‘DUST 35 ‘DUST DEVILS’

UNIT REPORT // VX-31

As the US Department of Defense enjoys increased funding, new technology is flowing into test units and ultimately to the front line. For US Naval Aviation, much of the responsibility for testing new capabilities rests with a secretive test unit in the Mojave Desert — VX-31 ‘Dust Devils’.

CHINA LAKE TOWER, ‘Coso 31’, flight of two, request taxi.’ It’s Tuesday morning and there isn’t a cloud in the sky as the mercury climbs and two F/A-18F Super Hornets ease from their sun shelters for the first missions of the day. Their twin tails are adorned with faint ‘Dust Devil’ insignia and ‘DD’ codes, and hanging under their wings are brand-new weapons that are being put to the test.

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