Parl panel concerned over training of IAF pilots

New Delhi:  Training of young Air Force pilots has come under the scrutiny of a Parliamentary panel which has expressed serious concern over the use of "outdated and aging" aircraft for the purpose.

According to the draft report of Public Accounts Committee, which is under consideration, members have also expressed concern over the fact that though the force has proposed to acquire new aircraft, "no tangible measures" have been taken to meet the strategic needs of the country.

In the draft report, the Committee said it is "seriously concerned" that training establishments are imparting training mostly with outdated and ageing aircraft and the IAF has not yet formulated any long-term plan for training of pilots from fighter and other streams.

The Committee is also "unhappy" over the issue that the IAF has failed to explore alternative for the defective trainer aircraft and early induction of Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) to achieve its strategic goals.

On the shortfall in pilot training, the draft report said between 2001 and 2006, the number of pilots trained in various streams was much lower than the planned targets. The IAF had planned to train 220 pilots in various streams from 2001-05 and 110 pilots in 2006 in one course.

The number of pilots trained in various streams during 2001-06 was less than planned targets and shortfall in achieving the training targets varied from 15 to 31 per cent, it said.

The Committee noted that the IAF`s training establishments were unable to accommodate the increased load of trainees due to limitations of air space and runway occupancy and other difficulties.

According to the draft report, the IAF "regrettably failed" to ensure adequate level of intake of pilot trainees through an effective recruitment strategy.