The Air Force needs to boost fighter pilot production to 278 pilots a year as it works to rebalance the rated training pipeline, wrote Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz in a letter to Air Force major commands and members of the Air Staff. Schwartz said this will be accomplished primarily through the new active associations with reserve fighter squadrons. Specifically, the Arizona Air National Guard at Tucson will support “significantly more” B-course students each year and reduce the number of foreign military sales students. Air Combat Command will reduce the F-16 flight training unit syllabus. The A-10 crew ratio will increase and more aircraft will be added to the FTU in an effort to produce more pilots, wrote Schwartz in the Nov. 2 letter. Also, the F-15C aggressor squadron will be converted to an FTU at a location still to be determined, and F-22 FTU throughput will be increased significantly. Schwartz requested the major command take the lead and “rapidly implement” the specific decisions made at a recent Rated Summit. The Air Staff’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Plans, and Requirements function will lead a working group charged with tracking and synchronizing the staffing and codifying a new program action directive, which must be submitted to Schwartz by Dec. 1 for signature.”
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.