413th Flight Test Squadron

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413th Flight Test Squadron
413th Flight Test Squadron - CV-22 Osprey.jpg
A CV-22 Osprey from the 413th FLTS hovers over Hurlburt Field, Florida
Active 1942-1945; 1947–1949; 1958–1962; 1977–2004; 2005–present
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Type Squadron
Role Flight Testing
Part of Air Force Materiel Command
Garrison/HQ Duke Field, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida
Engagements European Theater of Operations[1]
Decorations Distinguished Unit Citation
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award[1]
413th Flight Test Squadron emblem (modified 7 November 1995)[1] 413th Flight Test Squadron.jpg
413th Bombardment Squadron emblem (approved 1 September 1942)[1] 413th Bombardment Squadron - Emblem.png
6513th Test Squadron emblem 6513th Test Squadron - Emblem.png
Aircraft flown
Multirole helicopter CV-22 Osprey
Utility helicopter UH-1 Iroquois
Transport MC-130/HC-130 Hercules

The 413th Flight Test Squadron is part of the 96th Test Wing and is based at Duke Field, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. It performs flight testing on C-130 Hercules, CV-22 Osprey, MH-53 Pave Low, UH-1 Iroquois, and HH-60 Pave Hawk aircraft.

The first predecessor of the squadron was first activated during World War II as the 413th Bombardment Squadron. It served in the European Theater of Operations, where it earned two Distinguished Unit Citations for its combat actions. Following V-E Day, the squadron returned to the United States and was inactivated.

This squadron was again active from 1947 to 1949 in the reserves, although it was apparently never fully manned or equipped. It was active as a Boeing B-47 Stratojet squadron in Strategic Air Command from 1958 to 1962.

The second predecessor of the squadron, the 6513th Test Squadron was activated in 1977 at Edwards Air Force Base, California. In 1992, the two squadrons were consolidated as the 413th Test Squadron. The squadron was inactivated in 2004, but reactivated the following year at Hurlburt Field, Florida.


The squadron planned, provided for, and conducted tests of electronic warfare and avionics systems and equipment, on aircraft assigned to the Air Force Flight Test Center between 1977 and 2004. It has planned, executed and managed Development and Qualification Test and Evaluation of fixed-wing aircraft assigned to Air Force Special Operations Command and of all Air Force helicopters since 2005.


World War II[edit]

Initially established as a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress reconnaissance squadron in early 1942, redesignated as a heavy bombardment squadron and activated in July. Trained under II Bomber Command in the northwestern United States, then moved to Texas for better flying weather in early 1943. Deployed to England and assigned to VIII Bomber Command.[1]

Lockheed/Vega B-17G-20-VE Fortress of the 413th Bomb Squadron. AAF Serial No. 42-97627 is in foreground

Flew first combat mission over Occupied Europe on 14 May 1943, Participated in the famous Regensburg shuttle mission to North Africa. Took part in the Big Week Schweinfurt mission of 14 October 1943. In addition, the squadron attacked shipyards, harbours, railway yards, aerodromes, oil refineries, aircraft factories, and other industrial targets in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia.[2]

Participated in very long-range mission through heavy clouds and intense anti-aircraft fire to raid important aircraft component factories in Poland on 9 April 1944. Other significant targets included airfields at Bordeaux and Augsburg; marshalling yards at Kiel, Hamm, Brunswick, and Gdynia; aircraft factories at Chemnitz, Hanover, and Diósgyőr; oil refineries at Merseburg and Brüx, and chemical works in Wiesbaden, Ludwigshafen, and Neunkirchen[2]

In addition to strategic operations, missions included bombing coastal defences, railway bridges, gun emplacements, and field batteries in the battle area prior to and during the invasion of Normandy in June 1944; attacking enemy positions in support of the breakthrough at Saint-Lô in July 1944; aiding the campaign in France in August by striking roads and road junctions, and by dropping supplies to the Maquis; and attacking, during the early months of 1945, the communications supplying German armies on the western front.[2]

After V-E Day, flew food missions to the Netherlands and hauled redeployed personnel to French Morocco, Ireland, France, and Germany. In November 1945 its aircraft were flown back to the United States, and was inactivated on 19 December 1945.[1][2]


Was reactivated as an Boeing B-29 Superfortress reserve squadron in 1947 at Keesler Field (later Air Force Base), Mississippi. Unit may or may not have been equipped with aircraft, possibly was an administrative unit with no personnel assigned. Was inactivated on 27 June 1949[1][3] due to budget reductions.

Strategic Air Command[edit]

From 1958, the Boeing B-47 Stratojet wings of Strategic Air Command (SAC) began to assume an alert posture at their home bases, reducing the amount of time spent on alert at overseas bases. The SAC alert cycle divided itself into four parts: planning, flying, alert and rest to meet General Thomas S. Power’s initial goal of maintaining one third of SAC’s planes on fifteen minute ground alert, fully fueled and ready for combat to reduce vulnerability to a Soviet missile strike.[4] To implement this new system B-47 wings reorganized from three to four squadrons.[4][5] The 413th was activated at Dyess Air Force Base as the fourth squadron of the 96th Bombardment Wing.[1] The alert commitment was increased to half the squadron's aircraft in 1962 and the four squadron pattern no longer met the alert cycle commitment, so the squadron was inactivated on 1 January 1962.[1][5]

Flight testing[edit]

The 6513th Flight Test Squadron (known as the "Red Hats") was activated at Edwards Air Force Base, California on 1 December 1977 as part of the USAF Flight Test Center. The squadron was assigned to Edwards, although it operated from Tonopah Test Range Airport, Nevada to perform technical evaluations of acquired Soviet Aircraft. A similar organization, the 4477th Test and Evaluation Squadron ("Red Eagles") performed clandestine flight testing of the aircraft. In October 1992 at the end of the Cold War, the squadrons were inactivated with the 6513th being consolidated with the 413th Test Squadron which was reactivated. The Red Hats, however, possibly continued to conduct FME projects, apparently as an unnumbered squadron at an undisclosed location in Nevada.[6][7]

The 413th performed flight testing of electronic warfare assets at Edwards. Inactivated in March 2004 as part of a consolidation and realignment of EW assets, remaining personnel and assets were transferred to Electronic Warfare Directorate North Base.[6]

Reactivated at Hurlburt Field, Florida in February 2005, providing flight testing of special operations aircraft and helicopters under the 46th Test Wing. Moved to Duke Field in 2012 due to budget reductions.[8]


413th Bombardment Squadron
  • Constituted as the 23d Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy) on 28 January 1942
Redesignated 413th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 22 April 1942
Activated on 15 July 1942
Redesignated 413th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy on 20 August 1943
Inactivated on 19 December 1945
  • Redesignated 413th Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy on 3 Jul 1947
Activated in the reserve on 17 July 1947
Inactivated on 27 June 1949
  • Redesignated 413th Bombardment Squadron, Medium on 20 August 1958
Activated on 1 November 1958
Discontinued and inactivated, on 1 January 1962
  • Consolidated with the 6513th Test Squadron as the 6513th Test Squadron on 1 October 1992[1]
413th Flight Test Squadron
  • Designated as the 6513th Test Squadron and activated on 1 December 1977
Consolidated with the 413th Bombardment Squadron on 1 October 1992
Redesignated 413th Test Squadron on 2 October 1992
Redesignated 413th Flight Test Squadron on 1 March 1994
Inactivated on 6 May 2004
  • Activated on 25 February 2005[1]




See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Haulman, Dan (September 4, 2008). "Factsheet 413 Flight Test Squadron (AFMC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Archived from the original on November 20, 2015. Retrieved July 8, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d Freeman[page needed]
  3. ^ Ravenstein,[page needed]
  4. ^ a b Schake, p. 220 (note 43)
  5. ^ a b "Abstract (Unclassified), History of the Strategic Bomber since 1945 (Top Secret, downgraded to Secret)". Air Force History Index. 1 April 1975. Retrieved March 4, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Red Hats 6513th Flight Test Squadron
  7. ^ Davies, p. 352
  8. ^ Rogers,[page needed]
  9. ^ Station number in Anderson.


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  1. ^ http://www.afsc.af.mil/
  2. ^ http://www.afimsc.af.mil/Home.aspx