Skip to main content

Royal Air Force (Fast Jet Pilots)

Volume 982: debated on Monday 31 March 1980

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many Royal Air Force fast jet pilots are currently under training compared with the figures for a similar date during each of the past five years.

The number of fast jet pilots currently under training is 179. The number of fast jet pilots under training at the same time in previous years is as follows:

1979153
1978131
1977126
1976112
It is not possible to produce comparable figures for 1975, since the fast jet training patterns were changed during that year.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the current wastage rate in the training of Royal Air Force fast jet pilots; and how this compares with the rate for each of the past five years.

The wastage rate in the training of Royal Air Force fast jet pilots is currently calculated to be 50 per cent. The wastage rate in the previous five years according to our latest calculations was as follows:

1978–7939 per cent.
1977–7853 per cent.
1976–7765 per cent.
1975–7646 per cent.
1974–7541 per cent.
Of the wastages in the fast jet stream, up to 75 per cent. are retrained in other pilot roles. Of the remainder a significant number train as navigators or transfer to other officer branches.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the current estimated shortfall of Royal Air Force fast jet pilots; and when the numbers are expected to meet the preferred operational level.

It is not the practice to give details of Service manpower shortages in specific areas. Despite the overall shortage of pilots of about 13 per cent. in the RAF the fast jet front line is being kept up to strength. The measures now being taken to overcome the pilot shortage will, in time, make it easier to do this.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the most recent estimated cost of training a Royal Air Force fast jet pilot to completion of (a) advanced flying training and (b) all-through training.

Fast jet flying training is the longest and most expensive undertaken. The cost up to "Wings" standard—the end of advanced flying training —is about £530,000 per pilot. The tactical weapons and operational conversion training which the pilot must undergo before joining a squadron can bring the cost up to about £1·7 million depending on the aircraft type.These figures take account of the identifiable costs of instruction, the running costs of the flying training organisation, the depreciation of the capital equipment, aircraft, and all ground support facilities and also of the wastage at each stage of training. The estimated costs quoted are therefore the average per successful pilot based on the latest available figures updated to 1979–80 prices. They do not indicate the marginal costs of training an individual pilot.