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Aviation Warfare

Naval Aviator

Search for underwater threats. Deliver payloads of incredible firepower or necessary manpower. Execute strategic aerial maneuvers anywhere from the stratosphere to just hundreds of feet above the sea. This is just a glimpse of your career as a Naval Aviator. You also may find yourself:

  • Flying some of the most innovative and high-tech aircraft in the world
  • Providing vital attack, defense and logistic support to the Fleet
  • Controlling and maintaining all internal and external aircraft systems

Key Responsibilities

Navy Pilots and Naval Flight Officers (NFOs) are important components in an exclusive, world-class group of Officers. This job will require you to perform at the best of your ability at all times. Making use of your advanced training and unparalleled knowledge to provide the utmost safety and security in the world’s skies.

As a Pilot, you may:

  • Take part in antisubmarine warfare and mine countermeasures, as well as search and rescue operations and vertical replenishment missions
  • Receive specialized training on the advanced tactical systems found on Navy aircraft
  • Conduct enemy surveillance by collecting photographic intelligence

As an NFO, you may:

  • Study aerodynamics, aircraft engine systems, meteorology, navigation, flight planning and flight safe
  • Train and specialize in EA-6B Prowler electronic countermeasures aircraft, F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet jet fighters, E-2C Hawkeye early warning and control aircraft, and the new P-8A Poseidon antisubmarine aircraft
  • Electronically detect and track ships, submarines, aircraft and missiles
Work Environment

As a Navy Pilot or an NFO, missions and assignments can be anywhere there is sea or sky – anywhere around the globe. This includes working from carrier battle groups or other sea-based platforms and Naval Air Stations or at other locations on shore.

Training & Advancement

Those entering aviation programs must first attend complete a six-week air indoctrination course at Naval Aviation Schools Command, in Pensacola, Florida. From there, prospective Pilots and NFOs attend primary flight training.

Pilots and NFOs then request an aircraft pipeline and enter the intermediate phase of flight training, which builds upon basic flight and navigation training. The final phase is advanced naval flight training, focusing on mission specifics. After completion, Pilots and NFOs are awarded their “wings of gold” and report to their respective Fleet Replacement Squadrons (FRSs) for further training specific to their aircraft.

Promotion opportunities are regularly available but competitive and based on performance. It’s also important to note that specialized training received and work experience gained in the course of service can lead to valuable credentialing and occupational opportunities in related fields.

Education Opportunities

Following your initial flying tour as a Navy Pilot or an NFO, you can attend the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey, California, where you may be able to earn a master’s or doctoral degree while being paid full-time.

Qualifications & Requirements

A four-year degree is required to work as a Navy Pilot or Naval Flight Officer. All candidates must also be U.S. citizens, willing to serve worldwide and qualified for sea duty.

General qualifications may vary depending upon whether you’re currently serving, whether you’ve served before or whether you’ve never served before.

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