Established in February 2005, Scientific Development Squadron ONE (VXS-1), located at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland, provides airborne support for Science and Technology (S&T) and advanced technology development as directed by the Office of Naval Research and the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. Originally identified as the Operations and Maintenance Department attached to NAS Patuxent River, it was designated the Naval Research Flight Support Detachment from November 1962 until February 2005.
Many aircraft have been used for airborne experimentation and advanced technology projects, including the R-4D Gooneybird, the EC-121 Constellation, the S-2 Tracker, and the NP-3C Orion. When VXN-8 disestablished in September 1993, two additional research NP-3C aircraft were transferred to the detachment. VXS-1 currently operates two research-configured NP-3C Orions for long endurance, heavy-lift projects, and one RC-12 Guardrail, acquired to provide a light-lift airborne experimentation capability to the Naval Research Enterprise. The squadron also provides oversight of operations and maintenance in support of nine Scan Eagle Unmanned Aerial Systems (SE UAS) employed by Naval Sea Systems Command and the Naval Air Systems Command's MZ-3A Airship.
VXS-1 provides worldwide S&T and advanced technology development services to customers within the Naval Research Enterprise and around the Department of Defense. Most recently the Warlocks supported USAFRICOM and Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF) efforts in conjunction with the Africa Maritime Law Enforcement Program (AMLEP) 2011 & 2012, flying missions out of Senegal and the Cape Verde Islands while conducting systems development research for ONR Code 312 in the operational maritime patrol environment. As well, VXS-1 continues its ongoing support to Naval Research Laboratory's Code 7420 under the moniker Project PERSEUS, performing Multi-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (MBSAR) capabilities expansion research sponsored by the Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO). VXS-1 has a lasting relationship supporting Missile Defense Agency (MDA) programs that include land- and surface-based ballistic missile tracking and interceptor assets, as well as assets developed and operated by international defense partners. In March 2012, the command's SE UAS inventory expanded to include additional Block C and D platforms which support unmanned airborne research performed by Naval Surface Warfare Center based in Dahlgren, Virginia. A highlight of the year's exploits, VXS-1 performed a ceremonial ribbon-cutting for the Navy's only manned airship, the MZ-3A, in the spirit of the Centennial of Naval Aviation, unveiling the airship's new paint scheme onboard Joint Base Lakehurst, New Jersey. The MZ-3A has flown over 880 mishap-free flight hours in its conduct of numerous technology risk reduction projects for the DoD while assigned to VXS-1.
VXS-1 remains steadfast in its devotion to supporting the vast spectrum of airborne research missions required by the Naval Research Enterprise, proudly boasting a superior safety record as reflected by the command surpassing 66,000 flight hours without a mishap in over four decades of operations.