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Air Force Test Center welcomes new commanding general

Brig. Gen. Christopher P. Azzano poses with the Air Force Test Center guidon with the commander of Air Force Materiel Command, Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, during a change-of-command held in Hangar 1600 at Edwards Air Force Base, Aug. 3. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kenji Thuloweit)

Brig. Gen. Christopher P. Azzano poses with the Air Force Test Center guidon with the commander of Air Force Materiel Command, Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, during a change-of-command ceremony held in Hangar 1600 at Edwards Air Force Base, Aug. 3. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kenji Thuloweit)

Brig. Gen. Christopher P. Azzano (center), accepts command of the Air Force Test Center from Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, Air Force Materiel Command commander, during a change-of-command ceremony Aug. 3 at Edwards Air Force Base. Azzano replaces Maj. Gen. David Harris (right) who is retiring from the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kenji Thuloweit)

Brig. Gen. Christopher P. Azzano (center), accepts command of the Air Force Test Center from Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, Air Force Materiel Command commander, during a change-of-command ceremony Aug. 3 at Edwards Air Force Base. Azzano replaces Maj. Gen. David Harris (right) who is retiring from the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kenji Thuloweit)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

The world’s premier flight test organization is in the hands of a new leader.

Brig. Gen. Christopher P. Azzano assumed command of the Air Force Test Center during a ceremony held Aug. 3 in Hangar 1600 at Edwards Air Force Base.

Azzano takes the reins from Maj. Gen. David Harris who has commanded the AFTC for the past three years.

Gen. Ellen M. Pawlikowski, Air Force Materiel Command commander, presided over the ceremony.

Azzano now directs an enterprise of more than 18,000 military, civilian and contractor personnel across Edwards AFB, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, and Arnold Air Force Base in Tennessee.

“To the men and women of the Air Force Test Center, it’s truly an honor to serve with all of you again,” Azzano said. “Together we will continue to build new lethality into America’s arsenal forged from the latest technology developed, integrated and validated, by all of you. For you, smart risk management and rigorous self-improvement are a foundation of agility and speed.”

His area of responsibility will include the development, test, and evaluation of manned and unmanned aircraft systems in both experimental and proven aerospace vehicles. These include programs for military services, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), NASA and international partners, in addition to operation of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School.

“As stewards of some of America’s most important real estate, we will continue to care for our installations, for our ranges, and of course, for our joint servicemembers and their families making the Air Force Test Center a great place to live and work.”

Azzano comes to Edwards from Headquarters, Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, where he served as the director or Air, Space and Cyberspace Operations. Before that, he served as the 96th Test Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

Azzano graduated from the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB in 2000 and later returned as the 412th Operations Group commander.

Azzano has flown more than 2,900 hours in 35 aircraft types as an instructor pilot, evaluator pilot and experimental test pilot. He has conducted developmental tests on a wide range of aircraft and weapons, and has commanded at the squadron, group and twice at the wing level.

Following the change of command, the base held a retirement ceremony for Harris who is leaving the Air Force after more than 31 years of service.

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