USAF Red Hats, 6513th TS (413th FTS), MiG Flight Test Squadron

Dynoman

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I thought that making a separate thread on the 6513th Test Squadron known as the Red Hats, those who conduct the initial flight tests of acquired MiGs for later tactical exploitation, and would focus the website's patrons on the issues of how these aircraft are acquired, tested, who tests them, and what their findings were. Steve Davies book Red Eagles addresses some of these issues, but does not get into the later years of the 6513th TS, namely the 413th FTS or the Classified Flight Test Squadron. They are believed to be currently operating Su-27 aircraft and special mission support aircraft to further their mission. I'll post excerpts from Davies book that may garner topics of conversation.
 

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Dynoman

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"Between mid-1969 and late 1972, Air Force Systems Command testing of MiGs was conducted by the 6512th Test Squadron of the Special Projects Branch, part of the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base. The original organization consisted of the HAVE FERRY MiG-17 and one test pilot, Major Norman L. Suits, and six maintenance personnel, and the MiG was a part-time or additional duty effort that took place at Groom Lake. But then the MiG-21 previously used in HAVE DOUGHNUT returned to the Test Site [Groom Lake] in 1972 when a new engine became available, and another pilot, Major Charles P. “Pete” Winters, was added. The program grew slowly and the number of daily sorties increased to as many as four flights in a single day. A MiG-17PF [Fresco D] arrived around the same time, as did several more MiG-21 airframes, from which a single MiG-21 was made flyable using parts from all of them. The rest were kept as a source of spare parts. [The Air Force now had a total of two MiG-21F-13s Fishbed C/Es, and two MiG-17F Fresco C/Ds.]"

"The AFSC group called themselves the “Red Hats” and in 1973 they came up with a unit emblem. It featured a bear wearing a wide-brimmed red hat and surmounting a globe hemisphere, all against a yellow background. Six red stars arced over the top. Two tabs included the name, “RED HATS,” and the motto, “MORE WITH LESS.” The motto symbolized the team’s ability to consistently produce useful data despite the challenges of operating from a remote location with a small cadre, and having to scrounge or make spare parts to keep their aircraft flyable." (Davies, Red Eagles, pp. 43-44)
 
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"On May 30, 1973, AFSC consolidated the Air Force’s MiG exploitations and initiated the blanket program HAVE IDEA. While the new program would leave AFSC maintaining overall operational control of the test assets and management of test activities, “It was intended to integrate test activity with participants from AFSC, TAC, and the Navy,” “The Red Hats’ mission evolved to include project management for all phases of developmental [technical] test and evaluation, as well as some phases of operational test and evaluation of foreign aircraft, weapons, and radar systems.” (Davies, Red Eagles, p.44)
 

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Known Red Hat test pilots:

George K. Muellner
Joseph Lanni
David Ferguson
Fred D. Knox, Jr.
John H. Casper
Donald R. McMonagle
Eric Schultz
A.J. "Face" McFarland
Dennis F. "Bones" Sager
Randall G. Walden (Classified Flight Test Squadron)
Michael T. Brewer (Classified Flight Test Squadron)
 
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Dynoman

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Support aircraft recently used used with the Red Hats

Gulfstream G-II N105TB
F-16D 86-0052
 

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Dynoman

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"By the end of 1977 the Red Hats possessed 1,200 percent more total assets than they had in 1972, and managed a budget in excess of $670,000 per fiscal year. The cadre included two test pilots and 38 enlisted personnel for maintenance, operations, and administrative duties. They flew an average of 25 percent of all AFFTC sorties annually. Personnel now went TDY [temporary duty] to the Test Site on a continuous Monday-through-Friday basis, with occasional extra TDY when required to accomplish high-priority or special missions. Because of the Special Projects Branch’s diversified and expanded mission, the classified nature of its projects, its unique support requirements, and its geographic separation from its parent unit, AFFTC commander MajGen Thomas P. Stafford proposed elevating the organization to squadron status. The new unit was activated as the 6513th Test Squadron on December 1, 1977." (Davies, Red Eagles, p. 68)

“In the summer of 1977, the Red Hats acquired from Egypt 12 MiG23MS ‘Flogger E’ interceptors and one MiG-23BN ‘Flogger F’ fighter-bomber.7 They were shipped to the US in two C-5s, each carrying six airframes.” (Davies, Red Eagles, p. 62)
 
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According to Davies, the Red Hats occasionally had to 'sequester' pilots and MiGs from the 4477th in order to conduct additional tests on various MiGs, which upset some 4477th officials. One of the biggest questions both groups had was how long the MiGs systems and engines would last. Some of the testing was designed to try and determine when the MiG equipment should be repaired or grounded.

Red Hats used a type designation to identify the aircraft instead of a typical prefix and number.

“In the late 1970s and 1980s, Red Hats flew aircraft Type IIB (HAVE COAT), Type IIIA (HAVE BOXER), Type IIIB (HAVE LIGHTER), Type IIID (HAVE LIGHTER – Modified), Type IIIT (HAVE FIREMAN). I have also seen a somewhat humorous document that mentioned ‘geriatric Type 6 aircraft.’” (Davies, Red Eagles, p. 333)

Have Boxer - exploitation of the ex-Egyptian AF MiG-23BN/YF-113B (1978)
Have Coat - exploitation of the ex-Egyptian AF MiG-21MF/YF-110D (1980)
Have Lighter -exploitation of the MiG-23/Jaybird Radar Test (1984)
Have Lighter modified - ?
Have Fireman - ?
 
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Dynoman

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For Project Have Doughnut..."Air Force Systems Command (AFSC) recruited its pilots from the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC), and that meant that they were typically graduates of various test pilot schools."

The pilots recruited for HAVE DOUGHNUT (1968-1969) were not from the 6512th or the 6513th (Red Hats), which did not form until 1969 and December of 1977, respectively. The 6513th it appears was formed to test the MiGs that followed HAVE DOUGHNUT. The recruitment of these initial MiG pilots from the AFFTC was not extraordinary considering the MiG-15's exploitation (Project Moolah) by the US in the early 1950's when Commander Boyd and test pilot's Tom Collins and Chuck Yeager flew the MiG for performance tests. Like the later MiGs, the MiG-15 was taken apart, analyzed for technical information and a search for 'boobytraps' prior to the flight evaluation occurred. Wright-Patterson's Foreign Technology Division and the Air Intelligence Center were instrumental in the inspections.

I thought that the USAFTPS had a HAVE GUN patch, but this was the closest that I could find. :cool:
 

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