Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Defence
26. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the additional investment made in both personnel and equipment for the Air Corps in 2019; his plans to make further investment in personnel for the Air Corps in 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3723/20]
The Government is currently investing in the replacement of the existing five Cessna aircraft with three larger and more capable fixed wing utility Pilatus PC 12 aircraft. It is expected that the three aircraft will be delivered in 2020. In addition, a tender competition has recently concluded for the replacement of the CASA Maritime Patrol aircraft with two new C-295 Maritime Patrol Aircraft. The new aircraft are scheduled for delivery in 2023.
In terms of personnel a total of 36 personnel were inducted into the Air Corps in 2019 comprised of 18 General Service recruits, 10 Cadets and 8 apprentices. A number of former Air Corps pilots have also been re-commissioned as flying officers. As there is ongoing recruitment for General Service recruits the 2020 recruitment process has already commenced and a competition for the recruitment of Air Corps Apprentice Aircraft Technicians is underway. The 2020 Cadet competition will also see the intake of further Air Corps cadets, when launched.
A service commitment scheme for pilots in the Air Corps has also been implemented. This was a measure recommended by the Public Service Pay Commission (PSPC) to improve the retention of flying officers . Other measures recommended by the PSPC, that apply to the Air Corps and broader Defence Forces, are also being implemented.