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UK short of pilots for F-35 jets – Defense Secretary – RT World News

Army struggles to equip all fighter jets due to training crisis, Ben Wallace says

The British military is short of pilots to operate its state-of-the-art F-35 fighter jets due to training issues, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said on Tuesday. The UK has more than two dozen warplanes.

Addressing the House of Lords, Wallace admitted that all F-35s exhibited “quite a challenge.” Explaining the reasons, he noted that flight training has been plagued with delays, with pilots waiting up to eight years before meeting the requirements to operate the sophisticated fighters instead of the target timeframe of two to three years.

“Our pilot pipeline is not in a place where I would like it to be”, he said.

Another factor, according to Wallace, is that the F-35s are relatively new.

In total, the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy plan to operate 138 F-35B 5th generation short takeoff/vertical landing aircraft. However, the UK has so far only purchased 27 devices under the US-led joint programme.

The United Kingdom announced its intention to buy F-35s as early as 2006.

In early August, Sky News reported that more than two years ago the Defense Secretary instructed Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, who heads the Royal Air Force, to “Resolving Chronic Problems” with flight training and treat the problem as “his only priority.

At the time, the outlet noted that the Air Force was concerned about a “harmful evacuation” skilled pilots who opted for more lucrative jobs in the industry rather than staying and training new recruits.

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