A squadron in air force, army aviation, or naval aviation is a unit
comprising a number of military aircraft and their aircrews, usually
of the same type, typically with 12 to 24 aircraft, sometimes divided
into three or four flights, depending on aircraft type and air force.
Land based squadrons equipped with heavier type aircraft such as
long-range bombers, or cargo aircraft, or air refueling tankers have
around 12 aircraft as a typical authorization, while most land-based
fighter equipped units have an authorized number of 18 to 24 aircraft.
In naval aviation, sea based and land based squadrons will typically
have smaller numbers of aircraft, ranging from as low as four for
early warning to as high as 12 for fighter/attack.
In most armed forces, two or more squadrons will form a group or a
wing. Some air forces (including the Royal Air Force, Royal
Netherlands Air Force, Belgian Air Component, German Air Force,
Republic of Singapore Air Force, and United States Air Force) also use
the term "squadron" for non-flying ground units (e.g., radar
squadrons, missile squadrons, aircraft maintenance squadrons, security
forces squadrons, civil engineering squadrons, range operations
squadrons, range management squadrons, weather squadrons, medical
United States military air services
In the United States Air Force, the squadron is the principal
organizational unit. An aggregation of two or more USAF squadrons
will be designated as a group and two or more groups will be
designated as a wing.
USAF squadrons may be flying units composed of pilots and flight
crews, with designations such as fighter squadron, bomb squadron, or
airlift squadron. Fighter squadrons may support between 18 and 24
aircraft, while larger aircraft flying squadrons (e.g., bomber, cargo,
reconnaissance) may support fewer aircraft However, non-flying units
also exist at the squadron level, such as missile squadrons, aircraft
maintenance squadrons, intelligence squadrons, aerospace medicine
squadrons, security forces squadrons, civil engineering squadrons and
force support squadrons, as well as numerous other examples.
USAF flying squadrons are typically commanded by an aeronautically
rated officer in the rank of lieutenant colonel, although some
particularly large squadrons, such as the 414th Combat Training
Squadron that manages RED FLAG training at Nellis AFB, Nevada will be
commanded by an aeronautically rated officer in the rank of full
colonel. Non-flying squadrons are also usually commanded by an
officer in the rank of lieutenant colonel, but some may also be
commanded by officers in the rank of major.
Further information on U.S. Navy squadrons: Dictionary of American
Naval Aviation Squadrons
In contrast to the organizational structure of United States Air Force
units, where flying squadrons are separate from non-flying squadrons
tasked with administrative, aircraft maintenance, or other support
functions, flying squadrons in naval aviation in the United States
United States Navy
Pattern in some NATO countries Rank level of general or commanding officer
British and USN USAF and USMC Canadian German Air Force
Wing Group Wing Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader (en: Operational AF-Wing) OF-4 or OF-5
Squadron Staffel OF-3 or OF-4
Flight Schwarm / Kette OF-2
An escadron is the equivalent unit in France's Armée de l'Air. It is
normally subdivided into escadrilles of eight aircraft.
Air Training Corps
^ "CSAF letter to Airmen" (Letter). Letter to. August 9, 2016. ^ "Air Force Instruction 38-101, AIR FORCE ORGANIZATION (OPR: HQ USAF A1MO)" (PDF) (pdf). Secretary Of The Air Force. January 31, 2017. ^ Air Force Instruction 38-101, AIR FORCE ORGANIZATION, 31 Jan 2017 (OPR: HQ USAF A1MO) ^ Airman 1st Class Ashley N. Steffen (June 24, 2016). "Preparing the thunder". ^ Nott, CAPT Richard C. USN, ed.; The Naval Aviation Guide, 4th ed; Naval Institute Press; Annapolis, MD; ISBN 0-87021-409-8; c1985, pp. 70-90 ^ Thomas E. Ricks; LT Jack McCain, USN. "A Navy pilot's take: The Air Force doesn't have a pilot crisis, it has a leadership crisis". Foreign Policy. ^ Nott, CAPT Richard C. USN, ed.; The Naval Aviation Guide, 4th ed; Naval Institute Press; Annapolis, MD; ISBN 0-87021-409-8; c1985, pp. 70-90 ^ Nott, CAPT Richard C. USN, ed.; The Naval Aviation Guide, 4th ed; Naval Institute Press; Annapolis, MD; ISBN 0-87021-409-8; c1985, pp. 297-301 ^ Goodspeed, M. Hill & Burgess, Rick, ed.; U.S. Naval Aviation; Naval Aviation Museum Foundation & Hugh Lauter Levin Associates, Inc; Pensacola, FL; ISBN 0-88363-102-4; c2001, pp. 238-254 ^ "Army Aviation Beginnings". U.S. Army. ^ Helikopterflott