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Posted 11/26/2014 Printable Fact Sheet
412th Test Wing
412th Test Wing, Edwards Air Force Base. Calif.
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The 412th Test Wing plans, conducts, analyzes, and reports on all flight and ground testing of aircraft, weapon systems, software and components as well as modeling and simulation for the Air Force. There are three core components for this mission: flying operations, maintenance, and engineering.

Through a maintenance group of nearly 1,900 people and an operations group of 2,100, the test wing maintains and flies an average of 80 aircraft with upwards of 26 different aircraft designs. The wing performs more than 5,000 missions, including over 1,800 test missions, on an annual basis.

The U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School, also part of the test wing, is where the Air Force's top pilots, navigators and engineers learn how to conduct flight tests and generate the data needed to carry out test missions. Human lives and millions of dollars depend upon how carefully a test mission is planned and flown. The comprehensive curriculum of Test Pilot School is fundamental to the success of flight test and evaluation.

The engineering division and the electronic warfare division provide the central components in conducting the test and evaluation mission. They provide the tools, talent and equipment for the core disciplines of aircraft structures, propulsion, avionics and electronic warfare evaluation of the latest weapon system technologies. They are also host to the core facilities that enable flight and ground test with the range division, Benefield Anechoic Facility, Integrated Flight Avionics Systems Test Facility and Air Force Electronic Warfare Evaluation Simulator. Rounding out the test wing are the project and resource management divisions which provide the foundation for the successful program management of test missions.

The Test Program

Flying units under the operations group are called flight test squadrons and usually the squadron commander also fulfills the role of combined test force, or CTF, director.

The CTF is a unit that combines the government developmental test and evaluation personnel made up of military members, government civilians and support contractors together with the operational testers or representatives of the warfighters who will eventually employ the aerospace system in combat, and the contractors who develop and test the aerospace system.

Members of the CTF formulate the test program, develop the criteria for flight test missions, execute flight test missions, analyze data from the test flights and report on the results. The
CTF military personnel, government civilians, and contractors all work together as a team. This concept enables a cheaper, faster, and more effective test program and produces a more effective aerospace system for the warfighter.

Risk is an accepted component of flight testing, but because of Edwards' benchmark flight test safety processes, the center maintains a stellar safety record. The AFTC's mission focuses on
Developmental Test and Evaluation, which is the process used to identify risks that need to be reduced or eliminated before fielding new systems. Once DT&E is accomplished, aircraft systems transition to Initial Operational Test and Evaluation, or IOT&E where the aircraft is evaluated for combat effectiveness and suitability for an intended mission.

The People

The 412th Test Wing is the host wing for Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The wing oversees base day-to-day operations and provides support for more than 10,000 military, federal civilian and contract personnel assigned to the 481-square mile installation. The wing is responsible for operating the base, including the infrastructure, communication systems, security, fire protection, transportation, supply, finance, contracting, legal services, personnel and manpower support, housing, education, chapel and quality of life programs on the 308,000-acre base located on the western edge of the Mojave Desert. Edwards is the second largest base in the U.S. Air Force.

The 412th TW is host to more than 100,000 visitors annually and supports over 25,000 dependents, retirees, and veterans. Major units within the wing include the 412th Mission Support and the 412th Medical groups, as well the 412th Civil Engineer/Transportation Directorate, the 412th Security Forces Squadron and the services divisions. Staff agencies include chaplain services, base comptroller, judge advocate, public affairs, inspector general, military equal opportunity and manpower and organization.

The Aircraft

The Edwards flightline is the "Center of the Aeronautical Universe." There are nine flight test squadrons with as many as 20 aircraft assigned to each. The aircraft are grouped by mission representing global power (fighters and bombers); global reach (transport); and global vigilance (remotely piloted vehicles).

Edwards AFB is where the nation's aerospace defense system of tomorrow flies and proves itself today.

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