The threat posed by the German submarine fleet during World War II mandated a new program to rapidly develop Antisubmarine Warfare (ASW) weapons and tactics. To help defeat this formidable threat, the Air Antisubmarine Commander Air Force, Atlantic Fleet was established 1 April 1943 at Quonset Point, Rhode Island.
This command was charged with conducting tests to determine the effectiveness of standard equipment and developing tactics for ASW aircraft. To consolidate ASW evaluations of air and surface units, the Antisubmarine Development Detachment, comprised of Air and Surface Divisions, was established on 17 September 1943. By the end of the war, the Operational Development Force, U.S Atlantic Fleet was formed, to which the Antisubmarine Development Detachment (ASDEVLANT) reported for duty.
In 1946, the unit was renamed Antisubmarine Development Squadron ONE and was moved to Boca Chica Field, NAS Key West, Florida. The new squadron’s mission was to test and evaluate ASW and related equipment, determine the practical value of such material, and develop and coordinate ASW tactics using optimally developed equipment. First among the squadron’s important contributions to the Fleet were the scanning sonar, surface radar, helicopter dipping sonar, and hunter/killer ASW tactics.
The 1950's generated new aircraft and significant improvements that were tested at VX-1. The P-2Y Neptune, AD-1 Skyraider, S-2 Tracker, P-5 Marlin, HRP-1 Rescuer, and other aircraft were evaluated. Additional project evaluations included operational testing of sonobuoys, towed Magnetic Anomaly Detectors (MAD), improved sonar and radar equipment, and ASW mining techniques. Operational evaluations were extended to air photography, human factors in ASW, and target interpretations and recognition.
The long association with NAS Key West ended 15 September 1973 when the squadron changed homeports to its present location at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland.
Over the years, the squadron and its evaluation crews have received numerous awards which include the Navy Unit Commendations, Navy Expeditionary Medal, three Meritorious Unit Commendations, nine CNO Safety Awards, ten Silver Anchor Awards, ten Golden Anchor Awards for retention, and a variety of additional citations and commendations. VX-1 has also received the Bronze Hammer Awards for self-help, and the first Secretary of the Navy Energy Consumption Award.
Today, the VX-1 Pioneers continue their support of maritime operations with testing and evaluation of the Navy’s newest aircraft: the MH-60S, MH-60R, KC-130J, E-2D, MQ-8B, MQ-24, P-8A, MQ-4C, and E-6. VX-1 is also pushing the forefront of technology and tactical development in Surface Warfare (SUW), Airborne Mine Countermeasures (AMCM), extended range surface/land attack, and Electronic Warfare (EW).
As in their rich history, Air Test and Evaluation Squadron ONE will continue to operationally test and evaluate the news, most advanced technology for the finest Navy in the world.