Air Force Material Command, as part of its command-wide reorganization, inactivated the Air Armament Center at Eglin AFB, Fla., consolidating Eglin’s 46th Test Wing and 96th Air Base Wing. Redesignated the 96th Test Wing during a ceremony on July 18, the unit’s testers now report to the newly renamed Air Force Test Center at Edwards AFB, Calif., said AFMC officials in a July 19 release. Its development and acquisition missions are now aligned under the new Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. “Our mission to develop, test, and produce war-winning weapons remains vital . . . and it must continue,” said Maj. Gen. Kenneth Merchant, outgoing AAC commander. AFMC eliminated the center, but retained its functions at Eglin to cut staff costs. A measure in the still-to-be-finalized Fiscal 2013 defense authorization legislation, however, could reverse the consolidation, reports Florida’s Emerald Coast Daily News. “My pending legislation is explicit. . . . When it becomes law, the Air Force will be required to re-establish and restore the Air Armament Center,” said Rep. Jeff Miller, who represents the Eglin community.
In a nighttime ceremony contrived to continue concealment of many of its features, the new B-21 bomber rolled out of Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif. plant Dec. 2. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the aircraft's advanced technology represents "deterrence, the American way."