Administrative control of the 576th Flight Test Squadron will be handed over from Air Force Global Strike Command Directorate of Operations to the 20th Air Force Oct. 1. Oversight and management of the ICBM testing process will remain under AFGSC control, while the administrative change clarifies the chain of command for the 576th FLTS, according to an AFGSC release. The 576th FLTS is the only unit with a mission focused on testing the nation’s fleet of Minuteman III missiles, and the squadron has been testing ICBMs since 1959.? “Administratively and functionally, this aligns the squadron with the professionals within the ICBM Numbered Air Force,” Maj. Gen. Anthony Cotton, 20th Air Force Commander, said, according to the release. “While the operational-level mission of the squadron differs from the other 20AF units … the tactical-level actions and problem sets of the 576th parallel those of sister units.”
The Pentagon awarded a $2.02 billion contract for Lot 17 of F-35 engines to contractor Pratt & Whitney on June 5. Work on the F135 engine is expected to be completed by December 2025.