NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Don’t be confused by the name. The 505th Test and Evaluation Group does more than just testing and evaluation.
The focus of the 505th TEG is not on one particular mission set. Tasks the group completes range from distributing mission operations, virtual training, radar evaluation, operational-level training and integrating tests.
“To say that we just execute one specific mission set is probably [misleading],” said Col. Matthew Smith, 505th TEG commander. “It’s a multitude of missions that span a significant amount of disciplines.”
The distribution and size of the group also makes for an even more unique combination of capabilities.
The group consists of more than 600 people in four active-duty squadrons, two detachments and 11 operating locations according to the unit’s factsheet.
Units include the 605th Test and Evaluation Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla.; 705th Combat Training Squadron, Kirtland AFB, N.M.; 505th Test Squadron, Nellis AFB, Nev.; and the 84th Radar Evaluation Squadron, Hill AFB, Utah. Additionally, group detachments are located in Melbourne, Fla., and Seattle.
“The 505th TEG offers a one stop shop for operational test and evaluation to tactics development and evaluation,” Smith said.
The group provides a large variety of capabilities in support of multiple agencies at Nellis AFB, the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security, as well as coalition and partner nations.
“One of our core missions sets here with the 505th TS is to employ and train coalition and joint forces at the operational level of war,” Smith said. “They [lead] Combined Air Operations Center Nellis and bring troops in to train them beyond the level they are currently at.
“It enables them to do their mission during war time to a greater extent.”
Another squadron Smith feels is very unique is the 84th RADES. This squadron evaluates, optimizes and integrates fixed and mobile long range radars for both the operational and federal communities. This includes recent radar optimization and upgrades downrange and supporting the DHS. The optimization of radars allows the systems to perform at their peak capabilities for each specific unit’s mission requirements.
“All of [these result] in an operational air picture that is critical to our homeland defense and decision superiority at multiple echelons of command,” said Lt. Col Gerald Campbell, 505th TEG director of test and training.
The 705th CTS acts as a focal point to fuse a virtual and constructive environment for Combat Air Force, Mobility Air Force, special operations and space based assets and capabilities.
The squadron is the Air Force’s Distributed Mission Operations Center of Excellence and operates the Air Force’s primary DMO node for conducting large composite force exercises in a distributed environment.
“Through DMO, the Air Force can successfully conduct robust combat employment scenarios for entire strike packages to include fighters, bombers, and command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft with more participants in a more challenging contested, degraded, and operationally limited environment than is often possible in any other venue,” said Lt. Col Gerald Campbell, 505th TEG director of test and training. “This provides an unparalleled opportunity for the Combat Air Forces, Mobility Air Forces, and special operations forces, and our coalition allies to integrate and hone the skills needed for successful combat employment.”
The 605th TES’s primary mission set is to serve as the Air Force’s lead for C2ISR weapon system operational test and evaluation.
“Their efforts ensure we maintain our technological edge in C2ISR systems by validating their combat readiness to meet the demands of the warfighter in the arena of combat employment,” Campbell said.
The two detachments of the 605th TES serve as the Air Force’s operational testing lead for the E-3 AWACS and E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System.
The group’s variety of location and range of expertise makes it what it is.
“The 505th TEG’s unique portfolio of expertise from these units creates a synergized group offering an unparalleled ability to advance airpower through air, space and cyber integration through operational test, advance training, and tests tactics, techniques, and procedures development mission sets … an ability that directly translates to increased combat capabilities for the warfighter,” Campbell said.