Published May 09, 2013
The 17th Test Squadron at Schriever AFB, Colo., conducts operational test and evaluation (OT&E) for space systems to enhance the military utility of space power to the warfighter. The 17 TS executes a wide range of OT&E missions tailored to the decision need. Along with its detachments and operating locations, the 17 TS is involved in 40-50 tests in some stage of early involvement, planning, execution or reporting at any time.
Detachment 1 of the 17 TS, also located at Schriever AFB, tests systems which enhance AFSPC's ability to achieve space superiority through space situational awareness, defensive counterspace and offensive counterspace activities.
Detachment 2 of the 17 TS, located at Cheyenne Mountain AFS, Colo., tests systems to support Integrated Tactical Warning and Attack Assessment (ITW/AA) capabilities for Cheyenne Mountain Ops Center, Alternate Missile Warning Center, ITW/AA forward users, and Joint Space Ops Center's space situational awareness operators.
Detachment 3 of the 17 TS tests space lift range modernization programs for both the Eastern Range at Patrick AFB, Fla.,(45 SW) and the Western Range at Vandenberg AFB, Calif. (30 SW).
Detachment 4 of the 17 TS is located at Vandenberg AFB, Calif.
Operating Location A of the 17 TS, located at Peterson AFB, Colorado provides test support to AFOTEC for MILSATCOM.
Detachment 2 of the 53rd TEG at Beale AFB, California, executes Force Development Evaluation of the U-2 and RQ-4 High Altitude weapon systems. They provide experienced operation, maintenance, engineering, and analysis personnel who plan and conduct ground and flight tests, analyze, evaluate, and report on the effectiveness, suitability and all related logistics, support, and training issues. Results and conclusions support DoD deployment and employment decisions. Det 2 develops and tests new tactics, techniques and procedures in conjunction with the 9th Reconnaissance Wing continuing to improve both RQ-4 and U-2 platforms.
Detachment 3 of the 53rd TEG at Nellis AFB, Nevada, is a representative for Air Combat Command's interest in USAF Foreign Materiel Exploitation. Detachment 3's primary mission is to ensure USAF combat aircrew personnel are prepared to fight with the latest knowledge available through FME.
The 53rd TEG also has an F-16 liaison office at the Air National Guard Air Force Reserve Test Center which is a tenant unit of the 162nd Fighter Wing, Tucson, Arizona. It is one of three principal ACC organizations responsible for planning, coordinating and accomplishing OT&E and TD&E. AATC's mission is operational testing of Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve unique systems, subsystems, modifications, tactics, techniques and procedures as well as other systems for which AATC has been designated as the lead test center. The goal of AATC is to improve the combat capability of the "mature" weapons systems flown by the Guard and Reserve through the use of low cost, off-the-shelf technologies which can be fielded in a timely manner. In the past, AATC initiatives include the Situation Awareness Data Link, night vision compatible aircraft lighting components, and the Electronic Warfare Management System. Current initiatives include Center Display Unit for F-16 and Helmet Mounted Integrated Targeting systems for A-10 and F-16.
53rd WEAPONS EVALUATION GROUP
The 53rd WEG, headquartered at Tyndall AFB, Fla., is comprised of five squadrons and two detachments: 53rd Test Support Squadron, 81st Range Control Squadron, 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron, and 83rd Fighter Weapons Squadron, all located at Tyndall; 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron, located at Eglin; Det. 1, 82 ATRS, located at Holloman AFB, NM; and Det. 1, 86 FWS located at Hill AFB, Utah. The group conducts the Air Force air-to-air Weapon System Evaluation Program, known as Combat Archer, under COMACC Plan 85, and the Air Force air-to-ground WSEP, known as Combat Hammer, under COMACC Plan 90. It also supports Weapons Instructor Course air-to-air formal training syllabi under COMACC Plan 92. Unit personnel provide all USAF aerial target support for DoD users in the gulf ranges and full-scale targets for Title 10 testing on White Sands Missile Range near Holloman.
The 53rd Test Support Squadron is responsible to the 53rd WEG for technical and staff functions in support of USAF air-to-air/ground operational test programs to include the WSEP and other DoD weapons tests. They also provide, technical, engineering, acquisition, data automation/local area network, system configuration control and strategic planning support for the 53 WEG, including program management of all gulf range air-to-air systems, range control systems, aerial targets (full-scale/subscale) systems and payloads, missile scoring and data analysis telemetry, and communications systems. It provides weapons and tactics, threat replication via emerging threat intelligence, aerial targets and electronic systems development, and plans/programs support to accomplish the 53 WEG mission.
The 81st Range Control Squadron is responsible to the 53rd WEG for all ground controlled intercept support of the USAF air-to-air Weapon System Evaluation Program. The squadron, home of "Wetstone Control," is the only ACC range control squadron supporting operational testing and evaluation of air-to-air weapons systems against a myriad of threat-representative targets. Each year, Wetstone Control provides "World-Class GCI" support to over 35 deployed and local flying units. The squadron is instrumental in the safe, effective employment and testing of over 330 missile firings and 3,000 combat training and test sorties annually.
The 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron operates approximately 50 full-scale QF-4 aircraft and 45 BQM-167 subscale targets to provide manned and unmanned aerial targets support for numerous USAF and DoD-directed programs. The squadron maintains three 120-foot drone recovery vessels and two smaller vessels to recover aerial targets and support range safety, patrol and salvage operations. Squadron members also operate the Air Force's only two E-9A airborne platform/telemetry relay aircraft that provide ocean surface surveillance and relay missile/target telemetry of missiles fired in over-the horizon profiles on the Gulf Range. The squadron executes an annual budget of $16 million to support three O & M contracts and more than 150 contract personnel.
Detachment 1, 82nd ATS, operates QF-4 full-scale aerial targets for use at the White Sands Missile Range. The squadron manages all contract operations of its QF-4 fleet as part of the overall O&M contract at Tyndall, AFB. It directs USAF operations of full-scale targets in support of DoD testing programs to include the US Army's Patriot system.
The 83rd Fighter Weapons Squadron conducts the USAF Air-to-Air Weapon System Evaluation Program. The squadron evaluates the total air-to-air weapons system including aircraft, weapon delivery system, weapon, aircrew, support equipment, technical data and maintenance actions. The squadron hosts 38 A/A WSEP deployments annually at Tyndall. The annual firing of over 300 missiles evaluates all USAF air-to-air missile capabilities (AIM-120, AIM-7, AIM-9 and gun) and also provides live missile training for CAF crews as a secondary objective. Squadron personnel verify weapon system performance, determine reliability, evaluate capability and limitations, identify deficiencies, recommend corrective action, and maintain CAF-wide data. The squadron investigates missile envelopes and evaluates capabilities and limitations to determine future firing requirements. It provides liaison support for pre-deployment, employment and redeployment of ACC, USAFE, PACAF, ANG, USAFR, and foreign air forces participating in WSEP, William Tell and WIC missile firing programs.
The 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron conducts the USAF Air-to-Ground WSEP, also known as Combat Hammer. The 86th is the single DoD agency charged with conducting predictive battle damage analysis of precision guided air-to-ground munitions (PGMs) using operational weapons, aircraft, maintenance personnel and aircrews. The squadron hosts 20 to 25 evaluations at Hill and Eglin AFBs, assessing weapon system performance, reliability, capabilities, and limitations in realistic combat scenarios against representative real-world targets. Combat Hammer identifies weapon system and training deficiencies and provides recommendations for corrective action to USAF leaders. Additionally, the squadron maintains the DoD's comprehensive database on PGM performance and investigates capabilities and limitations of currently fielded PGMs. The 86th EWS evaluates each and every air-to-ground PGM and PGM-capable fighter, bomber, and unmanned aerial vehicle type in the CAF. Weapons assessed include: GBU-10, 12, 24, 27, 28, 31, 32, 38, 39, 54; CBU-103 and 105, EGBU-15 and AGM-130, AGM-65, 86, 88, 114, 154 and 158. A/G WSEP provides liaison support for pre-deployment, employment, and re-deployment of ACC, USAFE, PACAF, ANG and AFRES forces participating in WSEP and conducts investigative firings of air-to-ground PGMs to address CAF employment issues and support ongoing OT&E effort.
Detachment 1, 86th FWS, provides a permanent presence at Hill AFB facilitating deployments in support of the Air Force Air-to-Ground WSEP, Combat Hammer. Squadron personnel provide liaison support for pre-deployment, employment and redeployment of ACC,USAFE, PACAF, ANG and AFRES forces participating in A/G WSEP, which assesses operational performance of fighter, bomber and unmanned aerial vehicle weapon systems employing precision guided munitions in realistic combat scenarios against first-look targets.
84th TES (Total Force)
The 84th Test and Evaluation Squadron, Eglin AFB, Fla., integrates Air Force Reserve Command personnel into the 53rd Wing to enhance its mission of "perfecting lethality" by providing long term continuity and credibility. Its mission is to organize, train, and equip AFRC personnel to support ACC's Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) missions for the Combat Air Forces through the 53rd Wing. This is accomplished under the Integrated Associate construct as part of Total Force Integration. The 84th Test and Evaluation Squadron integrates personnel into the Electronic Warfare Group (Combat Shield, 16 EWS and 68 EWS), the Test and Evaluation Group (85 TES), the Test Management Group (28 TES, 29 TSS, 53 CSS and OFP CTF), and the Weapons Evaluation Group (86 FWS).