Defence Forces warned wave of retirements from Air Corps had left staffing at a “critical level” and compromised providing airborne defence and security

The Department of Defence was told out-sourcing training for four Air Corps pilots would cost anywhere between €650,000 and €850,000.

Eight Irish pilots are being trained with the U.S. military in Alabama as the Defence Forces here warned premature retirements from the Air Corps had reached a “critical level”.

A business case prepared for the Department of Defence said the number of pilots available in the Air Corps had now fallen below “the critical mass required to sustain the provision of airborne defence and security operations”.

The record – which was released with redactions for security reasons – warns that “immediate remedial action” was now required to rebuild available manpower.

It said outsourced training would be crucial “to restore the provision of adequate airborne defence and security services”.