REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (March 25, 2021) – Bob Wagner, a 22 year Army Veteran and Experimental Test Pilot, has been selected as the Civilian Mission Employee of the Quarter for the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command, also known as ATEC.
Wagner serves as an Experimental Test Pilot within the U.S. Army Redstone Test Center (RTC) in the Aviation Flight Test Directorate’s (AFTD) Attack and Reconnaissance Test Division. His duties include serving as a test pilot and test director during the planning, execution, and reporting of various test programs pertaining to new or modified attack aircraft.
Wagner was selected for this honor because of his work supporting the ATEC mission during the first quarter, Fiscal Year 2021, from October to December 2020.
During this period, Wagner, as Test Director and lead experimental test pilot at AFTD, led his team during the testing of the United Kingdom AH-64E Apache attack helicopter airworthiness program. For this effort, the flight test program included critical assessments of the existing Apache’s performance, many of which had never been conducted before.
In 2016, the UK's Ministry of Defense announced plans to purchase 50 AH-64E Apache helicopters as a replacement for the aging Apache AH Mark 1 fleet, which is set to retire in 2024. The investment is expected to provide the United Kingdom with state-of-the-art attack helicopters for the next several decades.
“Bob's technical expertise and his outstanding efforts allowed the safe and efficient completion of several challenging and complex flight test events," said Col. Steven R. Braddom, commander of RTC. "His efforts have been a key part of validating these aircraft against the unique needs and requirements of the United Kingdom and have played an important role in the successful fielding of these aircraft to support a critical U.S. ally."
As Test Director for this program, Wagner led a team of five flight test engineers and three experimental test pilots through arduous test maneuvers and a compressed test schedule. He worked long hours and weekends to ensure the program was executed safely and with the correct amount of technical rigor. He also provided daily guidance to ensure aircraft instrumentation was operational, flight test maneuvers were executed correctly, and the collected data met the test objectives.
“Bob’s dedication to the mission and overall work ethic have allowed him to meet this exhaustive mission requirement within both schedule and budget,” said Lt. Col. Joe Minor, commander of the AFTD. “His contributions during this period are commendable and will ensure that the right data were collected to assess the AH-64E Apache performance in these expanded areas.”
“I feel humbled and honored to be recognized as the ATEC employee of the quarter. I work with many people at RTC with a passion for their profession and they will do whatever it takes to get the job done which motivates me to work even harder,” said Wagner.
RTC is located on Redstone Arsenal and is a subordinate command of the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command. RTC provides technical expertise, state-of-the-art facilities, and capabilities to plan, conduct, analyze, and report the results of tests on missile and aviation systems, sensors, subsystems and components.
ATEC is a direct reporting unit of the U.S. Army and is responsible for developmental testing, independent operational testing, independent evaluations, assessments, and experiments of Army equipment.