WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Navy, in an effort to keep its aviators from flying away, is nearly doubling its bonuses for those who stay on _ up to $245,000 for a 25-year stint.

An immediate target is more than 100 junior aviators facing a decision this year of leaving the Navy or seeking jobs as commericial pilots.

``This program is designed to help these aviators in which the Navy has invested so much, to decide to stay Navy,'' said Navy personnel chief Vice Adm. Norb Ryan Jr.

The announcement followed an Army announcement of a new online education program, also designed to attract and keep recruits, and a new Navy $20,000 college bonus, as well as a plan which pays for up to a year of college before basic training.

The aviator bonus increases the current $125,000 maximum. New aviators can now get that amount with just a five-year commitment, half of it payable in advance, the Navy said.

All services except the Marines have had difficulty meeting recruitment goals in recent years and the Navy has been losing pilots to commericial aviation.

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