The US Air Force is getting more and more unfit to fulfill its core duty: waging war in case the country’s leadership asks it to do. The main problem is the substantial shortage of combat ready pilots, and the issue will get worse the coming years.
According to press agency Reuters, quoting Air Force officials, no less then 500 fighter pilots are “missing”. For 2022 that number is expected to land at more than 800. Main reason is the reduction of active duty fighter squadrons and subsequently having less Reserve and maybe even Guard pilots available.
More than 20 years ago the US Air Force had 100 fighter squadrons, which is now down to 54. The US Air Force still outclasses its Russian counter part (about 40 squadrons are in the Russian Air Force), while the People’s Liberation Army of China puts an estimated 180 squadron a field, but made up of much smaller numbers with about 2,000 aircraft in total less than the US Air Force does.
© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: A USAF F-15E Strike Eagle pilot from the 336th Fighter Squadron from Seymour Johnson AFB goes through post-flight checks during Red Flag 14-2 3 March 2014 (Image © Airman 1st Class Thomas Spangler / USAF)