical to a warship’s navigation, communications and fighting ability. 

That can go from doing a simple maintenance routine – and making sure that the gears turn and that the combat systems are operational – all the way to dealing with the computer systems that control them. Their duties also include the storage, transport and loading of powerful ammunition, torpedoes and missiles, as well as the operation and maintenance of unmanned aerial vehicles.

ALLAN: I’m the type of person that likes everyday challenges, I love the opportunity to grow, evolve, learn, be presented with new opportunities to advance.

In addition, Weapons Engineering Techs keep the ship’s radar, sonar, communications, and networking systems fully functioning on a 24/7 basis. Turning wrenches, equipment testing, and network repairs are all part of the job to ensure electronic communications flow seamlessly across platforms. This occupation is well suited to people who love working with mechanical & electronic equipment and troubleshooting complex systems.

ALLAN: There’s a huge sense of satisfaction knowing you can get a system up and running and provide capability back to an area that’s crucial. There’s many facets that make this job really interesting and make it fun and rewarding

ALLAN: What makes a warship is the weapons on the ship itself. I work with the primary gun systems and I just find the job – the detail in itself – is really cool.  We have the main gun that defends us against any air, land or water threats, and we have our close-in weapons system which is a high-rate-of-fire Gatling gun.

But it’s not just firepower that makes this job exciting. Weapons Engineering Techs also get a chance to steer the ship.

ALLAN: One of our secondary duties is being at helm, on the bridge driving the ship. It’s pretty exciting, no one ever thinks once in their life they’ll ever drive a warship, but we’re up there steering the ship around and guiding it through.

After completing their training, Weapons Engineering Techs are posted to an operational ship either in Halifax, Nova Scotia or just outside Victoria, B.C. The first 12 months on board ship will be spent acquiring practical experience, working under the supervision of the more senior technicians in the department. They’ll put their knowledge to the test working towards their certification as Apprentice Weapons Engineering Technicians.

During their apprenticeship, Weapons Engineering Techs rotate through the 5 major specialties of the trade, where they learn more about the radar, sonar, communications, armament, and fire control systems onboard the ship. Within a few years, they’ll be working independently on many systems critical to the ship’s communications and fighting ability. They’ll have the opportunity to choose one of the 5 specialties and focus intensively on that.

There are also opportunities to learn skills outside of the trade.

ALLAN: I sent my application in to be a ship’s team diver. That’s a great opportunity. I learn a new skillset, it gives me the qualification, the ability to do some diving on my own time.

A typical day at sea for any sailor can include practical experience and team training such as simulated fire, flood or medical emergencies called “damage control”, that involve the entire ship’s company.

When not on duty, sailors have time to exercise and relax with colleagues. They eat their meals together, have personal access to internet and email, and communicate regularly with friends and family back home by satellite telephone.

ALLAN: There’s opportunity at every corner to try something new, to be educated, to take courses, to perform military operations that are specific to what the Navy handles. I’m definitely excited about all of these realms of opportunity around me.





Related Civilian Occupations

  • Electronics Repair Apprentice
  • Electronics Repair Journeyman
  • Electrical and Electronics Engineer
  • Marine Weapons Engineering Technician
  • Appliance Service and Repair


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 occupations in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits meet the CAF physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.

Learn more about Basic Training here.

Weapons Engineering Technicians will attend academic training at Naval Fleet School Atlantic in Halifax Nova Scotia prior to proceeding on applications training. Applications training can be completed either in Halifax, Nova Scotia or Esquimalt, British Columbia. Both the academic and applications training will take approximately 9 months to complete, it includes:

  • Academic upgrading (primarily mathematics and physics)
  • Electrical and Electronics theory
  • Communications theory and applications
  • Radar theory and applications
  • Sonar theory and applications
  • Shipboard weapons systems theory
  • Ammunition handling and safety
  • Use of hand tools, electrical meters and diagnostic equipment

Weapons Engineering Technicians may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:

  • Side Scan Sonar Operation
  • Video Conferencing Terminal Maintainer
  • High Reliability Soldering
  • Explosives Safety Inspection
  • Fibre Optics

Entry plans

The minimum required education to apply for this occupation is the completion of the provincial requirements for Grade 10 or Secondary 4 in Quebec, including minimum Grade 10 Applied Math (Math 426 or TS 4 in Quebec). It is an asset to have a Physics course at any level.

The ideal candidate will already have a college diploma or Red Seal for a related civilian occupation, the CAF will assess your training and experience and optimize your progression following basic training.

Foreign education may be accepted.

Non-commissioned Member Subsidized Training and Education Program

Because this position requires specialty training, the CAF will pay successful recruits to attend the diploma program at an approved Canadian college. NCM STEP students attend basic training and on-the-job training during the summer months. They receive full-time salary including medical and dental care, as well as vacation time with full-pay in exchange for working with the CAF for a period of time. If you choose to apply to this program, you must apply both to the CAF and the appropriate college.

Learn more about our Paid Education programs here.