Historically, the Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard have operated older aircraft than their active duty counterparts. The absence of improving combat capability of Air Reserve Component aircraft meant they had limited military value to the U.S. Air Force.
The Air National Guard – Air Force Reserve Command Test Center (AATC), brought innovation to the forefront and changed that dynamic forever.
In 1970, the Department of Defense adopted the Total Force Policy – paving the way for concurrent consideration of all policy making, planning, programming and budgetary activities associated with operational test and evaluations. In July 1982 AATC was created with the mission of keeping the inventory of ARC fighter aircraft combat capable and relevant to the Total Force.
The men and women of this unique test facility are responsible for the validation, testing and integration of equipment used on fighter aircraft and often help bridge old and new technologies with low-risk, off-the-shelf improvements. Focus areas include 24-hour operations, precision attack, enhanced survivability and total communications capability.
Over the years, AATC has been recognized for its outstanding contributions to the Air Force mission. ARC F-16C aircraft were the primary fighter aircraft airborne in the US after the September 11 terrorist attacks and were equipped with AATC-developed capabilities including the situation awareness defense list and night vision goggles which directly improved the effectiveness of homeland defense aircraft not originally designed for an air defense role. The center was also responsible for the testing of the combat proven LITENING II targeting pod on the A-10 aircraft.
Today, AATC thrives on the mantra “80 percent the solution at 20 percent the cost” and tests are conducted routinely with a “bottom-up focus” with inputs solicited from units around the world.
The AATC program is innovation!