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Squadron leader (Sqn Ldr or S/L) is a senior officer rank used by some air forces, with origins from the Royal Air Force.[1] The rank is used by air forces of many countries that have historical British influence.

Squadron leader is immediately senior to flight lieutenant and immediately below wing commander. It is usually equivalent to the rank of lieutenant commander in the navy and of the rank of major in other services.

The equivalent rank in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, Women's Royal Air Force (until 1968) and Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service (until 1980) was "squadron officer".

Squadron leader has also been used as a cavalry command appointment (UK) and rank (France) since at least the nineteenth century. In Argentina it is used as a command appointment by both the army's cavalry and by the air force's flying units. The cavalry rank of squadron leader in France is equivalent to a major, and the cavalry appointment of squadron leader in the UK generally corresponds to this rank as well.

Canada

See also: Canadian Armed Forces ranks and insignia

The rank was used in the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1920 until the 1968 unification of the Canadian Forces, when army-type rank titles were adopted. Canadian squadron leaders then became majors. In official Canadian French usage, the rank title was commandant d'aviation.[2] However, in 2015, the insignia for Canadian air force majors reverted to two and half strips of braid in pearl grey on black.[citation needed]

United Kingdom

See also: RAF officer ranks

Squadron leader
Command flag
Shoulder and sleeve insignia
Country United Kingdom
Service branch Royal Air Force
AbbreviationSqn Ldr / SQNLDR
NATO rank codeOF-3
FormationAugust 1919 (1919-08)
Next higher rankWing commander
Next lower rankFlight lieutenant
Equivalent ranks
Related articles
HistoryRoyal Naval Air Service

Origins

The rank originated in the British Royal Air Force and was adopted by several other air forces which use, or used, the RAF rank system.

On 1 April 1918, the newly created RAF adopted its officer rank titles from the British Army, with Royal Naval Air Service lieutenant commanders and Royal Flying Corps majors 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 Admiralty objected 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 was introduced in August 1919[3] and has been used continuously since then.

RAF usage

From 1 April 1918 to 31 July 1919, the RAF used major as the equivalent rank to squadron leader. Royal Naval Air Service lieutenant-commanders and Royal Flying Corps majors on 31 March 1918 became RAF majors on 1 April 1918. On 31 August 1919, the RAF rank of major was superseded by squadron leader which has remained in continuous usage ever since. Promotion to squadron leader is strictly on merit, and requires the individual to be appointed to a Career Commission, which will see them remain in the RAF until retirement or voluntary resignation.

Before the Second World War, a squadron leader commanded a squadron of aircraft. Today, however, a flying squadron is usually commanded by a wing commander, with each of the two flights under a squadron leader. However, ground-operating squadrons which are sub-divisions of a wing are ordinarily commanded by a squadron leader. This includes squadrons of the RAF Regiment and University Air Squadrons.[citation needed]

Insignia and command flag

The rank insignia consists 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 is also shown on the flag.

Land forces

In the British Household Cavalry and 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 War the post was often held by a captain.

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ "Ranks and Badges of the Royal Air Force". Royal Air Force. 2007. Archived from the original on 9 July 2011. Retrieved 1 December 2007.
  2. ^ "The RCAF". www.castlearchdale.net. Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  3. ^ Hobart, Malcolm C (2000). Badges and Uniforms of the Royal Air Force. Leo Cooper. p. 26. ISBN 0-85052-739-2.
  4. ^ "Badges of rank" (PDF). defence.gov.au. Department of Defence (Australia). Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  5. ^ "OFFICER'S RANKS". joinbangladeshairforce.mil.bd. Archived from the original on 19 February 2020. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  6. ^ "Rank Structure". gafonline.mil.gh. Ghana Air Force. 2018. Archived from the original on 21 January 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2024.
  7. ^ "For Officers". careerairforce.nic.in. Indian Air Force. Archived from the original on 25 February 2012. Retrieved 23 September 2021.
  8. ^ "Government Notice" (PDF). Government Gazette of the Republic of Namibia. Vol. 4547. 20 August 2010. pp. 99–102. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  9. ^ Smaldone, Joseph P. (1992). "National Security". In Metz, Helen Chapin (ed.). Nigeria: a country study. Area Handbook (5th ed.). Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress. pp. 296–297. LCCN 92009026. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  10. ^ "Commissioned Officers". airforce.lk. Sri Lanka Air Force. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
  11. ^ "RAF Ranks". raf.mod.uk/. Royal Air Force. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  12. ^ "Rank Chart (Commissioned Officers)". 69.0.195.188. Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  13. ^ "Ranks and Badges in the AFZ". afz.gov.zw. Air Force of Zimbabwe. Archived from the original on 9 June 2022. Retrieved 29 May 2021.