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US Air Force Faces 500 Fighter Pilot Shortfall
Lara Seligman, Defence News 1:35 p.m. EST March 9, 2016
WASHINGTON — The US Air Force is about 500 fighter pilots short of the total requirement, a deficit that is expected to grow to more than 800 by 2022, top service officials warned Congress.
Air Force officials blamed the shortage on recent reductions in active duty fighter and fighter training squadrons due to budget cuts, according to written testimony submitted to the Senate Armed Services subcommittee March 8.
The service was forced to rebalance its fighter force structure in 2012 due to severe fiscal constraints, slashing the force by 100 aircraft, according to the statement. There are currently 54 squadrons in the Air Force, significantly less than the 134 fighter squadrons that existed during the Gulf War in the early 1990s.