Squadron Spotlight: (VX) 20

Group/Squadron name:

Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20

Date founded:

1 April 1975

Based out of:

NAS Patuxent River

Current Commanding Officer:

Cmdr. Robert Polvino (assumed command on 10 March 2011)


“Full Spectrum Flight Test for the Fleet.” VX-20 tests and evaluates aircraft and systems in support of their delivery to the fleet, providing trained people, test-ready aircraft, and access to state-of-the-art facilities in support of warfighters.

Brief History:

VX-20 traces its roots to the earliest days of NAS Patuxent River and the testing of anti-submarine aircraft. The Naval Air Test Center (NATC) was established at Patuxent River in June 1945. In April 1975, NATC was reorganized into various directorates, one of which was the Anti-Submarine Aircraft Test Directorate. This organization was tasked to support the fleet through flight testing and evaluation on aircraft systems for the VP, VS, VAW, VQ, VR, and VT squadrons.

The Anti-Submarine Aircraft Test Directorate was renamed the Force Warfare Aircraft Test Directorate in June 1986. In May 1995, it officially became a squadron and was assigned as the Naval Force Aircraft Test Squadron. In May 2002, the squadron was redesignated to its current title as VX-20.

An E-2D Hawkeye assigned to VX-20 completes a touch-and-go exercise aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) on 2 February 2011. (Photo by MCSN Donald R. White Jr.)

Aircraft flown:

P-3C, E-2C/D, C-130F/R/T/J, T-2C, E-6B, T-34C, C-2A, T-6A/B, NC-130H, P-8A.

Number of people in unit: Approximately 450 total: 140 military, 34 civil service, and 276 contractors.

Significant Moments/Noteworthy Accomplishments (2011-2012):

  • E-2D transitioned to operational test phase;
  • P-8A underwent envelope expansion and system testing, including the first anti-submarine warfare contact and first torpedo delivery;
  • Preparing for MQ-4C test readiness review, flight readiness review, and first flight;
  • P-3C underwent multi-active coherent testing in support of P-8A risk reduction.
  • C-130J Harvest Hawk completed Phase I and II. Phase III testing to be conducted in 2012.
  • E-2C completed initial in-flight refueling tests, a six-year test effort.