Library Fact Sheets
18TH FLIGHT TEST SQUADRON|
Printable Fact Sheet
To be recognized as a premier test organization; assuring combat capability of special operations forces worldwide through the application of SOF fundamentals in the Test and Evaluation process.
Air Force Special Operations Command's independent field test agency. The 18th Flight Test Squadron determines the operational effectiveness and suitability of aircraft, equipment and tactics. Conducts force development and evaluation, tactics development and evaluations, operational utility evaluation, operational assessment, advanced technology demonstration and supports AFOTEC's conduct of operational test and evaluation. Provides accurate and timely information and recommendations to the AFSOC commander for acquisition and implementation decisions, ultimately improving the survivability and combat capability of special operations forces worldwide.
The 18th Flight Test Squadron consists of a command section with eight functionally organized flights: fixed wing, rotary and tilt-rotor, non-traditional, operations analysis, combat applications, special missions, instrumentation and mission support.
The 18th Flight Test Squadron lineage traces back to the 18th Bombardment Squadron activated Jan. 15, 1941. Flying the PT-17, B-18 and B-17, the squadron supported Allied actions in Europe during World War II. Following victory in Europe, the unit was deactivated Aug. 18, 1945.
The unit returned to action as the 18th Special Operations Squadron Jan. 25, 1969. Activated at Lockborne Air Force Base, Ohio, and deployed to Phan Rang Air Base, South Vietnam, the 18 SOS flew the AC-119K Gunship. The squadron's primary mission was the interdiction of enemy supply lines, close air support, and air base defense. Following the transfer of the aircraft to the South Vietnamese Air Force, the 18 SOS was inactivated Dec. 31, 1972.
On Oct. 1, 1983, the Special Missions Operations Test and Evaluation Center was activated at Hurlburt Field, Fla, by order of the Secretary of the Air Force as a direct reporting unit of Headquarters Military Airlift Command at Scott AFB, Ill. SMOTEC was formed through the consolidation of the test and evaluation function previously assigned to the 1550th Aircrew Training and Test Wing, located at Kirtland AFB, N.M., which was responsible for combat rescue and related test. It was also responsible for the informal test and evaluation staffs of the 2nd Air Division and the 1st Special Operations Wing, at Hurlburt Field. Though testing was reassigned to SMOTEC in October 1983, most of the testing continued at Kirtland for the reminder of that year.
SMOTEC filled a unique role by exploring new frontiers in special operations capabilities and developed better equipment and tactics to support Air Force special operations forces located throughout the world. It provided AFSOC with the centralized expertise needed for development and operational testing of new systems and tactics, proposed changes in doctrine and recommended new requirements. The unit's co-location with the 1 SOW made it ideally suited to perform the mission of improving the worldwide Air Force aim of special operations forces.
On Oct. 1, 1993 the 1 SOW was redesignated as the 16 SOW. SMOTEC remained a direct reporting unit to Headquarters AFSOC until March 31, 1994. On April 1, 1994, massive Air Force organizational changes dictated the unit's deactivation and realignment under the 18th Flight Test Squadron, also a direct reporting unit to HQ AFSOC.
On January 1, 2008 the 23rd Air Force was established as Air Force Special Operations Command's unit of execution to U.S. Special Operations Command, and the 18th Flight Test Squadron was again realigned under the 23rd Air Force.
Current as of August, 2011
Point of Contact
Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs Office | 229 Cody Ave, Suite 103 | Hurlburt Field, Fla. 32544-5312 | (850) 884-5515 | DSN 579-5515 | email@example.com