US Navy, SAN DIEGO: Commander, Naval Air Forces has identified an excess of student naval aviators (pilots) in the training pipeline, based on current and near-term fleet needs. Starting immediately, several steps will be taken to meet future fleet requirements.
Commander, Naval Air Forces and Commander, Naval Education and Training Command are committed to identifying and training the number of aviators necessary to meet fleet requirements. The reduced requirements are due to several factors, including the accelerated transition to the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet from the F-14 Tomcat, the sundowning of the S-3 Viking community, and the disestablishment of two EA-6B Prowler squadrons.
Historically, the training production rate has been approximately 1,200 aviators per year. Analysis indicates an excess of approximately 160 student naval aviators currently in training. A number of policy changes are required to ensure that combat-quality aviators are deployed to the fleet in the numbers required to sustain current and future requirements.
Starting immediately, performance standards have been adjusted for Aviation Pre-flight Indoctrination (API) classes at Naval Aviation Schools Command. Additional minimum standards may be applied to other stages of flight training in the event the excess is not reduced on schedule. This process is performance-based, and each student naval aviator has and will continue to have the opportunity to compete for selection and retention.
Current strategies to properly shape the force consist of controlling the inputs from commissioning sources, such as the U.S. Naval Academy, Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) and Officer Candidate Schools (OCS), as well as offering opportunities to serve in other flying careers within the Naval Reserve and transfers to the U.S. Marine Corps in an aviation unit.
These force shaping initiatives are required to make sure the right number of naval aviators are trained to meet the needs of Naval Aviation. These initiatives are expected to achieve force-shaping goals as early as May 2005, but no later than the end of Dec. 2005.
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