AFMC commander visits Holloman
Senior Airman Breanne Harris, 49th Operations Support Squadron, fits Gen. Donald Hoffman, Air Force Materiel Command commander, for a flight helmet and oxygen mask before his flight on a QF-4 Phantom II at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., Jan. 21, 2011. The QF-4 is modified from a baseline F-4 aircraft and can be flown remotely by a ground controller or by a pilot in the cockpit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael Means / Released)
by Airman 1st Class Siuta B. Ika
49th Wing Public Affairs
1/28/2011 - HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- The Air Force Materiel Command commander, Gen. Donald Hoffman, visited the base Jan. 20 and Jan. 21 to meet with base leadership, Airmen from the 46th Test Group and to see the test group's capabilities first-hand.
After having breakfast with 46th TG Airmen, he set out to visit the 746th Test Squadron.
During his visit to the 746th TS, General Hoffman got a closer look at a GPS jamming system, an extremely high accuracy navigation reference system used to measure weapon system performance; a one-of-a-kind inertial test system; a GPS constellation simulator; and a highly-modified ground test vehicle.
Lt. Col. Stephen Russell, 746th TS commander, said AFMC's mission is to deliver war-winning expeditionary capabilities to the warfighter, and the 746th TS plays a key role in that mission by testing and evaluating Department of Defense guidance, navigation and navigation warfare systems.
"We're excited to have had the opportunity to showcase our exceptional people and capabilities, as well as to emphasize our role in both testing and evaluating key warfighting capabilities for the DOD," said Colonel Russell. "In 2010 alone, the 746th TS executed more than 500 test missions and more than 4000 test hours."
Later in the day, General Hoffman had the opportunity to fly a QF-4 Phantom II and observe the developmental test process of the aircraft.
"I wanted to see how they use [the QF-4] in the test business," said General Hoffman. "It's very fascinating how they have to blend manned control in the cockpit with the remote control from the ground-based controllers, and how that's all synchronized to support a test."
According to Lt. Col. Brent Gillespie, Detachment 1, 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron commander, the QF-4 is modified from a baseline F-4 aircraft and can be flown remotely by a ground controller or by a pilot in the cockpit.
"This flexibility allows test and evaluation customers to launch live missiles at the full size QF-4 target to assure their respective weapons systems performs as expected," said Colonel Gillespie. "General Hoffman gained key insight into the QF-4 capabilities and limitations during the sortie and will use the information to shape the next full-scale target which is in current development."
Colonel Gillespie added that Det. 1, 82nd ATRS is one of two locations in the DOD that has full-scale aerial target capability, which gives major weapons systems the ability to prove their capabilities work correctly.
"The only method to accurately do that is a live-fire test against a real target in a simulated combat environment," Colonel Gillespie said. "General Hoffman understands the importance of the QF-4's ability to accurately provide target replication to weapons systems being tested by his Major Command, so when the systems are fielded to combat units they perform as designed when it truly matters and lives are at risk."
General Hoffman's flight in the QF-4 also marked his first time in the cockpit of the supersonic drone.
"I've been in the Air Force for over three decades and never have had the opportunity to fly an F-4," said the General. "I always wanted to fly the F-4; it was on my bucket list."
Before departing the base, he shared one last thought about Holloman.
"You have a national treasure here -- restricted air-space and a good weather environment that will always make Holloman a significant contributor to national defense," General Hoffman said.
For more information about AFMC, visit their official Web Site at www.afmc.af.mil.