Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Organization of the Combat Units of the Republic of China Air Force

Since the commission of the fourth-generation fighters, F-16A/Bs, F-CK-1s, and Mirage 2000-5s, the ROCAF no longer has “squadrons” on its table of organization. Instead, the Wings and Squadrons were combined to form the Tactical Fighting Groups, TFG, which has 20 fighters each.

Each of the squadrons of non-combat wings, however, has fewer than 20 aircraft. For instance, the Electronic Warfare Wing based on Pingtung has only seven aircraft divided into two squadrons.

As the United States Air Force, our combat units are home-based upon air bases. There is a wing on each air base, and the wing commander is a major general. Each wing has three groups: flight group, maintenance group, and base service group. The commander of each group is a colonel.

According to the old table of organization, take fighters, for example, each group had about 60 fighters affiliated to three squadrons. Each squadron had about 20 fighters; the squadron commander was a lieutenant colonel. Under the squadron were flights. Each flight had about 6 to 7 fighters, and the flight leader was a major.

Since 2002, the changing of the fourth-generation fighters saw the need for a great number of experienced pilots with more flight hours. However, the old channel of command forced many experienced veteran fighters with the rank of lieutenant colonel to leave first-line squadrons to take the staff jobs at headquarters of groups, wings, and other commands. Consequently, the well-trained veteran pilots could only sit at the desk without any planes to fly.

Since 2004, after the reorganization to combine groups and squadrons under the wings into Tactical Fighting Groups, each TFG has had 20 aircraft, and the rank of its commander is a colonel. There are three flights under each TFG, and each TFG has six or seven aircraft. After such reorganization, about 44 veteran pilots with ranks of lieutenant colonel or colonel got to go back to the air base and became first-line pilots.

However, some non-combat wings, like the 439th Wing of Pingtung Air Base, which operates transports, AWACS aircraft, and electronic warfare aircraft, still has their groups and squadrons. The 737th Wing of Pingtung Air Base, which operates on third-generation F-5E/Fs, still keeps its squadrons.


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