|Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23|
|Branch||United States Navy|
|Garrison/HQ||Naval Air Station Patuxent River|
VX-23 Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 (AIRTEVRON TWO THREE, nickname The Salty Dogs) is a United States Navy air test and evaluation squadron based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. Using the tail code SD, the squadron operates numerous aircraft of the United States Navy.
VX-23 is an Aircraft Test Squadron that conducts research, testing and evaluation of fixed wing tactical aircraft and UAV's. VX-23 provides aircraft, pilots, maintenance services, safety oversights and facility support for these operations. Their main mission is flying qualities and performance evaluations, shipboard suitability, propulsion system testing, tactical aircraft mission systems testing, ordnance compatibility and ballistics efforts, reliability and maintainability assessments, flight fidelity simulation and flight control software development. The squadron also provides Government Flight Representative, test monitoring, chase aircraft support, facilities for contractor demonstration, validation and development work involving tactical aircraft and associated systems.
During the years VX-23 have tested and evaluated fixed-wing fighter, attack and other designated aircraft including EA-6B, F-14, F/A-18 and T-45. Recently, VX-23 have hosted and provided Flight Test Aircrew for the new Joint Strike Fighter X-32 and X-35 concept demonstration aircraft as well as the X-31 VECTOR test vehicle.
The squadron consists of about 40 officers and 90 enlisted drawn from the US Navy and US Marine Corps and also 340 contractor and civil servant personnel involved with maintenance, planning and safety oversight. These people support the squadrons 40 F/A-18A/B/C/D/E/F/G, EA-6B and T-45 aircraft. Additionally the squadron is supported by hundreds of flight test engineers provided by NAVAIRSYSCOM 5.1.6 (Test and Evaluation Engineering) and various other contractors. The squadron conducts over 2,600 flight operations every year which sums up to roughly 3,500 flight hours, much of which involves high-risk flight test. VX-23 conducts operations from a facility that includes three large hangars and also operates and maintains a TC-7 catapult and MK-7 arresting gear facility.