Army pilots are getting their first incentive pay raise in almost 20 years

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U.S. Army aircrew with the New Jersey National Guard's 1-150th Assault Helicopter Battalion prepare for a night training mission.

U.S. Army aircrew with the New Jersey National Guard's 1-150th Assault Helicopter Battalion prepare for a night training mission.

The Army is increasing incentive pay for aviators for the first time in 20 years in an effort to keep pilots from leaving for the civilian aviation industry.

According to an Army press release, the new rates, reflected by years of service, went into effect on Jan. 1 this year. The highest incentive rate is for troops with over 10 years of service ($1,000); that rate decreases to $700 for troops with more than 22 years of service, and $400 for those over 24 years.

Army spokesman Jason Waggoner explained to Task & Purpose that the incentives "are focused on mid-career aviators for retention purposes."

In 1999, the last time the rates were adjusted, the highest incentive available was $840 for aviators with over 14 years of experience; the lowest was $125 for two or fewer years of experience.

The Army knows it has to keep up with competitive offers. Reuters reported last year that military pilots were getting "attractive offers" from U.S. airlines hoping to "ease a global pilot shortage."

"The Army understands the high demands on the aviation force and their families. This increase in AvIP, the first for Army pilots in over 20 years, will result in an increase of pay for most pilots in the regular Army, Army National Guard, and Army Reserves," Maj. Gen. David J. Francis, commanding general of the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker, said in the press release.

"This adjustment is just one of many efforts underway to maintain aviation readiness and ensure support to the joint force."