Radar and Sonar Operator ... (Military - Enlisted)  What They Do

Just the Facts


Radar and sonar operators set up, operate, and perform preventive maintenance on sophisticated radar and sonar equipment. They use radar and sonar to detect, track, recognize, analyze, and identify objects. The radar and sonar systems are also used to direct artillery fires and forecast the weather.

This career is part of the Government and Public Administration cluster National Security pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Operates radar systems, interior communications circuits, fathometers, and related equipment
  • Operates submarine sonar, oceanographic equipment, and submarine auxiliary sonar
  • Detects, analyzes, classifies, localizes, and reports acoustic transmissions using sophisticated sensors
  • Creates realistic acoustic models for optimized sensor performance
  • Reviews, analyzes, and summarizes data collected from radar and sonar systems resulting in usable intelligence
  • Operates surface ship underwater fire control systems
  • Operates firefinder radar and assists in engagement planning; conducts reconnaissance of general position areas for relocation of weapons locating radar
  • Recognizes and responds to environmental and tactical changes, and provides continuous tactical advice
  • Constructs field fortifications and camouflages to protect the equipment position
  • Prepares radar equipment, powers generator, and associated equipment for movement and operation

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Moving the arms, legs and torso together when the whole body is in motion
  • Bending, stretching, twisting, or reaching
  • Seeing clearly at a distance

Work Hours and Travel

  • Overnight travel
  • Rotating shift work
  • Weekend work