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Aero India 2023

IAF to adopt new hi-fi system to select pilots in three years


An IAF photo of the Su-30 MKIs flying in formation.

NEW DELHI (PTI): In three years from now, the IAF will shift to a new, advanced scientific tool to select pilots that will allow once-in-a-lifetime assessment of a candidate's physical and cognitive abilities.

The new system, called Computerised Pilot Selection System (CPSS), developed by DRDO will replace the existing Pilot Aptitude and Battery Test (PABT) that only considered the psycho-motor (synchronisation of mind and limbs) abilities of aspiring IAF pilots.

The IAF and DRDO Thursday signed an agreement that envisaged delivery of 80 such CPSS simulators along with 300 nodes for cognitive tests to the Staff Selection Boards (SSB) situated in Dehradun, Mysore and Allahabad at a cost of Rs 25 crore in three years time.

"CPSS is a unique, path-breaking system in the world and is the best of the best system for assessing the aptitude of candidates for selection into the IAF's fighter, transport and helicopter flying streams," DRDO Chief Controller (Life Sciences) Dr W Selvamurthy said.

Developed jointly by the Bangalore-based Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) and Delhi-based Defence Institute of Psychological Research (DIPR), the project for designing the CPSS began in 1998 and has fructified after 12 years of research by the two laboratories to prepare a foolproof test.

"The development has taken this much time because of the lengthy process involved in developing both the psycho-motor and cognitive tests. We want to be sure the test is foolproof so that once a candidate has gone through the CPSS and failed, he or she cannot crack it again," Selvamurthy explained.

The system, he said, came about through a collaboration that the DRDO labs did with IAF over these 12 years right from the time the system was conceived.

The DRDO teams also extensively studied 17 such systems in use in countries such as US, UK, Germany, France, Israel, China and Canada to adopt the best practices from them and refined them to suit the Indian standards.

IAF's Air Officer Personnel Air Marshal K J Mathews said the CPSS would provide the best pilots and with cutting edge manpower, the force may be able to reduce the number of accidents, which is of major concern to it.

"People involved in warfare need to be cutting edge and the best. We will be delighted to have the CPSS within the three years time," he said.

Mathews also noted that the three SSB centres that currently carry out pilot aptitude tests were working overtime due to the huge number of candidates appearing for those tests every year. .

DRDO Chief Controller (Resource and Management) G Elangovan, who had supervised the development of the simulator for the CPSS in 2001-02, said three of the systems had first been tried for a few years by the IAF on candidates to assess its quality before it accepted the switch from PABT.

DIPR Director Dr Manas K Mandal said the change from PABT to CPSS was necessary due to the hi-tech systems integrated with the latest inventory of the aircraft in the IAF.

He said the cognitive test that was part of CPSS took into account the candidate's ability to quickly process information be it verbal, numerical, vertical, non-vertical or spatial and respond to it.

DRDO Chief Controller (Aerospace) Prahalada, complimenting both the ADE and DIPR for the CPSS, said they also need to consider if the tests need to be adapted to suit both men and women, "as it is generally believed that women were better in multi-tasking than men.

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Air Force  DRDO  aircraft  

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