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Royal Navy: Air Engineering Technician

ob Profile
The Royal Navy is not only about warships. The Fleet Air Arm has a range of high-tech, fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft currently in service, most of which are due to be replaced with new types over the next 10 years. Operating this kind of advanced hardware means that we need highly trained, dedicated, skilled and professional men and women to keep things running smoothly.

That's where the Air Engineering Technician (AET) comes in.

As an Air Engineering Technician you will receive one of the best training packages available. Your training will start from Day 1, and continue throughout your Naval career. Our aim is to give you the best technical and management training possible in order to make you a highly skilled engineering technician. This will enable you to cope with the challenges that maintaining modern aircraft in a maritime environment can bring. Each promotion that you earn will be accompanied by a training package designed to ensure that you have the knowledge and skills required to do the job.

Modern Naval aircraft are extremely complex and contain a great many systems and equipment. These all have to function correctly or the aircraft will not be able to operate effectively. As a technician, you will be trained to carry out flight servicing, routine servicing and defect rectification to ensure the aircraft are kept safe to fly and in constant operational readiness. And that's just for starters.

Qualifications
To join the Royal Navy as an Air Engineering Technician you need to be between 16 and 37 years old.

We do not specify entry qualifications. However, all entrants will be required to pass a series of selection tests, an interview, medical examination and fitness test. We encourage applications from everyone who believes they have what it takes to be a Royal Navy Air Engineering Technician.

The selection tests are designed to assess whether you have sufficient ability, practical aptitude, determination and personal qualities to embark on intensive engineering training and to meet the challenge of a Naval career. The interview will give you the chance to see if life in the Royal Navy is for you, just as much as it gives us a chance to see if you have the right qualities for the job.

Professional Training
After initial Basic Training at HMS Raleigh in Torpoint, Cornwall, you'll continue your professional training at HMS Sultan at Gosport in Hampshire. Here you will commence Phase 2 of your Naval training – the specialised technical training you will need to become a qualified Air Engineering Technician.

The first part of Phase 2 training is a 20-week course.

The first 8 weeks start with an introduction to the Fleet Air Arm (FAA) and teach you how aircraft fly, basic aircraft construction and associated systems, some basic electrical theory and practical work involving moving and refueling aircraft.

The next 12 weeks include work on training aircraft in a hangar environment. Instruction is given on the associated equipment required to maintain aircraft combined with a practical phase of working on aircraft.

It is on completion of this phase that those demonstrating the right combination of academic and technical ability together with leadership potential will be offered a selection interview for Fast Track promotion to Petty Officer.

You will complete the final part of your initial professional training at an operational Naval Air Station, working with operating aircraft and learning how to apply your training on a particular aircraft type.

At this stage you will be supervised during all aircraft work, but when you are judged capable you will gain the essential 'Qualified to Maintain' (QM) and the 'Qualified to Sign' (QS) awards. On completion of Phase 2B training you will be fully qualified to undertake aircraft servicing work yourself and sign for carrying it out.

During this early part of your career any faults you find will be rectified under the supervision of more senior and experienced ratings who will rely on your integrity, determination and professionalism. Your own experience and ability will be growing all the time, preparing you for promotion.

Further Training
Once you've completed Phase 2 training, after about 12 months in the Navy, you will be advanced to AET 1st Class. The next step up is Leading Air Engineering Technician (LAET). This will involve specialist training in one of two trades: Mechanical (M) or Avionics (Av). At this level you will be expected to take charge of small groups of AETs to carry out maintenance of complex aircraft systems within your specialist trade.

As a potential LAET (M) you will undertake an extensive technical training package. This will include aircraft design, flying controls and propulsion systems, hydraulic and fuel systems. Also included will be logical faultfinding, craft training and supervisory practices, to name a few.

As a potential LAET (Av) your training package will include electronic principles, guided and air launched underwater weapons, aircraft navigation systems, power supplies, radar and electronic warfare sensor systems, digital techniques and communication principles. Logical fault finding, supervisory practices and craft training are also included.

On being selected for Petty Officer Air Engineering Technician, you can expect to be given extensive further training in your chosen specialisation, making you the systems expert in your field. You will be trained to diagnose complex faults in state-of-the-art aircraft systems and use all your engineering skills and judgment to make what could be complex and difficult repairs – and in fast-changing and often inhospitable conditions. You may even be required to fulfill other specialist Air Engineering roles such as Flight Test Engineer where you will diagnose faults in the air alongside the pilot; this will also attract extra pay. It could eventually be up to you whether an aircraft flies or not. But don't worry: by that time you will have gained the confidence and maturity, as well as the capability, to master most problems.

Prospects
The opportunities for promotion within the FAA are excellent. If you're selected for Fast Track promotion you can expect to reach the rank of Petty Officer by your early twenties, having gained a Foundation Degree in the process. For those not selected for Fast Track, providing you show determination, ambition and have the personal qualities we are looking for, you can expect to reach the rank of Petty Officer by your mid-twenties. Indeed, the best of those not selected could be promoted to Petty Officer only some 6 months behind the Fast Track with subsequent promotion on merit. Outstanding ratings that demonstrate a high potential for leadership and advanced training can be selected for a commission as an officer.

Civilian qualifications you can gain
On successful completion of initial professional training you will be awarded a City and Guilds qualification in General Engineering.

On completion of the Petty Officer AET Qualifying Course, you will gain a Foundation Degree in Aeronautical Engineering.

The choice is yours.

What we are looking for in the Air Engineering Technician is aptitude, initiative and a willingness to succeed. If you become an Air Engineering Technician, you could realise your ambitions, receive fully accredited training that is second to none, and enjoy a life of variety and challenge. Your success will testify to the quality of your career choice.