The US Navy’s Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 20 ‘Force’ is where cutting-edge systems are put through their paces. Gert Kromhout reports from the development unit’s base at NAS Patuxent River.
NAVAL AIR Station Patuxent River in Maryland is the cradle of US Navy development flight-testing. A good proportion of this highprofile work is carried out by the resident Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 20 (VX-20), which is responsible for all phases of aircraft life-cycle evaluation, especially developmental tests. As the US Navy’s development trials unit for fixed-wing maritime patrol and reconnaissance, assault support, strategic airborne communications, airborne early warning and carrier on-board delivery mission aircraft, VX-20 plays a vital role.