Arizona testers

Laguna Army Air Field lies deep in the desert, just north of Yuma, Arizona. The airfield is part of one of the largest military installations in the world – the Yuma Proving Grounds (YPG) – as Frank Crébas discovers.


Veteran UH-1H 74-22443 during one of its final sorties from Laguna Army Air Field late last year.
All photos Frank Crébas

IN THE BLISTERING desert heat of southern Arizona, the US Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) operates a collection of aircraft and helicopters that support the various test programmes in this busy military region.

Driving around in the desert here you are likely to bump into a state-of-the-art tank or a new howitzer conducting trials in the rugged terrain. The Yuma Proving Grounds – not to be confused with the nearby Marine Corps Air Station Yuma – have a worldwide reputation for testing new technology and the ATEC team here calls upon a variety of support aircraft. This includes a single Cessna 208 Caravan, four UH-60A Black Hawks and, until October 20, 2016, four UH-1H Iroquois.

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