Learn the Everyday Duties of a Naval Fire Control Technician

These sailors oversee weapons and computer systems on Navy subs

Submarine in the sea, USS Nautilus (SSN-571), Nuclear-Powered Submarine, New York City, New York State, USA
••• USS Nautilus (SSN-571), Nuclear-Powered Submarine, New York City. SuperStock / Getty Images

The Fire Control Technician (FT) is responsible for all operational and administrative aspects of a Navy submarine's computer and control mechanisms used in weapons systems and related programs. 

Needless to say, this is an important job in the . It's a little different from most Navy jobs (or ratings, as they're referred to) because as a new recruit, you can't enlist in it directly. You begin by enlisting in the Navy's , and after basic submarine school and the submarine learning center pipeline course, you're assigned to one of the submarine ratings. 

Where you're assigned depends on the needs of the Navy at the time you enlist, as well as your scores in submarine schools and your preference. 

Duties of Navy Fire Control Technicians 

These sailors are crucial to Navy submarine operations. They test and operate the sub's combat control systems and associated systems, participate in weapons-handling functions and operate and maintain non-tactical computer systems and peripherals.

Working Environment for Navy FTs

Duties in this are usually performed aboard submarines. Submarine Electronics/Computer Field personnel usually work indoors in a clean, controlled environment with comfortable temperatures.

However, some work is required in a clean or dirty environment of a shop-like nature. Their work may be independent in nature, but they usually work closely with others under direct supervision.

A-School for Navy Fire Technicians

First, you'll attend at Great Lakes in Illinois. Then you'll spend four weeks in basic enlisted submarine school at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut, followed by 18 weeks at the submarine learning center, also at Groton.

The submarine learning center includes apprenticeship technical training, tactical computer network operations, or TCNO, and FT "A-School." Some students may be selected for advanced training ("C-School,") prior to shipping out to the fleet.

Qualifying as a Navy Fire Technician

When you take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) tests, you have two possible outcomes that will allow you to qualify for this job.

You can either get a combined score of 222 on the arithmetic (AR), mathematical knowledge (MK) electronics information (EI) and general science (GS) portions, or a 222 on the verbal (VE), AR, MK and mechanical comprehension (MC) sections. 

Since you're likely to be handling sensitive information aboard a submarine, you'll need to qualify for a top secret security clearance from the Department of Defense. This will involve a single scope background investigation, and any drug or alcohol abuse, or "moral turpitude" offenses could disqualify you. 

Your record should be free of any civil court convictions other than minor traffic offenses, and be a U.S. citizen. You'll need normal color perception and hearing. 

Sea/Shore Rotation for Navy FT

  • First Sea Tour: 48 months
  • First Shore Tour: 36 months
  • Second Sea Tour: 42 months
  • Second Shore Tour: 36 months
  • Third Sea Tour: 36 months
  • Third Shore Tour: 36 months
  • Fourth Sea Tour: 36 months
  • Forth Shore Tour: 36 months

Sea tours and shore tours for sailors that have completed four sea tours will be 36 months at sea followed by 36 months ashore until retirement.