The Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center (AFOTEC), located at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, is a direct reporting unit under Headquarters United States Air Force. It is the Air Force independent test agency responsible for testing, under operationally realistic conditions, new systems being developed for Air Force and multi-service use.

Mission

AFOTEC is the Air Force agency responsible for planning, executing and reporting independent operational tests and evaluations. The agency determines the operational capabilities and limitations of Air Force and joint systems to meet warfighter mission needs. It provides operational effectiveness, suitability and evaluation expertise from concept development to system employment in support of the Air Force, Department of Defense and other governmental agencies.

Personnel and Organization

AFOTEC employs approximately 730 military and civilian personnel at its headquarters, five detachments at Edwards AFB, Calif., Eglin AFB, Fla., Peterson AFB, Colo. and Kirtland AFB, N.M.; and more than 20 operating locations around the world. The commander of AFOTEC reports directly to the chief of staff of the Air Force.

Test teams conduct tests at selected sites; collect, analyze and evaluate the data and prepare formal reports. The teams are managed by AFOTEC and include personnel from the operating and supporting commands who will eventually employ these systems.

Test Program

AFOTEC's independent and objective evaluations of how well systems will meet operational requirements provide a vital link between the developer and user. They are key elements of the system acquisition approval process.

Operational tests are designed to address critical issues regarding a system's performance in combat-like environments when operated by field personnel. They seek to answer questions about how safe, effective, reliable, maintainable, compatible and logistically supportable new Air Force systems will be.

The results of AFOTEC's tests, normally conducted on prototype and pre-production models, play an important role in Air Force and DOD acquisition decisions. Test results also identify deficiencies requiring corrective action.

History

The origin of AFOTEC can be traced to problems experienced by the U.S. military during Vietnam where the hot and humid jungles of Southeast Asia took their toll on American weaponry. All but one of the 22 weapon systems examined suffered major deficiencies in the field. Some critics attributed this to minimal evaluation since only three had undergone operational test and evaluation before production.

By the early 1970's, pressure on the armed services to prioritize their operational test and evaluation functions proved overwhelming. The Air Force, in response, activated the Air Force Test and Evaluation Center, Jan. 1, 1974, at Kirtland AFB. The word "operational" was added to the center's name in April 1983 to indicate more clearly its mission and to avoid confusion with developmental test and evaluation.

Point of Contact

Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center
Public Affairs Office; 8500 Gibson Blvd SE; Kirtland AFB, N.M. 87117.
DSN 246-8513 or (505) 846-8513.


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