The Indian Air Force has purchased four simulators for Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) aircraft and more such machines have been contracted by the force for simulated training. The aim is to enhance the training curriculum of it’s rookie pilots.
Defence Minister A. K. Antony in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha said, “IAF has already procured four simulators for Hawk AJT aircraft. Further, eight simulators of IJT aircraft, have also been contracted for.”
Acquisition of more such trainer platforms is a part of the overall modernisation process of the armed forces. The new combat aircraft which the IAF is constantly acquiring will be manned by pilots using older fighter jets which are due to be phased out in a timely fashion.
The IAF is facing a shortage of pilots and the government has taken a number of steps to check that. Improvement of job profile of IAF pilots is a continuous process in view of the job specific requirements and operational necessity. Besides, the Short Service Commission for flying branch has been modified to make young men eligible for induction in the flying branch.
The Defence Minister also said that choppers are being purchased to replace the ageing Mi‑8 aircraft of IAF’s Communication Squadron. Also a contract for procurement of AW-101 helicopters was signed with Agusta Westland in February 2010 to replace the ageing Mi‑8 helicopters.
With more and more helicopters, planes and fighter jets set for induction in the coming years, the IAF is gearing up to hire more pilots and prepare the necessary infrastructure to support these sophisticated weapon systems.
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