Naval Air Station Patuxent River Base Guide
Partners in Excellence
Saturday, Aug. 12, 2006
Air Test and Evaluation Squadron One
The principal mission of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron One is to test and evaluate airborne anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and maritime anti-surface warfare (SUW) weapon systems, airborne strategic weapon systems, as well as support systems, equipment and materials in an operational environment. The squadron also develops, reviews, and disseminates new ASW⁄SUW tactics and procedures for fleet use, serving as the model manager for all such tactical publications. Because of the squadron’s unique position as the interfacing unit between the development of new weapon and mission systems and subsequent introduction to the fleet, VX-1 is considered the squadron that “Does it First.“
A variety of operational aircraft are assigned to VX-1 including the P-3C Orion, MH-60R, MH-60S and SH-60F Seahawk. Additionally, VX-1 provides test and evaluation support for such diverse programs as the EP-3 Aries II, E-6B Mercury, KC-130J Hercules, E-2C Hawkeye, Global Hawk Maritime Demonstration Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, and P-8A Multi Mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA). As anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare operations evolve to defeat emerging threats to national security, so too does the nature of projects assigned for evaluation. The squadron has numerous projects assigned, from complete airframe upgrades to weapon system evaluation of electronic, acoustic and optic methods of ship and submarine detection, classification, and attack.
VX-1, in its role as the Navy’s air ASW⁄ASUW operational evaluator, meets regularly with our allies to share tactical knowledge and advancement. VX-1 also shares ideas through daily contact with Canadian, British Royal Navy and Royal Air Force liaison officers assigned to the squadron. With ASW continuing as a vital multi-national mission, these contacts have been invaluable to tactical development.
In VX-1, Sailors are the highest priority. Over the years, the squadron and its evaluation crews have received numerous awards which include the Navy Unit Commendation, Navy Expeditionary Medal, three Meritorious Unit Commendations, nine CNO Safety Awards, 10 Silver Anchor Awards, 10 Golden Anchor Awards for retention, and a variety of additional citations and commendations. VX-1 has also received the Bronze Hammer Award for self-help, the first Secretary of the Navy Energy Conservation Award, and, most recently, the Armed Forces Service Medal for participation in the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts in 2005.
VC-6 Detachment Patuxent River
Fleet Composite Squadron Six Detachment Patuxent River is home-ported at Naval Air Station Patuxent River’s Webster Field Annex. With squadron headquarters located at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., VC-6 Det Pax is the Navy’s only UAV command.
In addition to land and shipboard deployments, the unit is responsible for performing all factory acceptance criteria on contractor - delivered air vehicles and payloads, as well as testing and evaluating fleet readiness training.
Established in 1986, VC-6 Det Pax has deployed around the world with its RQ-2B Pioneer UAV system in support of numerous Atlantic and Pacific fleet and special warfare operations. The Pioneer is used for reconnaissance, surveillance, over-the-horizon targeting, naval gunfire spotting and real-time battle damage assessment. It is capable of operating at ranges up to 100 nautical miles, altitudes of up to 12,000 feet and cruises at 60 to 100 knots for as long as five hours.
Pioneer carries an independently-controlled, high-resolution daytime camera and nighttime infrared camera, combined into one unit, which transmits real-time imagery back to a ground control station.
Although no longer deployed aboard ship, the Pioneer is capable of launching using rocket assistance and is recovered by being flown into a 50-foot-high net raised over the ship’s flight deck. Continuous uplink and downlink between the ground control station and the UAV allow for constant control and monitoring of Pioneer’s flight systems, navigation and video payload.
VC-6 Det Pax has flown UAVs from the decks of all four battleships and provided naval gunfire support, reconnaissance and battle damage assessment during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
It deployed aboard AUSTIN-class LPD amphibious ships and land-based operations including missions over Bosnia, Somalia, Kosovo and in support of counterdrug Joint Task Force 6. VC-6 has recently earned the Meritorious Unit Commendation, four Battle ‘‘E” awards and two COMNAVAIRLANT Golden Anchor awards.
VC-6 continues to provide Pioneer test and evaluation services for Pioneer sustainment in support of the Marine Corps’ UAV program. Additionally, the Det provides test and evaluation support for small, tactical UAVs and will provide a cadre of UAV experts for future shipboard deployments of tactical UAVs.
Scientific Development Squadron One (VXS-1)
The Naval Research Laboratory Flight Support Detachment was transformed into one of the Navy’s newest commands--Scientific Development Squadron One (VXS-1) Dec. 13, 2004. As VXS-1, the new command will continue its mission as the Naval Research Laboratory’s aviation component as an Echelon III command, reporting to the Commanding Officer, Naval Research Laboratory.
VXS-1 is manned by 11 officers, 91 enlisted Sailors, eight government and four civilian contractors. The squadron is responsible for the maintenance, employment and security of three uniquely configured P-3 Orion turbo-prop and a C-12 aircraft. These aircraft, with their aircrews, conduct numerous single-aircraft deployments around the world in support of a wide range of scientific research and projects.
VXS-1 conducts and supports broadly based, multidisciplinary programs across the full spectrum of scientific research. The command strives for advanced technological developments toward the maritime applications of new and improved airborne collection techniques, equipment and systems. VXS-1’s unique expertise focuses on the oceanic, atmospheric and space sciences in the advancement of U.S. Government and U.S. Naval scientific goals.
The squadron’s flight safety record spans more than 40 years and includes more than 64,000 mishap free flight hours. The command continues to improve the capabilities of its assigned aircraft platforms.
Naval Atlantic Meteorology and Oceanography DetachmentPatuxent River
The Naval Atlantic Meteorologyand Oceanography Detachment (NAVLANTMETOC DET) is a tenant command onboard NAS Patuxent River and operates as a subordinate activity of the Naval Aviation Forecast Center (NAFC) in Norfolk, Va.
The detachment provides a variety of functions and services to local and surrounding activities. Certified METOC observers take hourly observations while the airfield is open and disseminate weather warnings for NAS Patuxent River and tenant commands.
To accomplish assigned missions and functions, METOC service members operate a variety of computer and data collection⁄communication systems. Data from national weather networks including NOAA and NWS are used in identifying and predicting the location and movement of thunderstorm and tornadic activity across the local region. Additionally, data from the Lightning Positioning and Tracking System provides a real-time display of local lightning strikes and allows detachment observers to report to the Northeast Sub Regional Forecast Duty Officers at NAFC, to ensure timely and highly accurate thunderstorm and severe weather warnings are issued. The Automated Surface Observation System installed at Patuxent River and Webster Field provides continuous readouts of weather conditions at each respective site. Other satellite and landline systems provide access to weather data on a global scale and the detachment closed circuit television product line spans five channels of information disseminated throughout the station. NAVLANTMETOC DET maintains a dedicated Web site at https:⁄⁄detweb.nlmoc.navy.mil⁄paxriver⁄
Marine Aviation Detachment
The Marine Aviation Detachment is responsible to Deputy Commandant for Aviation for USMC manpower support of the Naval Air Systems Team. The Marine Aviation Detachment's role is to support the Marine Corps’ equity in the various Naval aviation acquisition programs through the entire life cycle. MAD service members’ assignments range from program managers, logistics and fleet support to test pilots, engineers and administrative support.
The commanding officer performs duties as aviation occupational field sponsor and advocate for the entire Marine aviation acquisition work force. He provides assistance to the Commandant of the Marine Corps through the Deputy Commandant for Aviation, in coordination with the Marine Corps Systems Command and the Deputy Commandant for Manpower in the career development of Marine Corps members assigned nationwide to the aviation acquisition work force.
The commanding officer also promotes NAWCAD business development and actively participates in the research and engineering competency program developments, especially in areas of Marine Corps interest.