AEROSPACETESTINGINTERNATIONAL.COM // JUNE 27
o back 60 years or so to the
pioneering days of aerospace
and the UK’s military flight
test staff was as concerned
with interservice rivalry, setting world records and
actual flights into the unknown as it was about proving
technologies and techniques for the front line.
Today, UK military aerospace trials and research
involves all three services and industry. The work
extends beyond flight trials and includes work to define
future requirements, tactics development and dealing
with issues for the warfighter as quickly as possible.
Number 1 Group, Royal Air Force takes overall
responsibility for trials, under the command of former
Harrier and Tornado pilot Air vice-marshal Harv Smyth.
The Air Warfare Centre (AWC) at RAF Waddington,
Lincolnshire is the hub for the UK’s military aerospace
test process. Air commodore Rich Davies, another former
Tornado pilot, is its commandant.
Posted into the role during December 2018, Davies
and his AWC team oversee the trials program. “All test
and evaluation comes through the Air Warfare Centre
and, as commandant, I’m the senior operator for all air
test and evaluation across defense. That includes British
Army and Royal Navy platforms and the AWC has
personnel from all three services, including test pilots
and flight test engineers.”
The AWC’s test and evaluation responsibility extends
to around 27 aircraft platforms, handled by a variety of
specialist units at RAF bases across the country. Heavy
aircraft and fast jet trials unit organization has evolved
over the past decade or so, with operational evaluation