The Air Force unit responsible for testing the Predator A and Predator B UAVs has seen its mission expand since it began operation in June 2005 at Gray Buttes-El Mirage test facility, about 20 miles southeast of Edwards AFB, Calif. The 452nd Flight Test Squadron established a detachment at Gray Buttes to handle development test and evaluation as the test pace picked up for the much-sought UAV. Det. 1 comprises seven permanently assigned 452nd personnel and systems and test personnel from Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center, and the 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron, a unit of Eglin AFB, Fla., and the contractor General Atomics.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.