1.0 Introduction

This article provides an overview of the training process for Irish Air Corps officer cadets wishing to join the Irish Defence Forces (IDF).

2.0 Purpose of Officer Cadet Training

The purpose of officer cadet training (aka boot camp, basic training, or Phase 1 initial training) is to:

  • Develop character;
  • Develop competence;
  • Develop leadership skills; and
  • Instil a sense of duty and responsibility.

As training is conducted in an environment of strict discipline, officer cadets will need mental acuity and physical agility.

3.0 Outline of Basic Training

Officer Cadet training is divided into three distinct stages of training:

  • Stage 1: Induction lasting three months.
  • Stage 2: Foundation lasting six months.
  • Stage 3: Flight training lasting six months.

3.1 Stage 1: Induction

The purpose of Stage 1 is to master the basic skills required of a member of the IDF, with training being instructional in nature. Officer Cadets will be trained in small groups, Infantry squads and sections, concentrating on character development and personal competencies. At the end of Stage 1, officer cadets will:

  • Understand the Defence Forces Values.
  • Understand the principles of leadership.
  • Accept personal responsibility.
  • Have developed their discipline, esprit de corps and physical fitness.
  • Be proficient in personal weapons, map reading, foot drill, arms drill, field-craft and other relevant competencies.
  • Have successfully completed Semester 1 of their academic studies.

3.2 Stage 2: Foundation

The purpose of Stage 2 is to develop the leadership skills of the officer cadet and master fundamental collective military skills. The Infantry Section and Platoon in conventional operations are utilised as the mechanisms for development, concentrating on increasing character development and developing small group competencies. Training is instructional/directional in nature. At the end of Stage 2, officer cadets will have retained the skills from Stage 1 and will also:

  • Appreciate the Defence Forces Values.
  • Have advanced their leadership skills.
  • Accept responsibility for unit(s) under their command.
  • Have further developed their discipline, esprit de corps and combat fitness.
  • Have completed fundamental adventure training.
  • Be proficient in section weapons, section conventional tactics, communications, methods of instruction and other competencies.
  • Have successfully completed Year 1 of their academic studies.

3.3 Stage 3: Flight Training

The purpose of this stage is to train officer cadets in both basic and advanced flight training. This training is conducted in, a directional manner on, fixed wing aircraft and simulators.

  • Airline Transportation Licence Theoretical;
  • Military Wings Course – Aircraft Captain’s qualification; and
  • Pilot Pilatus PC – 9M Turboprop.

4.0 Commissioning and Wings Ceremony

The Officer Cadet training programme concludes with a commissioning ceremony where Officer Cadets receive their new ranks:

  • 2nd Lieutenant in the case of school leavers; and
  • Lieutenant in the case of graduates.

The ceremony takes place within the Aerodrome, Baldonnel, and families are invited to view the newly commissioned officers retaking their oath of enlistment and receiving their Presidential Commissions from the Minister of Defence.

5.0 Specialisation

After commissioning new Pilots are assigned to 104 Squadron, Army Co-op Squadron for a period of twelve months.

Following this, Pilots may then apply to continue as a fixed wing Pilot or to train as a helicopter Pilot.