Britain to sack nearly 100 air force trainee pilots

February 14th, 2011 - 5:44 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Feb 14 (IANS) Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) will sack up to 100 trainee pilots in a cost-cutting measure - a move that may leave the armed forces without enough airmen, a media report said.Many of the students were all set to complete gruelling courses to fly fighters, helicopters and transport aircraft, the Daily Express reported.

At least 20 pilots will be taken from the fast jet training wing at RAF Valley, Anglesey - where Prince ­William is based, 30 from ­helicopter training in RAF Shawbury, Shropshire, and between 40 to 50 from air transport at RAF Cranwell, Lincolnshire.

The cuts that would lead to a waste of 300 million pounds ($480 million) in training and redundancy payouts - will leave a shortage of helicopter and transport pilots in Afghanistan.

Commander John Muxworthy, from the National Defence Association, said: “Cutting these pilots is going to weaken our capabilities in anything to do with air ­operations, which will impact on every other RAF and army element in Afghanistan. This is a step too far.”

Air Chief ­Marshal Michael Graydon, a former head of the RAF, said: “If you don’t have a steady stream of youth, you will end up with a shortage of people.”

The ministry of defence, however, said: “Any reductions in the RAF will not affect operations in Afghanistan and ­priority areas of capability will not be compromised.”

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