Navy Dads

Aviation Ordnanceman AO
Aviation Ordnancemen (AO) receive, inspect, package, store, handle, and process for shipment:  airborne weapons, air launched torpedoes, aerial mines, sonobuoys, pyrotechnics and ammunition; maintain, test, assemble, load, download, arm, and de-arm all airborne weapons, aircraft gun systems, targets, sonobuoys, and pyrotechnics for aircraft carriage; receive, inspect, inventory, configure, test, and maintain Armament Weapons Support Equipment (AWSE), Ordnance Handling Equipment (OHE), Aircraft Armament Equipment (AAE) and Materials Handling Equipment (MHE); test and maintain aircraft armament release and control systems; inspect and maintain conventional ordnance magazines and Ready Service Lockers (RSL); maintain and operate magazine sprinkler systems; maintain and operate cargo/weapons elevators; perform preventative maintenance and inventory small arms weapons; manage accounting systems, rework of airborne weapons/systems/equipment, and conventional weapons qualification/certification programs, afloat and ashore; and prepare, review, maintain, and inspect compliance with directives and reports applicable to Notice of Ammunition Reclassification (NAR), Hazards of Electromagnetic Radiation to Ordnance (HERO), weapons certification program, and explosive handling certification program.


Aviation ordnancemen (AO's)are aircraft armament (weapons) specialists in charge of storing, servicing, inspecting and handling of all types of weapons and ammunition carried on Navy aircraft. These technicians may also volunteer to fly as Naval Aircrew. Aircrew performs numerous in-flight duties and operates aircraft systems in turbojet, helicopter, or propeller aircraft.


What they do:

Inspect, maintains and repair aircraft mechanical and electrical armament/ordnance systems;

• Service aircraft guns and accessories;

• Stow, assembles and load aviation ammunition including aerial mines, torpedoes, missiles and rockets;

• Service bomb, missile and rocket releasing and launching devices;

• Load supplemental munitions;

• Assemble, tests and maintain air-launched guided missiles;

• Supervise operation of aviation ordnance shops, armories and stowage facilities.


Working Environment

AOs perform their duties at sea on flight decks and ashore in hangars, on flight lines at air stations, or in shops under various environmental conditions. They work closely with others, do mostly physical work and require little supervision.

Qualifications and Interests

People in this rating should have above average competence with tools, equipment and machinery, possess manual dexterity and be physically fit, have skills in math and the ability to work well with others and function successfully as team members.
Record keeping is also very important. Other helpful qualities include the ability to do detailed work and perform repetitive tasks.
AOs must be U.S. citizens eligible for a security clearance. Normal hearing and color and depth perception are required for this rating.

Approximately 8,300 men and women now work in the AO rating. Opportunities for placement are good.

AO - Aircraft Armament Equipment Technician

Aircraft Armament Equipment (AAE) Technicians conduct intermediate level maintenance on strike Aircraft Armament Equipment (AAE) including aircraft gun systems and Linkless Ammunition Loading Systems (LALS); issue, receipt, inventory and operational checkouts, corrosion control, troubleshoot, preserve/depreserve and periodic maintenance. They also conduct component removal, repair, replacement procedures, often using special tools and test equipment.

AO - Ammunition Logistics Manager

Ammunition Logistics Managers serve as the ammunition accountant; and under limited supervision, prepare and maintain ammunition records and ammunition transaction reports.

AO - Armament Weapons Support Equipment Technician

Armament Weapons Support Equipment (AWSE) Technicians perform intermediate level maintenance on both peculiar and common ordnance handling and transportation equipment; maintain, operate, and issue/receipt of AWSE, Material Handling Equipment (MHE) and Ordnance Handling Equipment (OHE), to include corrosion control, deficiency reporting, misuse and abuse reporting, preservation, and tools used for canning and decanning, magazine handling, and assembly of weapons or ordnance-related commodities. Includes hoisting beams, weapons carriers, strongbacks, hand lift trucks, weapon skids, trailers, bomb trucks (non-self powered) and their associated weapons assembly tables, maintenance stands, and other weapons-related equipment. Technicians support both air- and surface-launched weapons.

AO - Armorer

Armorers manage and issue small arms, ammunition, explosive devices, optics, and associated equipment to qualified military personnel, working in a shipboard or shore environment; conduct maintenance on small arms, magazine sprinkler systems and similar explosive items; replace missing or broken components while maintaining small arms and weapons inventories; and assist at range facilities and with in-service training as needed, along with rebuilding, inspecting, and ensuring weapons are in safe operating condition.

AO - Aviation Ordnance Quality Assurance Safety Supervisor

Aviation Ordnance Quality Assurance Safety Supervisors inform personnel of the hazards of ammunition, explosives, safety principles, and practices outlined in applicable governing directives; train personnel on safe operating procedures; and conduct, manage, and monitor the Quality Assurance programs and the inspection/certification of ship and shore-based weapons.

AO - Squadron Ordnance Technician

Squadron Ordnance Technicians perform organizational level maintenance and weapons loading/downloading on fixed and rotary wing aircraft; maintain and inspect airborne weapons and Armament Weapons Support Equipment (AWSE), including aircraft guns, gun accessories, aerial towed target equipment, small arms, ammunition, and weapons Aircraft Armament Equipment (AAE); and load and download aircraft gun ammunition, aerial mines, air-launched torpedoes, precision-guided munitions, countermeasures, sonobuoys, pyrotechnics, and air-launched guided missiles.

AO - Weapons Department Technician

Weapons Department Technicians perform maintenance and testing ashore and afloat on all air-launched weapons, magazine sprinkler systems, and cargo/weapons elevators.  Weapons Department Technicians are assigned to Shipboard and Shore Weapons Departments as conventional weapons handlers,  magazine and ordnance control operators, and cargo/weapons elevator operators;  issue, receive, transfer, and store conventional weapons;` assemble and disassemble bombs and rockets; and load and unload flares, rocket launchers, Linkless Ammunition Loading System (LALS).

Security Clearance Requirement: Secret


Other Requirements

  • Vision of 20/100, correctable to 20/20
  • Must have normal color perception
  • Must have normal hearing (see below)

Normal hearing required. Frequencies: 3000hz 4000hz 5000hz 6000hz Average hearing threshold level in these four frequencies must be less than 30db, with no level greater than 45db in any one frequency. If hearing level exceeds these limits, the applicant is enlistment ineligible for the rating.


110210-N-SF508-068 YOKOSUKA, Japan (Feb. 10, 2011) Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Bradley Spencer, from Scottsburg, Ind., reads about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to first grade students at The Sullivans Elementary School during an African-American Heritage Month event at Fleet Activities Yokosuka. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Charles Oki/Released)




110205-N-8913A-007 ATLANTIC OCEAN (Feb. 5, 2011) Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Rene Reyes, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31, inspects an M61A-2 Vulcan cannon inside the hangar bay of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). George H.W. Bush is underway in the Atlantic Ocean conducting a composite training unit exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Leonard Adams/Released)


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