Air force chief: RAF doing 'everything' possible to accelerate frontline flying training

The head of the Royal Air Force has told Forces News the service doesn't "have the training places" to get all personnel flying on the frontline, but is working to accelerate the process.

Speaking to Forces News at RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston said the service has had to slow down training whilst making "space on the frontline".

"There are people in the Air Force now who are not doing what they joined the air force to do," he said.

"There just aren't the training slots for these young people coming through training.

"I really feel for them, we're doing everything we can to accelerate their path through training and we will get there and we will find ways to accelerate them through."

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He added that if new trainees were to head straight to the front, it would reduce the RAF's operational capability, but added they are still doing "a vital job".

"They are absolutely doing vital tasks, supporting operations in the Middle East and supporting the operations supporting Ukraine," Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike said.

The RAF chief also said he hoped the five-year holding time for new pilots could become a thing of the past.

"It's undeniable that there are some people who, by the time they get to the frontline, will have been holding for that amount of time," he said.

"But that time will not have been squandered."