The VT-9 Tigers is one of four U.S. Navy strike jet training squadrons and one of two based at Naval Air Station Meridian in Mississippi (The other two being based at Naval Air Station Kingsville in Texas). U.S. Naval and Marine aviators are trained by the Tigers, along with aviators of the British, Spanish, French and Italian Navies. The current commanding officer of the squadron is CDR Charles Paquin. The squadron flies the T-45C Goshawk, a U.S. Naval derivative of the British BAE Hawk jet aircraft. The students, selected from the very top performing students graduated from primary Flight training (usually trained in the T-6B), are initially trained over 1.5 to two years in basic and advanced aviation skills such as ground school, systems, weapons, aerodynamics, emergency procedures, and other academic course-work; dynamic simulator training; navigation and instrument flying, and progress through extensive formation and tactical flying, low-level navigation, bombing, and air combat maneuvering ("dog fighting"). Student Naval Aviators normally complete the syllabus by performing a series of scrutinized arrested landings on an aircraft carrier. The syllabus is high-paced, difficult, and highly competitive; notable training attrition is expected. With this tailhook prerequisite complete, graduating students become "winged Naval Aviators", and then move on to fly a fighter and/or attack jet, with additional post-wing training in their respective combat service.