Capt. Rick Foster
A third generation naval officer, Capt. Richard Foster graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering, was commissioned in the U.S. Navy in 1999, and was designated a naval aviator in 2001.
His first assignment was with Patrol Squadron (VP) 45 in Jacksonville, Florida, where he deployed as a patrol plane commander and mission commander to Sigonella, Sicily and Senegal, Africa. In 2005, he reported to Training Squadron (VT) 2 in Milton, Florida. He instructed over 750 flight hours in 18 months. His tour ended early due to his selection to U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in Patuxent River, Maryland.
In 2007, Foster graduated from the fixed wing syllabus at Test Pilot School with Class 132 and reported to Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 30 in Point Mugu, California, where he served as the next generation range support aircraft project officer and UAV project officer, working with multiple UAV programs including “Globalhawk” and “Switchblade”. He also served as the officer in charge (OIC) for multiple OCONUS detachments, authored test plans and flew test events for the S-3 and C-130.
In 2010, Foster reported to VP-5 for his operational department head tour as a mission commander, instructor and functional check flight pilot. After serving as admin officer and detachment site OIC during a tri-site deployment, he spent his last year as the maintenance officer, leading 200 personnel in delivering the highest aircraft availability rate in Patrol Wing 11.
In 2012, Foster was assigned to Fleet Readiness Center (FRC) Southeast in Jacksonville, where he was selected as an aerospace engineering duty officer. As P-3 Production Officer, he improved the on-time delivery rate from less than ten percent to over 62% during his tenure while earning his Master of Science in electrical engineering from the University of North Florida. In 2015 he transferred to Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) at Patuxent River and was assigned as the advanced development lead for PMA-242 (Direct and Time Sensitive Strike). There he led a modular rocket improvement program and NAVAIR’s team for airborne offensive directed energy.
In 2017, Foster was selected as the strike integrated product team (IPT) lead at PMA-272 (Advanced Tactical Aircraft Protection Systems) where he managed an Acquisition Category (ACAT) IC program and led a team of 80 people managing annual budgets in excess of $100 million. He and his team were responsible for the development, procurement and sustainment of electronic countermeasures systems including radar jammers and towed decoys. His team developed acquisition strategies and managed the development of a new cognitive electronic warfare suite and a new dual band decoy ACAT III program for the F-18 Super Hornet.
In 2019, Foster was chosen as the military deputy program manager for the Air Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Systems Program Office (PMA-264) where he oversaw five integrated product teams responsible for over $300 million annually. Their products enable airborne acoustic and non-acoustic detection and tracking of adversary submarines, mainly from the P-8 and H-60 aircraft. He left that assignment early upon selection for the Secretary of Defense Executive Fellowship, where he spent a year studying commercial program management techniques, culture and change management, and executive communication at FedEx Express.
Returning to Patuxent River in 2021, he served as the E-XX (E-6B recapitalization) IPT Lead for PMA-271 (Airborne Strategic C3). He and his team managed an ACAT IB with more than $2.9 billion of RDT&E within the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP) and are charged with modernizing and integrating the “Take Charge and Move Out” mission systems into the C-130 to replace the aging E-6B Mercury.
Foster was selected for major command and reported to Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia, as the executive officer in July 2022.
Foster has more than 3,100 flight hours in 28 aircraft and has been an instructor or mission commander in six different type/model/series. His personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards) and various campaign, service and unit awards.