Reduced numbers to enter fast-jet training

Report in RAF News 16.4.04

The numbers of new pilots entering the RAF's fast-jet flying training schools are being reduced.

The intakes to fast-jet pilot training courses at Linton-on Ouse and at Valley have been reduced and the into-training target for pilots entering Cranwell in 2004/05 will fall from 185 to 100. The into-productive service target has also been cut.

The moves follow success in improving flying training and operational conversion unit pass rates, and increasing retention of experienced pilots through the use of financial retention initiatives.

This means the RAF is about to achieve "manning balance" on the fast-jet front-line. A spokesman said this meant the outputs from pilot training courses needed to be adjusted to compensate. "We otherwise risk dilution or short tour lengths on the front-line, both of which could impact adversely on operational capability.

"To that end we have this year reduced our into-training target and made a corresponding adjustment to the RAF fast-jet into-productive service target from 60 to 45. The latter will have a short-term effect on pilots currently within fast-jet training. But we owe it to our people to limit the impact of this and handling options are being considered at the moment."

Some personnel currently in the training system are likely to have holding posts for a little longer than normal between phases of training and suitable holding posts are being identified where required. Further measures are being considered, such as options for personnel to transfer to helicopters or multi-engine aircraft. A streaming confirmation board will be created to manage the process.

"Overall, these are prudent measures that ensure we continue to maintain an efficient training schedule.

"They build on our recent fastjet recruiting and retention successes and ensure that we continue to develop a cadre of new pilots for the future without short-term damage to operational capability." "They must be seen also in the wider context of significant and continuing investment in new capabilities." the spokesman said.