SU-30SM, SU-35S, and SU-34 flying in formation - Sputnik International, 1920
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RAF Top Brass in 'Tailspin' Over Pilot Training Delays, Leaked Memo Says

© Photo : Twitter/ RAFThe UK's Royal Air Force (RAF) said that it had intercepted a military aircraft identified as Russia's Su-24 in international airspace over the Black Sea off the coast of Romania on August 17, 2021
The UK's Royal Air Force (RAF) said that it had intercepted a military aircraft identified as Russia's Su-24 in international airspace over the Black Sea off the coast of Romania on August 17, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.08.2022
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Demands from NATO to fly more patrols since the start of Russia's special military operation in Ukraine have pulled experience pilots away from training duties. A defence review last year that made changes to the types of frontline aircraft used by the services complicated matters.
British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has ordered a probe into hold-ups in training new pilots for the armed forces.
Leaked documents published last Friday showed that nearly 350 trainee pilots for the Royal Air Force (RAF), the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm and the Army Air Corps have been either on waiting lists for a pilot training course for a skills refresher course since May.
Reasons given include faults in the engines of the BAe Hawk advanced jet trainer aircraft used to prepare pilots to fly fighter aircraft.
But recent demands from NATO to fly more patrols since the start of Russia's special military operation Ukraine have pulled experience pilots away from training duties.
And a defence review last year that made changes to the types of frontline aircraft used by the services complicated matters.
The note said senior RAF leadership, including chief of staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, were "in a total tailspin about this".
"They will feel let down and disappointed," it read. "They will now be less likely to view the student cohort's predicament favourably, too".
"Would you, in their position. The military is all about trust, if you betray that knowingly by leaking reams of official information (it's not exactly a small slip-up in a personal post on social media!), then you can expect that betrayal will have consequences."
A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesperson said Wallace had launched a Defence Operational Capability (DOC) audit into the fiasco.
"At the direction of the defence secretary, the MOD is conducting an internal audit of flying training, in recognition of continued challenges with the training pipeline," the MoD said.
However, the parameters of the probe have reportedly yet to be set.
Problems with the firing cartridges of British-made Martin Baker ejections seats have prompted the US, Israel and other countries to ground their fleets of F-35 stealth fighter jets — reputedly the most expensive combat aircraft in history.
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