China is updating its military pilot recruitment by extending eligibility to science and engineering graduate students. Reuters is reporting those selected (male only) will train to fly fighters from carriers as the country rapidly expands its naval aviation capability. In contrast with other major powers, which mostly require a university degree for pilot candidates, China has actually kept them out of the running with an age limit of 20. Last year it raised the age to 24 to attract undergrads and on Wednesday it went to 26 to capture those with master’s degrees.
“The need for high-quality military talent becomes more imperative day by day,” the People’s Liberation Army Navy said in an advertisement published on Wednesday. “The mission and tasks of the navy continue to expand. The speed of the strategic shift of the navy is being accelerated.” In addition to the male-only prerequisite, candidates must have a “clean political history” and no criminal past. Those who make the cut get free housing and healthcare for immediate family. China’s third carrier, the Fujian, is about to start sea trials.