Rotary Wing Test Squadron

Rotary Wing Test Squadron

Rotary Wing Test Squadron (RWTS) is a tri-service UK military organisation based at [ MOD Boscombe Down] , Wiltshire. Primarily, the squadron is responsible for test and evaluation of rotary wing aircraft and equipment, or their associated modifications. The official RWTS web page is on the [ British Army Portal] .

quadron Role

To test and evaluate rotary wing aircraft and their associated equipment and weapon systems to generate evidence to support recommendations for Military Aircraft Release / Release To Service or advice for Service Deviation and assist in MoD R&D programmes.


RWTS (formerly D Sqn) was formed in September 1950 at Boscombe Down as part of the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE) [Collier Webb, Derek. UK Flight Testing Accidents 1940-1971. (UK 2002). ] . The squadron came into existence as helicopters became ever more prevalent in the UK Armed Forces and consolidated test and evaluation was required. Over the years, the parent organisation has changed: A&AEE became part of the Defence Test and Evaluation Organisation, absorbing the work of RAE Bedford and RAE Farnborough; then part of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA); and on 02 July 2001 a part of [ RAF Strike Command (now Air Command)] working in a public-private partnering arrangement with [ QinetiQ] (see below).


RWTS is a military tri-service squadron currently commanded by a Royal Navy Commander. There are 14 other Test Pilots from either the RAF, Royal Navy or the Army Air Corps plus 2 highly experienced aircrewman. These military (or ex-military) personnel provide recent operational role experience and ensure all testing is related to current or future military operations. As well as being very experienced and above the average pilots, all test pilots are graduates of the [ The Empire Test Pilots’ School (ETPS)] also located at MOD Boscombe Down, or one of the other three internationally recognised military test pilot training academies in the USA or France.

Typical work

Any new aircraft, new equipment or modification for use in British military aircraft needs to be safe to be flown in the intended role and effective at prosecuting that role. RWTS personnel are responsible for planning, executing and reporting-on flight test trials for the [ Royal Navy] , [ British Army] and [ Royal Air Force] . Typical trials include assessment of performance, flying qualities, airworthiness, systems and safety modifications. Recent examples are:

* Bringing new aircraft into service;
* Mid-life upgrades to in-service aircraft;
* Improved night vision devices;
* Improvements to aircraft performance;
* Updated Defensive Aids Suites;
* New radios and other communication devices.

Trials involving new aircraft major modifications to in-service aircraft are conducted in Combined Test Teams with representatives from the manufacturer (eg [ Agusta Westland] ), RWTS, QinetiQ, and the Operational Evaluation Unit (OEU) of the Arm or Service (eg the Royal Navy’s Lynx OEU).


RWTS have use of a number of aircraft, permanently based at Boscombe Down, including 3 Sea King, 2 Lynx and 3 Gazelles [ [ Aircraft ] ] . The longest serving of which is Gazelle HT3 XZ936, being commission in May 1978 and living its entire life at Boscombe Down. The majority of these aircraft are painted in the classic A&AEE colours of red, white and blue; they are used for continuation training and trials work as well for instruction use by ETPS. The aircraft are fitted with a range of instrumentation fits to accurately measure parameters including performance, sideslip, ‘G’ and control activity.

Additional military aircraft are allotted to Boscombe Down for specific trials; including the AH-64 Apache, Chinook, Merlin, Puma, plus any other in-service military helicopter.


In 1914 the Experimental Flight was established at Upavon to assess the new aeroplanes and their equipment for this revolutionary new means of warfare. The Experimental Flight expanded in the inter-war years and in 1943 a dedicated school was set up by Air Marshal Sir Ralph Sorley, the controller of Research and Development, as he was concerned by the rising number of fatalities in test flying and a lack of standardisation of flying techniques. The Test Pilots’ Training Flight at Boscombe Down was formed, now called the Empire Test Pilots' School, one of a succession of schools with the Empire prefix [ [ History ] ] . It served the Air Forces of the British Empire and has been attended by experienced pilots from around the world. ETPS remains one of the ‘big four’ test pilot schools, alongside the [ US Navy Test Pilots' School] , [ US Air Force Test Pilots' School] and the French Test Pilots' School ( [ EPNER] ).

Working alongside QinetiQ

The MOD conducts its flight test and military evaluation activities in a public-private partnering arrangement with QinetiQ. The Armed Forces provide specialist personnel to work in partnership with QinetiQ. For regulatory purposes the QinetiQ-MOD partnering arrangement that is approved to conduct flight testing is referred to as the Aircraft Test and Evaluation Centre (ATEC).


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужно сделать НИР?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Empire Test Pilots' School — The Empire Test Pilots School (ETPS) is a training establishment based at MOD Boscombe Down in Wiltshire, England. ETPS is run as a partnership between the UK MOD and defence contractor QinetiQ, under a long term partnering agreement. HistoryIn… …   Wikipedia

  • 920th Rescue Wing — Infobox Military Unit unit name=920th Rescue Wing caption= dates= 15 January 1963 present country=United States allegiance= branch=Air Force type=Combat Search and Rescue role= size= command structure=Air Force Reserve Command current… …   Wikipedia

  • No. 16 Squadron RAF — Active 10 February 1915 – Present Role Elementary Flying Training …   Wikipedia

  • 27th Special Operations Wing — Infobox Military Unit unit name=27th Special Operations Wing caption= dates= 1940 45, 1946 Present country=United States allegiance= branch=United States Air Force type= role= size= command structure=Air Force Special Operations Command current… …   Wikipedia

  • No. 403 Squadron RCAF — 403 (Helicopter) Operational Training Squadron (403 Sqn) is located at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown (CFB Gagetown). Equipped with CH 146 Griffons, it provides operational aircrew training to the crews who will fly the helicopter.The Squadron… …   Wikipedia

  • 403 Helicopter Operational Training Squadron — No. 403 Squadron RCAF Active 1941 to Present Country …   Wikipedia

  • Carrier Air Wing Eight — Infobox Military Unit unit name= Carrier Air Wing Eight caption= CVW 8 Insignia dates= 1 June 1943 Present country= United States allegiance= branch= US Navy type= Carrier Air Wing role= size= command structure= United States Fleet Forces Command …   Wikipedia

  • Operational Test and Evaluation Force — (OPTEVFOR) seal Active December, 1947 – Present Country …   Wikipedia

  • Naval Air Station Patuxent River — Trapnell Field IATA: NHK – ICAO: KNHK FAA: NHK Summary Airport type …   Wikipedia

  • MoD Boscombe Down — IATA: none – ICAO: EGDM Summary Airport type Military Owner Ministry of Defence Operator …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”