Military Aviation

USAF is in need of 74 additional combat squadrons

Five more bomber squadrons are needed, there are now nine. The USAF also needs to add 14 refueling tanker squadrons to the 40 it has

On Sep. 17, 2018 U.S. Air Force (USAF) Secretary Heather Wilson and chief of staff Gen. David Goldfein has unveiled an initiative, titled “The Air Force We Need.”

The new strategy calls for the service to gain 74 combat squadrons in order to deal with threats from China and Russia.

According to USA Today, The Air Force We Need is based on President Donald Trump’s defense strategy, assessments of the military strength of adversaries and the ability of the Air Force to confront them, Wilson and Goldfein said. The 2018 National Defense Strategy, released in January, calls on the Pentagon to defend the homeland, maintain the nuclear weapons deterrent, defeat China or Russia, deal with threats such as Iran and North Korea and continue to fight extremists.

“The most stressing of all those cases is China,” Wilson said. “The Air Force is too small for what the nation is asking us to do. We have 312 squadrons today. Our analysis says that we need 386.”

She added that five more bomber squadrons are needed, there are now nine. The USAF also needs to add 14 refueling tanker squadrons to the 40 it has, she said.

Those aircraft will need pilots, maintainers and other support personnel. Wilson and Goldfein estimated the ranks of the active-duty and reserve components of the Air Force would need to grow to 717,000 airmen, an increase of 40,000.

However Wilson and Goldfein declined to estimate the cost of plan, suggesting it was affordable. “It’s not gold-plated,” Wilson said.

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-22A Raptor 192nd Fighter Wing, 149th Fighter Squadron, FF/04-4082 – Langley AFB, VA – 2014

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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