Order of Battle
By Gostar den Daas | July 2014

422nd TES

USAF Test and Evaluation Squadron

(Photo visual: Jason Couillard, Nellis AFB, 6 March 2013)

422nd Test and Evaluation squadron has a unique task. Before any hardware (aircraft) or software is accepted in the US Air Force, it’s operationally tested by the 422nd TES. Known as the “Green Bats” the squadron is part of the 53rd Test and Evaluation Group and operate out of Las Vegas, Nellis Air Force Base. Because of their task they fly the latest and greatest, like the F-22 and F-35. In this article we look into the history and current status of the squadron.



10-5009, F-35
Unit:422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron
Nickname:"Green Bats"
Wing:53rd Test and Evaluation Group
Location:Nellis AFB, United States
Aircraft:A-10/F-15/F-16/F-22/F-35/HH-60 ('OT')

History

Emblem

A Green caricatured bat in flight, with a look of ferocity on his face, wearing Gray aviator's goggles, holding in the right hand a Gray automatic revolver with smoke issuing from the barrel, and a dagger with White blade, point Red, emitting one drop of blood, held in the left hand. Approved on 29 Dec 1943.

14 July 1943, the 422nd Night Fighter Squadron was formed. Initially it was based in Orlando, FL before detachment during World War II, to the Ninth Air Force at Charmy Down, England. During the run-up to D-Day the squadron flew with the Royal Air Force to flight against German nightly intrusions of UK airspace. This included the V-1 missiles! The 422nd was the first squadron in England flying the night fighter Northrop P-61, Black widow. After D-day the squadron moved to Cherbourg - Maupertus, France, followed by Chateaudun, France and Florennes, Belgium. Main mission was air defense of allied liberated territory, intercepting Luftwaffe bombers and night flights. The 422nd also participated in the Battle of the Bulge (December 144 – January 1945) in the Belgium Ardennes. Mission was nightly attacks on enemy troop movements and bridges. In April 1945 the squadron moved to Langensalza Germany and Kassel in May. After demobilization in Europe (September 1945) the aircraft were flown back to the US for storage or post war use in different interceptor squadrons. The 422nd was deactivated.

The 422nd Night Fighter Squadron flew P-7, YP-61 (Black Widow prototype), P-61, L-6, C-78 and A-20.

422nd Fighter Weapon Squadron

In 1969 the 422nd was reinstated and re-designated as 422nd Fighter Weapon Squadron, based at Nellis Air Force Base, NV.

It’s main task was operational testing and evaluation of aircraft weapons systems, including F-111, F-4, A-10, F-15 and F-16. Aircraft entering service in the USAF were tested by the 422nd after development testing was completed at Edwards AFB. Initial mission was operational test and evaluation of the F-111. The squadron took over F-11As of the 4539th CCTS with tail code “WF”. The program ended in 1977 when remaining F-111Ds were relocated to McClelland AFB.

From 1971 onwards the F-4 and A-7 joined the squadron. A-10 and F-15s were added in 1977. In 1980 the F-16 followed. In 1985 the F-4E retired from 422nd TES.


68-0011, F-111

From 1971 onwards the F-4 and A-7 joined the squadron. A-10 and F-15s were added in 1977. In 1980 the F-16 followed. In 1985 the F-4E retired from 422nd TES.

When the squadron was formatted the tail code “WF” was used. Later in 1971 it was recoded to “WA” with a yellow/black checkerboard tail stripe (now used by the 65 AGRS and 16th WS)


87-0301, F-16C

90-0809, F-16C

79-0169, A-10

422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron

December 1981 the squadron was re-designated once more, now called 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron, its current designation.

1989 testing of the F-15E and F-16C LANTIRN (Low Altitude Navigation Targeting Infrared Night) commenced. With this aircraft the squadron expended its ability to fly nightly tactical missions.

When in 1991 operation Desert Storm began, 422nd was involved in evaluations of equipment and tactics which enhanced the effectiveness of the air war.

In 1993 the F-4G Wild Weasel was returned to the squadron as part of a test program before its final retirement in 1995, when the last aircraft was flown to AMARC.


91-0322, F-15E

The squadron recoded the aircraft “OT” from 1996 onwards. A green/black checkerboard tail flash is now used.

Current operations

422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron is part of the 53rd Test and Evaluation Group, stationed at Eglin AFB, Florida.

Testing and evaluation include aircraft hardware, engines, software and weapons of new types or upgrades prior to release. Besides operational testing, the squadron is also responsible for development and testing of new tactics. Tactics for using weapon systems in combat is an example. To do this, the squadron works closely with the USAF Weapons School. The squadron also conducts foreign material exploitation in which they supported the F-22, B2 and F-117 programs.

The squadron is divided in divisions based on aircraft they operate:


06-0128, F-22

A-10 division

A-10s entered the 422nd in 1977. The squadron evaluated a special modified night vision cockpit and tested it with night combat operations. They also evaluated close air support tactics in urban warfare.

F-15C/E divisions

Also established in 1977 to test night air superiority. Later the squadron also tested night vision goggle tactics for the F-15C and E. In 1989 the F-15E was added and an important evaluation program was the LANTIRN system used in a counter-offensive air-to air role.

F-16 division

In 1980 the F-16A was added and the C model in 1985. Also the night vision goggle was tested in several missions, including night combat, search and rescue. Also several cockpit modifications and configurations were tested. In 1997 the first live JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) was dropped by a 422nd F-16.

HH-60G division

This division was established in 1995. Goal was to test the HH-60 systems against enemy threats in day and night scenarios. Also cabin configurations were tested.

F-22 division

The F-22A was added for testing and evaluation in 2004.

F-35 division

Latest addition to the squadron was the F-35A, which joined in 2013.


10-5009, F-35

10-5009, F-35

10-5010, F-35

Current operational airframes

This list was noted July 2014. Any updates?

Registration Type Construction number Remarks
10-5009 / OT F-35A-2A AF-21 '422 TES' mrks
10-5010 / OT F-35A-2A AF-22
10-5011 / OT F-35A-2A AF-23
10-5012 / OT F-35A-2A AF-24
04-4066 / OTF-22A-20-LM645-4066
04-4068 / OTF-22A-20-LM645-4068
04-4069 / OTF-22A-20-LM645-4069
05-4106 / OTF-22A-30-LM645-4106
06-4111 / OTF-22A-30-LM645-4111
06-4120 / OTF-22A-30-LM645-4120
06-4124 / OTF-22A-30-LM645-4124
06-4128 / OTF-22A-30-LM645-4128
09-4188 / OTF-22A-35-LM645-4188
99-4010 / OTF-22A-10-LM645-4010
00-4014 / OTF/A-22A-10-LM645-4014Written off 20 Dec. 2004
78-0517 / OTF-15C-22-MC504/C050
80-0030 / OTF-15C-28-MC680/C179Written off 17 Mrt 2003
80-0041 / OTF-15C-29-MC704/C190Written off 24 Nov 2011
80-0052 / OTF-15C-29-MC729/C201Written off 25 mrt 2005
81-0030 / OTF-15C-30-MC756/C213'53 TEG'
81-0063 / OTF-15D-31-MC763/D036
82-0008 / OTF-15C-33-MC818/C239Written off 15 Jun 1999
82-0022 / OTF-15C-33-MC836/C253
83-0026 / OTF-15C-35-MC874/C286
83-0040 / OTF-15C-36-MC902/C300
84-0029 / WAF-15C-38-MC940/C332Written off 6 Nov 1989
90-0258 / OTF-15E-50-MC1198/E160
91-0322 / OTF-15E-52-MC1229/E187
91-0325 / OTF-15E-52-MC1232/E190
91-0601 / OTF-15E-53-MC1244/E202
92-0365 / OTF-15E-54-MC1251/E209
92-0366 / OTF-15E-54-MC1250/E208
96-0200 / OTF-15E-58-MC1327/E210
87-0362 / OTF-16CM-42-CF1C-13'422 TES' mrks
88-0420 / OTF-16CM-42-CF1C-22
88-0423 / OTF-16CM-42-CF1C-25
88-0442 / OTF-16CM-42-CF1C-44
88-0542 / OTF-16CG-42-CF1C-144Written off 8 Aug 2000
90-0740 / OTF-16CM-42-CF1C-348
90-0809 / OTF-16CM-52-CFCC-9
91-0374 / OTF-16CM-52-CFCC-72
92-3926 / OTF-16DM-52-CFCD-39
79-0169 / OTFA-10CFA10-0433
79-0171 / OTFA-10CFA10-0435
79-0199 / OTFA-10CFA10-0463
80-0242 / OTFA-10CFA10-0592'53 WG' mrks
82-0658 / OTFA-10CFA10-0706
10-20322HH-60U?
90-26311 / OTHH-60G70-1541
91-26352HH-60G70-1653
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