Airpower Foundations Combined Test Force Ready for Flight at Edwards

  • Published
  • By 412th Test Wing Public Affairs and 412th Test Wing History Office
  • 412th Test Wing

A change of command, expanded mission and organizational structure change for the Emerging Technologies Combined Test Force occurred on Edwards AFB, California, June 7.

Maj. Phillip Woodhull assumed command of the ET-CTF from Lt. Col. Adam Brooks, as the unit transitioned from a combined test force to an integrated test force under the newly established Airpower Foundations Combined Test Force. The APF CTF will consist of three distinct test forces sharing a matrix of resources – the F-16, T-7A, and Emerging Technologies will now be integrated test forces and led by the historic 416th Flight Test Squadron, known as the Skulls..

"The Emerging Technologies Integrated Test Force brings a culture of initiative, experimentation and innovation that is a reminder of what makes Team Edwards a national asset for flight test execution,” said Lt. Col. Michael Pacini, 416th FLTS commander. “The integration of the ET-ITF into the 416th FLTS provides increased breadth of flight test experience for our personnel while harmonizing traditional flight test with rapid and agile technology maturation.”

Traditionally, the ET-CTF operated as a satellite unit with sourced Airmen from across the base. By integrating the APF CTF into the 416th FLTS, new projects such as the T-7A Red Hawk and emerging high-risk projects will benefit from collaboration while also ensuring greater opportunities for Airmen and contractor collaboration across multi-domain test resources.

Lt. Col. Michael Pacini, 416th FLTS commander, offered his remarks for the historic convergence. "This reorganization provided the right opportunity to capture the wider impact of the Skulls beyond fighter aircraft.  In addition to USAF and FMS F-16 testing, Airpower Foundations better captures the work done to develop the T-7A advanced jet trainer, the chase/target support provided to flight test programs across the 412th TW, and the foundational technological advancements such as Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance.” Added Pacini, “Airpower Foundations also portrays the work in autonomy and government-civilian partnerships of the ET ITF to provide technological advancements utilized across the airpower spectrum."

The ET-ITF will be located within the planned expansion of the 416th FLTS headquarters. This new facility will position APF CTF members closer to projects that historically require consistent collaboration, such as the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School’s X-62 VISTA platform, recently announced projects such as the Agility Prime initiative with Joby Aviation, and the upcoming Flight Test Engineering Lab.

“The ET-ITF is now poised to discover, experiment, test and implement the ever-advancing horizon of emergent technologies. Our integration with the 416th FLTS excites me with the vision of a new rapid idea-to-flight pipeline for our most creative ideas,” Woodhull said. The increased resource capacity will allow greater opportunities for Airmen and private industry to plan and execute experimental and developmental flight test at the speed of relevancy.