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UK seeking overseas pilot training to mitigate backlog

With the UK struggling to address a backlog in its pilot training pipeline, the MoD is looking at a number of options including sending students overseas. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

The United Kingdom is seeking overseas training slots to help mitigate the backlog in its military pilot training programme, with a government minister saying it has already had to send “a small number” of student flight crew to the United States.

Answering questions in the House of Commons, Minister of State for the Armed Forces, James Heappey, said that additional slots are being considered for a US-based training programme that is already being used to cut the backlog, while other avenues to increase the flow of student pilots for the Royal Air Force (RAF), and other aviation branches of the UK military are also being sought.

“The RAF constantly reviews its training pipeline and introduces measures as and when required in order to strike the best balance between pipeline supply and the front-line demand for new pilots. Such measures currently include a small number of pilots being trained on the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training programme in the US as part of a five-year commitment completing in fiscal year 2024–25, with additional training capacity being requested through this programme,” Heappey said on 6 October. “We are also working with allies and partners to examine whether UK pilots could be trained overseas, or where we might pool our resources to mutual benefit.”

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