Neha Patil (Editor)

418th Flight Test Squadron

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Active  1 June 1942 - Present
Type  Squadron
Country  United States
Role  Flight Testing
418th Flight Test Squadron
Branch  United States Air Force
Part of  Air Force Materiel Command

The 418th Flight Test Squadron (418 FTS) is a United States Air Force squadron. It is assigned to the 412th Operations Group, Air Force Materiel Command, stationed at Edwards Air Force Base, California.



The 418th FLTS performs flight testing on the C-5, C17, KC-10, KC-46, KC-135, and partner nation airlift and air refueling aircraft.

World War II

Established as a B-17 Flying Fortress reconnaissance squadron in January 1942; redesignated as a heavy bomb squadron in April and activated in June. Trained initially under Third Air Force in the southeast; transferring to Second Air Force in the Pacific Northwest. Operated as an Operational Training Unit (OTU) in the Midwest until being deployed to the European Theater of Operations (ETO), being assigned to VIII Bomber Command in England in June 1949.

Engaged in strategic bombardment operations over Occupied Europe and Germany, sustaining very heavy losses of personnel and aircraft while conducting many unescorted missions over enemy territory attacking airfields, industries, naval facilities and transportation hubs. During the summer of 1944, aircrews bombed enemy positions at Saint-Lô, followed by similar campaigns at Brest in August and September. In October 1944, the squadron attacked enemy and ground defenses in the allied drive on the Siegfried Line, then bombed marshaling yards, German occupied villages, and communication targets in the Ardennes during the Battle of the Bulge from December 1944 to January 1945. Attacked enemy targets in Germany during the spring of 1945, ending combat operations with the German Capitulation in May 1945.

Remained in Europe as part of the United States Air Forces in Europe occupation forces, dropping food to the people in the west of the Netherlands, and in June transported French Allied former prisoners of war from Austria to France. Demobilizing in England, in December 1945 the squadron inactivated as a paper unit.

Cold War

Activated in the Reserves in 1947 at Miami Airport, Florida. Unclear whether or not the unit was manned or equipped; inactivated in 1949 due to budget restrictions. The squadron was activated in 1959 as a result of Strategic Air Command phasing out the B-47 Stratojet, and additional squadrons were activated as part of the consolation of Stratojet wings, and the replacement of the B-47 by B-52 Stratofortresses. In March 1961, President John F. Kennedy directed that the phaseout of the B-47 be accelerated. and the squadron was inactivated on 1 January 1962 as part of the drawdown of the USAF B-47 force, with the aircraft were sent to AMARC storage at Davis-Monthan.

Flight Test Squadron

Reactivated as a flight testing squadron at Edwards AFB. It has conducted flight testing of the MC-130H Combat Talon II and AC-130U Spooky aircraft since 1989.

Supported test programs for miscellaneous large aircraft (other than the Edwards-owned Boeing C-135 Stratolifter and C-137 Stratoliner fleets). Also managed small test programs including the T-3 Firefly, T-6 Texan II, and C-130J Hercules. Gained the C-17A Globemaster III program from the inactivating 417th Flight Test Squadron in 1995. Added EC-18 and NKC-135 types from the 452d Flight Test Squadron in a realignment of Edwards flight test squadrons on 1 October 2000. Ceased operating the EC-18s on 24 Aug 2001 when they were retired.


  • Constituted 28th Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy) on 28 Jan 1942
  • Redesignated 418th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 22 Apr 1942 Activated on 1 Jun 1942 Redesignated 418th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy, on 20 Aug 1943 Inactivated on 19 Dec 1945
  • Redesignated 418th Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy, on 13 May 1947
  • Activated in the Reserve on 29 May 1947 Inactivated on 27 Jun 1949
  • Redesignated 418th Bombardment Squadron, Medium, on 1 Dec 1958
  • Activated on 1 Mar 1959 Discontinued, and inactivated, on 1 Jan 1962
  • Consolidated (1 Oct 1992) with the 6518th Test Squadron, which was designated, and activated, on 10 Mar 1989.
  • Redesignated: 418th Test Squadron on 2 Oct 1992 Redesignated: 418th Flight Test Squadron on 1 Mar 1994.


  • 100th Bombardment Group, 1 Jun 1942-19 Dec 1945; 29 May 1947-27 Jun 1949
  • 100th Bombardment Wing, 1 Mar 1959-1 Jan 1962
  • 6510th (later, 412th) Test Wing, 10 Mar 1989
  • 412th Operations Group, 1 Oct 1993–Present
  • Stations

  • Orlando AB, Florida 1 June 1942
  • Barksdale Field, Louisiana, c. 18 June 1942
  • Pendleton Field, Oregon c. 26 June 1942
  • Gowen Field, Idaho, 28 August 1942
  • Walla Walla, Washington, c. 1 November 1942
  • Wendover Field, Utah, c. 30 November 1942
  • Sioux City AAB, Iowa, c. 28 December 1942
  • Kearney AAFld, Nebraska, c. 30 January – May 1943
  • RAF Thorpe Abbotts (USAAF Station 139), England, 9 June 1943 – December 1945
  • Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, c. 20–21 December 1945
  • Miami AAFld, Florida, 29 May 1947 – 27 June 1949.
  • Portsmouth (later, Pease) AFB, New Hampshire, 1 January 1956 – 30 April 1966
  • Edwards AFB, California, 10 Mar 1989–Present
  • References

    418th Flight Test Squadron Wikipedia

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