Airborne Combat Navigator ... (Military - Officer)  What They Do

Just the Facts


Airborne combat navigators use radar, radio, and other navigation equipment to determine position, direction of travel, intended course, and other operations of aircraft. They also operate other mission critical systems on the aircraft such as surveillance, communications, electronic warfare, and other weapon systems. In addition, they monitor, evaluate, and direct flying operations and training programs.

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


A person in this career:

  • Coordinates air navigation, meteorology, flying directives, aircraft operating procedures, and mission tactics
  • Conducts or supervises training of crewmembers to ensure operational readiness of crew
  • Reviews mission goals, intelligence, and weather information in preparation for flight
  • Participates in mission planning, preparation, filing of flight plan, and crew briefing
  • Ensures aircraft is preflighted, inspected, loaded, equipped, and manned for mission
  • Formulates test procedures and conducts tests to evaluate structural integrity, performance, handling characteristics, reliability, and suitability of aircraft and systems
  • Manages research, test and evaluation projects, and programs
  • Develops plans and policies, monitors operations, and advises commanders
  • Assists commanders and performs staff functions
  • Identifies design and operational deficiencies and recommends improvements

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 involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Judging how far away an object is, or which of several objects is closer or farther away
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Seeing clearly in low light conditions
  • Seeing objects or movement to one's side when looking forward
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Overnight travel
  • Overtime work
  • Rotating shift work
  • Weekend work