A Taxpayer’s View of the New Fighter Squadron Size

Take 183 F-22A Raptors and subtract 57 for training, attrition reserve, etc. and you get seven squadrons of 18 fighters—or vice versa. “Seven squadrons is what we can field with the 183 [Raptors] that came out of the QDR,” Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne told the Senate Armed Services Committee. He was explaining to Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) the Air Force’s new math that reduces the current standard size for a fighter squadron from 24 to 18. It’s of some concern to Warner because, as he said, taxpayers had funded military construction at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia for “earlier projections” by the Air Force. Warner said that he was not certain the new size would “fully utilize that infrastructure to justify it from the taxpayer’s standpoint.”