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

Just the Facts


Monitors radar and sonar equipment in the military. Normally specializes in either radar or sonar.

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


A person in this career:

  • Detects and tracks position, direction, and speed of aircraft, ships, submarines, and missiles.
  • Analyzes acoustic intelligence.
  • Sets up and operates radar equipment to direct artillery fire.
  • Monitors early warning air defense systems.
  • Sends and receives messages using electronic communication systems.
  • Analyzes contact data to determine tactical intelligence.
  • Operates submarine sonar, oceanographic equipment, and submarine auxiliary sonar.
  • Detects, tracks, and classifies surface and sub-surface contacts utilizing state of the art electronic equipment.
  • Participates in weapons handling functions.

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