Passing the Viper Test: Inside the Air Force Reserve Command Test Center

Training is vital for pilots in the national guard and reserve, flying newer-block F-16s. Joe Copalman looks at the role of the US ANG and Air Force Reserve Command Test Center (AATC)

The Air National Guard (ANG) and Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) play crucial roles in the defense of the US and in coalition operations around the world.

For nearly 40 years, the General Dynamics/Lockheed Martin F-16 has been the most numerous tactical jet operated by the ANG and AFRC, and during most of that time, the Air National Guard/Air Force Reserve Command Test Center (AATC) has managed the testing and integration of most new upgrades, sensors, weapons, and defensive systems for the US Guard and Reserve F-16 Fighting Falcons. 

Co-located with the Arizona ANG’s 162nd Wing at Morris Air National Guard Base (ANGB) – which shares a runway with Tucson International Airport – the AATC began as an in-house effort by ANG pilots to integrate the Mk 20 Rockeye cluster bomb onto the F-100 Super Sabre and came of age in the 1980s keeping Guard A-7 Corsair IIs tactically relevant.

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