PressTV: US Air Force Pilot Shortage Hits, Bombing for Wall Street Loses its Appeal

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A USAF F-22 Raptor fighter jet and its pilot. (Photo by USAF)
A USAF F-22 Raptor fighter jet and its pilot. (Photo by USAF)

The US Air Force says a severe shortage of fighter pilots and aircraft has made the force nearly unable to satisfy combat requirements abroad.

The USAF is currently authorized to hire 3,500 fighter pilots but it is 752 pilots short, Voice of America (VOA) reported Monday, citing Major General Scott Vander Hamm, who is tasked with fixing the pilot crisis.

The force has also shrunk in size over the past years, having only 55 squadrons in 2016, compared to 134 in 1986.

“We have too few squadrons to meet the combatant commanders’ needs,” Vander Hamm said.

The acute shortage has reduced the USAF’s ability to accomplish missions at home and abroad by at least 20 percent over the past decade, the report noted.

The US has been carrying out airstrikes in a significant number of countries over the past years, including Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

However, Vander Hamm said the shortage has started taking its toll and the force might need to “take some degradations in the frontline squadrons” come next year.

“What that would mean to us is that we would have to accept not being able to get forces to theater in the same time we could, which to a warfighter, that means it could cost lives in a conflict,” he explained.

Given the technological advances of fighter jets over the years, it would take years to train pilots who can deal with combat situations.

Although the number of pilots trained by the USAF in 2016 increased by about 135 compared to two years ago, the number of pilots who left the force was much bigger.

According to Vander Hamm, this year only 40 percent of American pilots accepted the bonus payment that the air force gives them after 10 years as an incentive to stay.

The report noted that the shortage has led to longer and more frequent deployments overseas, destroying the morale of the pilots.


“We were on 45-day rotations. Then they made it 90-day rotations. Then they made it 120-day rotations. Now it’s six-month rotations with one-year rotations sprinkled on top of it for key positions,” said an F-22 pilot, who asked to remain anonymous.

The Air Force has asked Congress to increase the bonus from $25,000 per year to $48,000 per year as an attempt to keep the remaining pilots.

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Press TV (stylised PRESSTV) is a 24-hour English language news and documentary network, affiliated with Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB).

IRIB is state-owned but independent of the Iranian government in its management, and is the only legal TV and radio broadcaster inside Iran. IRIB's head is appointed directly by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and is considered to be close to the country's conservative political faction.

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Press TV is the first Iranian international news network. Their global Tehran-based headquarters is staffed with outstanding Iranian and foreign media professionals. Press TV is extensively networked with bureaus located in the world's most strategic cities. They feature often neglected voices and perspectives from around the world with aim to build bridges of cultural understanding, encouraging cooperation and unity between human beings of different nationalities, and races. They bring to light untold and overlooked stories of individuals who have experienced the vitality and versatility of political and cultural divides firsthand.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. Thomas Jefferson once stated that large standing armies were a threat to liberty. As America has been at war for most of its history, wars not for freedom and liberty but for the benefit of Wall St and the armaments industry.
    The reason Washington has to maintain such a large standing army is for the purpose of invading other sovereign nations, overthrowing their governments and replacing them with corrupt dictators. Who benefits? Certainly not the people who live in those countries America so thoughtfully ravaged in the name of nation building. Certainly not those in the U.S. military who carry out the orders of the Shadow Government. They suffer and continue to suffer the consequences of being ordered to murder innocent men, women and children because they were ordered to. Certainly not the families of these soldiers who were killed or grievously wounded in combat, many now permanently disabled who would be otherwise productive and independent. now have to depend on the government for health and welfare.

    • Ever since the Indian wars, the Mexican-American war, those who control the government behind the veil of secrecy have used the U.S. military for their own purposes. All others suffer from being forced to do the dirty work of the SSG.
      With a thousand bases and outposts across the globe and who knows how many operating secretly in the name of NWO/globalization/ corporate tyranny, America is no bastion of peace or liberty. Indeed now it has all the characteristics of a militarized state ruled by the SSG through terror, spying and a militarized and out of control police force with 80,000 SWAT raids every year that uses deadly force for every encounter with the civilian population. Even a traffic stop can lead to deadly consequences.
      America now faces a bleak future as long as it continues down this path. Removing the means by which those in power maintain their wealth and control may yet save America and that means preventing America’s youth from enlisting and serving in a military that is essentially nothing more than an expeditionary army used to invade and conquer sovereign nations.

  2. it’s got nothing to do with bombing for wall street. It has everything to do with committing suicide by Russian S300, S400 and S500 pantsir s2 etc.

    • ??????? Maybe you should read Gen. Smedly Butler’s book, “War Is A Racket”.
      All wars are banker’s wars and definitely for the profits of Wall St.

  3. Pilotless aircraft (drones) powered by AI are the future. Relying on some onboard meatsack that limits aircraft performance is soooooooooooooo 1970’s.

  4. The most telling fact here is the inability of USAF to hang onto their experienced pilots. Reading between the lines, the morale is low. I can understand that. The constant flying of missions that you cannot brag about in public, because no one will understand. Things like not being allowed to bomb the illegal oil-truck convoys from Syria to Turkey although they were clearly ISIS operations. Or stabbing someone in the back, like the Iraqis, or even the Syrian troops in Deir-Ezzor. Or dropping bombs on civilians, who are classed as terrorists (and as a pilot you know that is bs) because they are inside the “kill box”. And being part of the most inefficient air campaign in history – the anti-ISIS coalition. The USAF protects its pilots and their identity, but they know that if their name ever gets into the public domain as an actual bomber of civilians the mud slinging will be relentless. Then the Russians brought in the S400s, and suddenly you a dodging radars and you don’t feel like a king of the skies any more. All that and, I’m sure, plenty more gnaws at the morale. It would be interesting to hear from a real pilot, because they know the reality. But they are probably gagged…

    • Morale is low for many reasons, the least of which is likely due to collateral damage from bad targeting. But realizing that you are actually being used to support the enemy which you are purportedly fighting against, along with being subjected to the erosive social experiment (Facebook comment above) being conducted is imploding the entire service.

  5. Maybe there won’t be as many hospitals being bombed or the lives of innocent men women and children ended for the sake of “nation building”. Maybe there won’t be as many veterans suffering from the knowledge they murdered innocent people who were of no threat to them.
    The U.S. military is nothing more than a hired thug for the RKM. That so many veterans are committing suicide either by their own hand or by cop, speaks volumes about the guilt and emotional distress these veterans are experiencing. The V.A., corrupt and run by self serving, greedy and malignant individuals is also to blame. the lack of medical and psychiatric care in so many states is not merely a crime but a betrayal of those who were sent off to fight for domination of sovereign nations for the benefit of the Kazarian mafia.
    That the Air Force is now understaffed for pilots, maybe the rest of the U.S. military will soon find itself with a manpower shortage.
    Maybe some will figure out just how costly nation building is for all involved.

  6. Either this is fake news, which would be sad.
    Or it is true, in which case, not such bad news….

    (strictly spoken from a ‘world peace’ point of view.)

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