The Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center (AFOTEC), located at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., is a direct reporting unit under Headquarters, United States Air Force. It is the Air Force independent test agency responsible for testing, under operationally realistic conditions, new systems being developed for Air Force and multi-service use.
Leading edge operational testers dedicated to advancing America’s warfighting capabilities
AFOTEC tests and evaluates new capabilities in operationally realistic environments to inform warfighters and influence national resource decisions
Personnel and Organization
AFOTEC employs more than 600 military and civilian personnel at its headquarters and five detachments located at Edwards AFB, Calif., Peterson AFB, Colo, Eglin AFB, Fla., Nellis AFB, Nev., and Kirtland AFB, N.M., and multiple operating locations around the country.
Test teams conduct tests at selected sites; collect, analyze and evaluate the data; and prepare formal reports. The teams are managed by AFOTEC and include personnel from the operating and supporting commands who will eventually employ these systems.
AFOTEC’s independent and objective evaluations of how well systems will meet operational requirements provide a vital link between the developer and user. They are key elements of the system acquisition approval process.
Operational tests are designed to address critical issues regarding a system’s performance in combat-like environments when operated by field personnel. They seek to answer questions about how safe, effective, reliable, maintainable, compatible and logistically supportable new Air Force systems will be.
The results of AFOTEC’s tests, normally conducted on prototype and pre-production models, play an important role in Air Force and Department of Defense acquisition decisions. Test results also identify deficiencies requiring corrective action.
The Air Force activated the Air Force Test and Evaluation Center as a separate operating agency reporting directly to the chief of staff of the Air Force on Jan. 1, 1974 at Kirtland AFB, N.M. The center achieved initial operational capability in April 1974 and full operational capability by October 1974.
On April 4, 1983, the center was redesignated the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center to clearly delineate its role as the Air Force's operational test agency. The Air Force redesignated AFOTEC a direct reporting unit to the CSAF Feb. 5, 1991. Later in 1991, the Air Force broadened AFOTEC's responsibilities by re-assigning all initial, qualification, and selected follow-on operational tests and evaluations from the major commands to the center.
AFOTEC's test and evaluation mission further expanded in 1997 when the center absorbed the "non-traditional" testing mission of the disbanded Defense Evaluation Support Activity. AFOTEC's mission success is reflected in its receipt of seven Air Force Organizational Excellence Awards.