The U.S. Air Force reactivated its 420th Flight Test Squadron following an assumption of command ceremony at Edwards Air Force Base, California on Oct. 4.
The squadron will plan, test, analyze and report on all flight and ground testing of the B-21 Raider strategic bomber being developed for the Air Force by Northrop Grumman.
The 420 FLTS is organized under the 412th Test Wing, which is part of the Air Force Test Center (AFTC), headquartered at Edwards AFB. The squadron, along with the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, will ensure the Air Force delivers this asymmetric capability to the warfighter.
The B-21 will be a highly survivable, next-generation bomber with the ability to penetrate modern air defenses and hold any target at risk globally. The program has a mature and stable design and is transitioning to manufacturing development of the first test aircraft in Palmdale, California.
“The first flight of the Raider will take it from Palmdale to Edwards AFB, where the legacy of excellence will continue with the reactivation of the 420th Flight Test Squadron,” said Acting Secretary of the Air Force Matthew Donovan, during the Air Force Association Conference Sept. 16.
This legacy of excellence began July 17, 1989, when the B-2 Spirit, the world’s first stealth bomber, took off from Northrop Grumman’s production facility at Plant 42 in Palmdale and landed 112 minutes later at Edwards for developmental testing by the 420th FLTS.
Following the testing, the B-21 Raider bombers will be delivered to the preferred main operating base locations of Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, Whiteman AFB, Missouri, and Dyess AFB, Texas. These three bomber bases will continue to equip and support Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) as they prepare for the arrival of the next-generation bomber.