Tinker lands E-3 test squadron

  • Published
  • By John Parker
  • 72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

A detachment of a test squadron that works closely with Tinker Air Force Base’s 552nd Air Control Wing has moved from far-off Seattle to Tinker AFB.

The 605th Test and Evaluation Squadron, Detachment 1, unfurled its guidon Monday
at the 552nd ACW’s Fannin Hall. The 22-member detachment tests new systems, equipment, processes and emerging changes in tactics to ensure they will be effective when approved for field use in E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft.

Co-location with the 552nd ACW, which oversees 28 E-3s on worldwide battle control missions, will create unique opportunities and synergy for organizations that rely on the work of the 605th TES, said Lt. Col. Elizabeth Oldham, deputy commander of the 505th Test and Evaluation Group.

“It has the potential to improve upon testing results, timelines, as well as enhance training and, ultimately, operations,” she said. “This is how we get to the future faster.”

Col. Sean Choquette, commander of the 505th Command and Control Wing over the 605th TES, said the co-location is expected to increase the availability of E-3s for testing and evaluation.

“I think that the arrival of Detachment 1 here on this base is just as important as the arrival of that first E-3 jet (at Tinker AFB) back in March of 1977,” he said. “The availability of jets to get your business done is incredibly important.”

Lt. Col. Tyler Wickham, who presided over the ceremony for detachment Commander Lt. Col. Mary Ellington, is the unit’s director of operations. The decision to move to Tinker was primarily based on industry-partner Boeing’s relocation of its AWACS testing facilities, including its Systems Integration Lab and simulators, to Oklahoma City.

Wickham said moving to the 552nd ACW campus will be “much better” for the detachment’s work and for the AWACS community.

“The benefit is not only do we get to do everything we did in Washington, but we decrease that fog and friction that you see by being 1,500 miles away from the operational location,” he said.

“But the ultimate goal was to be at the very forefront — that tip of the spear in emerging capability — so that we don’t field something on an airplane that the warfighter can’t use to destroy the bad guy. That’s kind of why we’re here and what we do.”

The detachment is temporarily housed in Bldg. 1, but will move to a permanent location in Bldg. 240.