Squadron leader

Squadron leader (Sqn Ldr in the RAF ; SQNLDR in the RAAF and RNZAF; formerly sometimes S/L in all services) is a commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force[1] 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.

Squadron leader
An RAF squadron leader's command flag
Shoulder and sleeve insignia of a squadron leader from the Royal Air Force
Service branchAir forces
AbbreviationSqn Ldr / SQNLDR
NATO rank codeOF-3
Non-NATO rankO-4
Formation1 April 1918 (1918-04-01) (RAF)
Next higher rankWing commander
Next lower rankFlight lieutenant
Equivalent ranks
Related articles
HistoryRoyal Naval Air Service

An air force squadron leader ranks above flight lieutenant and immediately below wing commander and it is the most junior of the senior officer ranks. The air force rank of squadron leader has a NATO ranking code of OF-3, equivalent to a lieutenant-commander in the Royal Navy or a major in the British Army or the Royal Marines. 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 also an OF-4 equivalent to a major, and the cavalry appointment of squadron leader in the UK generally corresponds to this rank as well.