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Saturday, April 17, 2010

NEWS FLASH - Short service commission officers to fly IAF fighters

Indian Air Force Su30MKI fighter pilot
Indradhanush 2007 Air Exercise, Waddington, UK

New Delhi: Battling a shortage of 1,343 officers, the Indian Air Force has started allowing short service commission officers fly fighter aircraft.

Officers who join the service for 14 years now get to fly fighter aircraft. Until now, only permanent commission officers were allowed to train for fighter operations.

It takes almost four years and over Rs 4 crore to train a fighter pilot — short service officers will be able to do active fighter duty for a maximum of ten years. In the past, these officers had joined the helicopter and transport streams.

The acute shortage of officers in the flying branch — the IAF is over 300 pilots short against the sanctioned strength of 3,278, most in the fighter stream — seems to have necessitated the decision.

“To overcome the shortage of pilots, we have very recently started short service commission for fighter pilots also. Initially it was only for lady officers, now it has been started for fighter pilots. After 14 years, they will also be given an opportunity to leave,” a top IAF officer told a parliamentary panel after being questioned on the shortage of pilots.

The decision is also in line with the policy of creating more posts of short service officers in the armed forces and having a leaner cadre of permanent commission officers. There is also an urgent need for fighter pilots. Over the next decade, the IAF is expected to get close to 400 new fighter jets.

The first batch of short service commission fighter pilots will pass out at the end of this year.

Source: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/short-service-commission-officers-to-fly-iaf-fighters/607633/

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