445th Flight Test Squadron

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445th Flight Test Squadron
F-16C 85-1547 & F-16D 90-0797 from the 445th FLTS at Edwards Air Force Base Flight Test Nation 17 October 2009

McDonnell Douglas F-15A-1-MC Eagle 71-0250.jpg

6512th Test Squadron McDonnell Douglas F-15A Eagle 71-0280, first F-15 manufactured, preparing to make its first flight on 27 July 1972
Active 24 February 1943 - Present
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Type Squadron
Role Flight Testing
Part of Air Force Materiel Command.png  Air Force Materiel Command
Garrison/HQ Edwards Air Force Base, California
Tail Code "ED"
Decorations Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg AFOUA
445th Flight Test Squadron emblem 125px

The 445th Flight Test Squadron (445 FTS) is a United States Air Force squadron. It is assigned to the 412th Operations Group, Air Force Materiel Command, stationed at Edwards Air Force Base, California.


The 445th FLTS is part of the Air Force Flight Test Center. The squadron 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 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.

The 445th is the oldest active Flight Test Squadron at Edwards AFB. Currently, the squadron flies the F-16C/D Fighting Falcons and T-38C Talons.


World War II

File:Bell P-59B Airacomet 060913-F-1234P-003.jpg
Bell P-59B Airacomet Reluctant Robot
File:A6M5 TAIC.jpg
Mitsubishi A6M "Rei Sen" (Zeke)

It was activated at Orlando AAB, Florida in early 1943 as part of the Air University Army Air Force School of Applied Tactics (AAFSAT). AAFSAT's function was to train cadres from newly formed units in combat operations under simulated field conditions as the cores around which new combat groups would be formed.[1][2]

The 445th trained pilots and furnished cadres to night fighter units. Later, it engaged in mock combat missions over the AAFSAT range training pilots in combat maneuvers, flying a wide variety of fighters and bombers. It remained at the AAFSAT until March 1944 when the training mission of the groups was replaced by the 903d Army Air Forces Base Unit on 1 April 1944 with "Section C" taking over the fighter training, and "Section D", the bombardment training.[1]

It was reassigned to Muroc Army Air Base, California, assigned to the 412th Fighter Group, Fourth Air Force. It was the first United States jet fighter squadron to be activated, and spent most of its early existence in experimental testing of the P-59A and P-80 aircraft. The squadron developed training programs and trained aircrew and ground personnel as cadres for newly formed jet aircraft-equipped units. Also flight tested the captured Mitsubishi A6M Zero (Zeke-52); the XR-3 (Autogyro) and Sikorsky R-4 (Helicopter)[3]

It was inactivated on 3 July 1946, its mission being assumed by the 2759th Experimental Wing.[2]

Air Defense Command

445th FIS Northrop F-89H Scorpion 54-0402 at Wurtsmith AFB, MI
File:445th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron - Emblem.png
445th FIS emblem(approved 24 November 1958)[4]
File:445th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron F-101B 57-307 1968.jpg
445th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron McDonnell F-101F Voodoo 57-307 Wurtsmith AFB, Michigan, September 1968

It was reactivated under Air Defense Command in March 1953 at Geiger Field, Washington. In July, the first F-86D Sabre interceptors were assigned. The pilots and airmen were relatively inexperienced and the maintenance crew small. The high point in July 1954 was "Operation Checkpoint," a joint SAC-ADC exercise that extended for three days. With sunny days and early takeoffs, the pilots' proficiency increased rapidly and aircraft maintenance became the best in ADC.[5][6]

In August 1954, "Project Arrow" replaced the 445th FIS with the 497th FIS that was moved up from Portland, Oregon. The 445th FIS was transferred, on paper only, to Wurtsmith Air Force Base, Michigan in 1955 performing air defense duties over the Great Lakes area and upper Midwest equipped with F-89D Scorpions. The 445th FIS was upgraded to the new F-89G Scorpion in March 1956 (the first F-89G squadron in ADC); and upgraded to the F-89J in September 1957.[5][6]

It was re-equipped with new McDonnell F-101B Voodoo supersonic interceptor, and the F-101F operational and conversion trainer in 1960. The two-seat trainer version was equipped with dual controls, but carried the same armament as the F-101B and were fully combat-capable. On 22 October 1962, before President John F. Kennedy told Americans that missiles were in place in Cuba, the squadron dispersed one third of its force, equipped with nuclear tipped missiles to Phelps Collins Air National Guard Base at the start of the Cuban Missile Crisis.[7][8] These planes returned to Wurtsmith after the crisis.

The squadron operated the Voodoos until September 1968, when the aircraft were passed along to the Air National Guard and the squadron was inactivated as part of the general drawdown of the ADC active-duty interceptor force.[5][6]

Flight testing

It was reactivated at Edwards AFB, California in 1969 as the Air Force Systems Command 6512th Test Squadron. Managed all aircraft types not assigned to the various centers/Flight Test Squadrons. From 1989, primarily operated test support, TPS support, and test program aircraft were not associated with CTFs.[9]

Aircraft types flown by the 6512th/445th included: A/YA-7D, VA-7F, A-7K, NA/OA-37B, NF-4C/D/E, YF-4E, NRF-4C, F-15A/B/C/D/E, F-111A, F-111D, FB-111A (later, F-111G), UH-1N, O-2A, T-37B, T-38A, AT-38B, T-38C, and UV-18. It sonverted from provisional status with re-designation as 4445th Flight Test Squadron in October 1992 as part of transfer from Systems Command to Air Force Material Command.[9]

It retired the F-111s in 1990, and the A-7s and F-4s in 1992. The last A-37s were retired after a mishap in 1994. It transferred the UH-1Ns to other bases c. 1994-95. It absorbed F-15s from the inactivated 415th Flight Test Squadron on 1 October 1994. From that date, it primarily flew F-15A/B/C/D/E, TA-38A/C, and AT-38B. It was inactivated in late 2001 but activated again in early 2004 in a series of reorganizations at Edwards.[9]

Over the squadron's history, more than 100 aircraft have been flown as part of various test and evaluation programs.


445th Fighter Squadron

  • Constituted as the 445th Fighter Squadron (Special) on 19 February 1943
Activated on 24 February 1943
Redesignated 445th Fighter Squadron (Twin Engine) (Special) on 15 March 1943
Redesignated 445th Fighter Squadron, Single Engine on 11 March 1944
Redesignated 445th Fighter Squadron, Jet Propelled on 18 January 1946
Inactivated on 3 July 1946
Redesignated 445th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron on 11 February 1953
  • Activated on 20 March 1953
Inactivated on 30 September 1968
  • Consolidated on 1 October 1992 with the 6512th Test Squadron

445th Flight Test Squadron

  • Designated as the 6512th Test Squadron and activated on 1 October 1969
  • Consolidated on 1 October 1992 with the 445th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
Redesignated 445th Test Squadron on 2 October 1992
Redesignated 445th Flight Test Squadron on 1 March 1994
Inactivated on 30 November 2001
  • Activated on 11 March 2004







Army Air Force School of Applied Tactics


World War II Flight Testing


Cold War


USAF Flight Test Center


See also



  1. 1.0 1.1 Army Air Forces Historical Studies: No. 13; The Development of Tactical Doctrines at AAFSAT USAF Historical Dvision, July 1944, Archives Branch, Bldg. 914, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 AFHRA 445th Flight Test Squadron lineage and history
  3. Huetter and Glazer (2010), Edwards Air Force Base (Images of Aviation), Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-73858-077-5
  4. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization 1946 - 1980, by Lloyd H. Cornett and Mildred W. Johnson, Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 USAF Aerospace Defense Command publication, The Interceptor, January 1979 (Volume 21, Number 1).
  7. McMullen, Richard F. (1964) "The Fighter Interceptor Force 1962-1964" ADC Historical Study No. 27, Air Defense Command, Ent Air Force Base, CO (Confidential, declassified 22 Mar 2000), pp. 10-12
  8. NORAD/CONAD Participation in the Cuban Missile Crisis, Historical Reference Paper No. 8, Directorate of Command History Continental Air Defense Command, Ent AFB, CO , 1 Feb 63 (Top Secret NOFORN declassified 9 March 1996). p. 16
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Rogers, Brian. United States Air Force Unit Designations since 1978. Hinkley, England: Midland Publications, 2005. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  • Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  • McMullen, Richard F. (1964) "The Fighter Interceptor Force 1962-1964" ADC Historical Study No. 27, Air Defense Command, Ent Air Force Base, CO (Confidential, declassified 22 Mar 2000)
  • NORAD/CONAD Participation in the Cuban Missile Crisis, Historical Reference Paper No. 8, Directorate of Command History Continental Air Defense Command, Ent AFB, CO, 1 Feb 63 (Top Secret NOFORN declassified 9 March 1996)

External links