- Squadron Leader
Squadron Leader is a commissioned rank in the
Royal Air Force[cite web |url=http://www.raf.mod.uk/structure/commissionedranks.cfm |title=Ranks and Badges of the Royal Air Force |accessdate= 2007-12-01 |year=2007 |publisher= Royal Air Force] and the air forces of many countries which have historical British influence. It is also sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-English air force-specific rank structure. In these cases a Squadron Leader ranks above Flight Lieutenantand immediately below Wing Commander.
Various abbreviations are used, including Sqn Ldr ,Sqn. Ldr., SQNLDR and S/L in the various Air Forces of the world.
It has a
NATOranking code of OF-3, equivalent to a Lieutenant-Commander in the Royal Navyor a Majorin the British Armyor the Royal Marines.
The equivalent rank in the
Women's Auxiliary Air Force(WAAF), Women's Royal Air Force(WRAF) (until 1968) and Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service(PMRAFNS) (until 1980) was Squadron Officer.
The rank originated in the British
Royal Air Forceand was adopted by several other air forces which use, or used, the RAF rank system.
1 April 1918, the newly created RAF adopted its officer rank titles from the British Army, with Royal Naval Air ServiceLieutenant-Commanders and Royal Flying CorpsMajors becoming Majors in the RAF. In response to the proposal that the RAF should use its own rank titles, it was suggested that the RAF might use the Royal Navy's officer ranks, with the word "Air" inserted before the naval rank title. For example, the rank that later became Squadron Leader would have been Air Lieutenant-Commander. However, the Admiraltyobjected to this modification of their rank titles. The rank title Squadron Leader was chosen as Squadrons were typically led by RAF Majors and the term Squadron Commander had been used in the Royal Naval Air Service. The rank of Squadron Leader has been used continuously since 1 August 1919.
Second World War, a Squadron Leader commanded a squadronof aircraft. Today, however, a flying squadron is usually commanded by a Wing Commander, with each of the two flights under a Squadron Leader. However, squadrons which are administrative sub-divisions of a Wing are ordinarily commanded by a Squadron Leader.
Squadrons of the
RAF Regimentare normally commanded by a Squadron Leader. Today the rank Squadron Leader is seen as the first Senior Officerrank within the RAF.
Insignia and command flag
insigniaconsists of a thin blue band on a slightly wider black band between two narrow blue bands on slightly wider black bands. This is worn on both the lower sleeves of the tunic or on the shoulders of the flying suit or the casual uniform.
Squadron Leaders are the lowest ranking officers that may fly a command flag. The flag may be depicted on the officer's aircraft or, should the squadron leader be in command, the flag may be flown from a flagpole or displayed on an official car as a car flag. If the Squadron Leader is in command of a numbered squadron, then the number of the squadron would also be shown on the flag.
Other air forces
The rank of Squadron Leader is also used in a number of the air forces in the Commonwealth, including the
Bangladesh Air Force, Ghana Air Force, Indian Air Force(IAF), Sri Lanka Air Force(SLAF), Pakistan Air Force(PAF), Royal Australian Air Force(RAAF) and Royal New Zealand Air Force(RNZAF). It is also used in the Egyptian Air Force, Hellenic Air Force, Royal Air Force of Omanand the Royal Thai Air Force.
Royal Canadian Air Force(RCAF) used the rank until the unification of the Canadian Forcesin 1968, when army-type rank titles were adopted. Canadian squadron leaders were retitled as majors. In official French Canadian usage, a squadron leader's rank title was "commandant d'aviation".
Non-air force use
Household Cavalryand Royal Armoured Corps, "Squadron Leader" is the title (but not the rank) often given to the commander of a squadron (company) of armoured fighting vehicles. The squadron leader is usually a Major, although in the Second World Warthe post was often held by a Captain.
The rank has been borrowed in
science fictionincluding the " Star Wars" films and its extended universe of literatureand comics, though (at least in the "Star Wars" franchise) more often as the title andor callsign of the leader of a starfightersquadron, irrespective of rank (similar to the aforementioned RAC usage; see ), and usually with the word "Squadron" replaced by the name of the squadron, e.g. for the commander of Red Squadron, and infrequently as an actual rank. For the most part, this is just another example of common depiction of starfighter forces in most works featuring such craft as closely paralleling contemporary (at the time the work in question was produced) real-world air forces in almost all aspects.
RAF officer ranks
Comparative military ranks
* [http://flagspot.net/flags/gb-rafrk.html RAF Command Flags]
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