The US Air Force fighter community is jam-packed with technological excellence. Before any new ‘kit’ makes it to operational squadrons it is rigorously tested in a variety of conditions. This task is fufilled by a number of agencies, not least the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Eglin AFB, Florida

EGLIN AIR FORCE Base is well known to US Air Force fighter pilots. It was once home to one of the most revered F-15C Eagle fighter wings, and today it’s blazing a trail for F-35 Lightning II pilot training. Alongside this comes an important flight test and evaluation role, both in development test (DT) and operational test (OT). The 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron (TES) ‘Skulls’ has a relatively small footprint on the massive Eglin ramp, and is now the only Air Combat Command (ACC) flying squadron remaining on an otherwise Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) base.

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