What Is a Weapons System Engineer?


Engineering is a highly competitive and aggressive field, both in school and in the workplace, especially in the field of systems engineering. The job is lucrative, but also taxing and challenging. Those who wish to pursue the career of a weapons system engineer should enjoy mathematics, science and have a well-developed work ethic.

What is a Systems Engineer?

  • System engineers are like the overseers of large engineering projects. They deal with the managing and design of large projects or systems. A systems engineer makes sure that processes and tools are in place to deal with the issues that arise from these large and complex projects. They deal with logistics and team coordination. System engineers are involved from start to finish on projects.

What is a Weapons System?

  • A weapons system deals with the actual weapon, such as a missile, and the components needed to make it work, such as the targeting device. They are mostly computerized, and almost exclusively long-range weapons. Many weapons can now be controlled from remote locations. This is an example of a weapons system.

Weapons System Engineering

  • A weapons system engineer deals with all aspects of systems and weapons engineering. They integrate mechanical, electrical and computer systems into weapons projects. This can include radar, sonar, explosives and ballistics. Weapons systems engineers are in charge of projects and run numerous tests and analysis to make sure that their project will be completed properly and efficiently. They work in offices and testing facilities so their job takes them in and out of the field. One of the major elements of the job is teamwork. While their own teams are usually small, system engineers must talk with other specialists during their projects, often in the form of presentations.


  • Most technical schools offer courses of study that focus on systems engineering. People often go into a masters program after they earn their undergraduate degree in an effort to give themselves a better chance to succeed after college. The only school that offers a specific course of study on weapons engineering is the U.S. Naval Academy. However, it is not necessary to attend the academy to get a job in weapons system engineering. Once finished with school, weapons system engineering jobs are usually found through the government, either through the military branches or private firms.


  • The average salary for system engineers in May 2010 is $75,000 a year.

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  • Photo Credit airplane missile image by Stanisa Martinovic from Fotolia.com
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