With one notable exception, the Navy is offering the same or smaller aviation retention bonuses, compared to last year, for full-time support officers serving as squadron department heads.

The FTS Officer Program consists of U.S. Navy Reserve officers on active duty who are responsible for managing, organizing, administering and training the Navy’s reserve component.

The helicopter maritime strike (HSM) community is the only group of pilots slated to get more money in retention bonuses for FY21, according to a new naval administrative message. Bonuses for these pilots are set at $25,000 this year — an increase from the $15,000 they were offered last year.

Meanwhile, pilots in several aviation communities are being offered the same amounts as last year to sign a new contract.

For example, pilots and naval flight officers from the strike fighter (VFA) community and pilots from the fleet logistics support (VR) community are being offered $35,000 a year, just like last in fiscal 2020.

Similarly, pilots from the helicopter training squadron (HT) community are being offered $15,000 this year, like they had been previously.

But other aviation communities are seeing a decline in retention bonuses.

For example, pilots and naval flight officers from the electronic attack community are being offered $15,000 this year — a steep departure from the $35,000 offered to them last year.

Bonuses for pilots in the helicopter mine countermeasure (HM) and helicopter sea combat (HSC) communities are set at $15,000 annually this year, down from the $25,000 a year offered to those communities last year.

Pilots and naval flight officers from patrol and unmanned patrol (VP/VUP) communities are also being offered retention bonuses of $15,000 this year, a drop from the $25,000 they were offered last year.

Lastly, pilots and naval flight officers from jet training squadrons (VT) are offered, $25,000 a year, down from $35,000 last year, while pilots and naval flight officers from prop training squadrons (VT) are offered $15,000 this year, a decrease from the $25,000 offered the previous year.

The bonuses will be issued in either three or five annual installments, according to the Navy. The NAVADMIN stated that the bonuses are for those who have served in department head billets during FY21, and are designed to “retain those officers through a post-DH aviation staff tour.”

Those eligible to serve in department head billets are lieutenant commanders, according to Cmdr. Zachary Harrell, a spokesperson for Naval Air Forces.

The Navy previously announced aviation department head bonuses for active-duty officers in February, offering up to $35,000 per year for helicopter mine countermeasure and helicopter sea combat communities, among others, for an early commitment with a five-year obligation. Three-year obligations are also offered to officers this fiscal year.

Applications are due for both active-duty and full-time support aviation department head retention bonuses by Aug. 31.

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