The Navy unveiled a new robotics warfare rating Thursday to oversee robotic and autonomous system operations.

The rating, known as the Robotics Warfare Specialist, or RW, will operate both active and passive payload systems and sensors, while maintaining these robotics systems, which were not identified in a naval administrative message, or NAVADMIN, announcing the new rating.

“The RW rating is a major milestone in our Navy’s relentless march to achieve a truly hybrid Fleet,” the message said. “This dedicated robotics rating will accelerate development of deep expertise in rapidly advancing autonomous technologies. This new rating is now open to Active Duty Sailors.”

Those who convert to the robotics warfare rating will primarily come from those currently or previously assigned to billets in unmanned vehicle divisions and those with applicable Navy enlisted classification codes.

“All Active Duty ratings are open for conversion to RW, but it is important to note that this will initially be a small and highly selective rating,” the NAVADMIN said.

It’s unclear how many sailors will serve in this rating. A Navy fact sheet said “community requirements and employment will determine the manning numbers.”

Active duty sailors between the ranks of E-4 and E-9 may submit a request to convert, and commands will coordinate with their immediate superior in command and enlisted community manager so they can apply.

The Navy-wide robotics warfare advancement exam will kick off in September for E-5 and E-6 sailors. Higher ranks will undergo the exam and screening board in 2025.

Sailors will transfer the robotics warfare community once their current tour concludes, if they haven’t already moved into a converted billet.

Navy Education and Training Command is working on a training pipeline specific to the robotic warfare rating, and the Navy expects that will open to incoming sailors in fiscal year 2026.

The Navy will open the rating to sailors in the Reserves at a later time.

More information on the new rating is available here.

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