Celebrating 75th anniversary of test and evaluation at MOD Boscombe Down

09 Jul 2014

Celebrations for 75 years of test and evaluation work at MOD Boscombe Down took place on 28th June, with summer festivities and a spectacular Dakota fly-past for QinetiQ employees, family and friends at the site.

The static display at MOD Boscombe Down

For the last 75 years QinetiQ and its predecessor organisations have worked alongside the MOD to deliver decades of aerospace test and evaluation at MOD Boscombe Down, performing impartial flight trials of new aircraft, airborne equipment and weapons to assess safety and suitability, either during research, development and production phases or during operational service. Flight trials for almost every aircraft type and size have been conducted over the years including helicopters, fast jets, heavy and light aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Aircraft testing at the airfield started when the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE) moved from RAF Martlesham Heath in August 1939 and the airfield was known as RAF Boscombe Down. A&AEE’s work included testing armaments, performance and acceptance trials for all new service aircraft.

QinetiQ employees celebrate the 75th anniversary at ‘family day’ at MOD Boscombe Down

In 1992 the A&AEE was renamed the Aircraft and Armament Evaluation Establishment when experimental work moved to the Defence Research Agency (DRA). Responsibility for the site passed to the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) in 1995, which was split into two parts in 2001; the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and QinetiQ. Following the creation of QinetiQ in 2001, a 25 year Long Term Partnering Agreement (LTPA) was established with the MOD and since 2003 the Boscombe Down site and airfield are now operated by QinetiQ on behalf of the MOD under this contract.

Marking the anniversary last weekend, QinetiQ employees and their friends and families enjoyed a fly past, static aircraft display, stalls, fairground attractions and a display of model aircraft and old cockpits at the historic site.

Gaz Borland, Managing Director for QinetiQ’s Air Division, said; “For 75 years this site has been providing outstanding test and evaluation capability and at QinetiQ we are extremely proud to be a part of this legacy and to be celebrating the ongoing success at MOD Boscombe Down. Our capabilities and services continue to place us at the forefront of innovation and we look forward to the future.”

Group Captain Rob Humphries, Chief Test Pilot at MOD Boscombe Down and Head of the Air Warfare Centre’s Flying Division, said; We are delighted to be celebrating this significant milestone and huge success of MOD Boscombe Down in air test and evaluation to support the front Line. 75 years of heritage in ground-breaking research, test and evaluation have given us the expertise to provide world-class support across every aspect of the air domain.”

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Celebrating 75th anniversary of test and evaluation at MOD Boscombe Down