Military Capabilities

UK Royal Air Force says it has turned corner on pilot training backlog

18 October 2019

A senior Royal Air Force (RAF) officer has told a UK parliamentary committee that the service has the backlog in pilot training under control.

Air Marshal Richard Knighton, deputy chief of defence staff for financial and military capability, said the issue had peaked last year, with 261 trained pilots "on hold" waiting to complete their training.

He told the UK House of Commons Defence Select Committee on 15 October that the figure had dropped to about 200 in 2019, and that the RAF had a plan to reduce this to about 30 pilots over the next two years.

AM Knighton revealed to the committee that Defence Secretary Ben Wallace wrote to the head of the RAF, Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston, earlier in October to stress that clearing the backlog of pilots should be the "highest priority" of the service and requesting monthly updates from the RAF.

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