The Air Force announced Wednesday that it is institutionalizing the remotely piloted aircraft pilot career field by establishing undergraduate RPA training, or URT. “This change is just another step in solidifying our commitment to, and the importance of, this capability to the joint community,” said Lt. Gen. Philip Breedlove, deputy chief of staff for operations, plans, and requirements. He said the first URT class will begin in October. Students will receive initial flight training at Pueblo, Colo., RPA instrument qualification, and a fundamentals course at Randolph AFB, Tex., and then instruction at one of the Air Force’s RPA formal training units. After successful completion of this training, these RPA pilots will become part of the new 18X career field and receive RPA incentive pay equal to aviation career incentive pay. This career track carries a six-year service commitment. (SAF/PA report by TSgt. Amaani Lyle)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.