HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
Lt. Col. Sean Siddiqui feels the 586th Flight Test Squadron at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, is uniquely positioned to guide the way in effectuating the “Accelerate Change or Lose” directive previously issued by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. C.Q. Brown.
“All we do is thrive in changing technological paradigms as a function of what we test,” Siddiqui said. “Therefore, we naturally facilitate an ecosystem and culture of adaptability in producing our test products. We are very good at existing at the edge of the unknown and closing the gap between the capability and the user at the speed of relevance.”
And Siddiqui is ready to lead the charge.
Siddiqui assumed command of the 586 FLTS during a July 15 change of command ceremony at Holloman AFB.
“I’m stoked to be here,” he said. “This place is awesome.”
As commander of the 586 FLTS, Siddiqui will oversee its mission to conduct and enable agile weapons, avionics and survivability testing for the joint warfighter. The squadron, which provides flight test services for Department of Defense and commercial customers across the full spectrum of program size and complexity, is part of the 704th Test Group headquartered at Holloman. The 704 TG is a unit of Arnold Engineering Development Complex, headquartered at Arnold Air Force Base, Tennessee.
Prior to his latest assignment, Siddiqui served as the director of operations for the 419th Flight Test Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, California. There, he facilitated the execution of more than $5 billion in programs for the B-1 Lancer, B-2 Spirit and B-52 Stratofortress to include all DOD air-to-ground hypersonic missile testing in coordination with AEDC and the Hypersonic Combined Test Force.
He also oversaw the DOD’s only C-12 Huron training unit. This effort produced more than three dozen C-12 pilots for worldwide embassy and distinguished visitor support.
This is not Siddiqui’s first time at Holloman. He spent some time there in 2006 for fighter centrifuge training.
Siddiqui said it was his interest in World War II and admiration for the sacrifices of that generation that compelled him to join the Air Force.
“I was mostly attracted to the stories of the 8th Air Force in Europe and the bomber and fighter mission of the Allied air offensive,” he said. “It totally captured my imagination as a kid. I wanted to fly and serve my country, do my part for it.”
Siddiqui previously served in the operational Air Force as a B-52 instructor pilot at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. He went from the 96th Bomb Squadron at Barksdale to flying operational test in the 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron, also located at Barksdale. He joined Test Pilot School in 2014. Siddiqui holds a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering and master’s degrees in industrial engineering, flight test, and military operational arts and sciences.
He said the knowledge he has obtained through his experience and education will greatly benefit him as he transitions into his new role.
“I’ve had lots of experience solving hard problems with little time and not enough resources by getting folks to work together,” he said. “I’m good at forming ‘Voltron’ on issues.”
Siddiqui said his primary goal as commander is to make the 586 FLTS a leader in experimentation and prototyping.
“The 586th exists in a unique operating space,” he said. “It’s not a test squadron that serves specific aircraft systems as in programs of record like Edwards AFB that delivers fielded capabilities under the AFTC [Air Force Test Center] banner. It’s also the only flying organization in AEDC, but it does not test AEDC’s typical engineering work in open-air test to field a capability.
“This means the 586th exists between two worlds – AEDC’s research mission and AFTC’s capability fielding mission. The 586th is really an ecosystem that expands across the Air Force and DOD to conduct research and prototyping with multiple organizations like AFWERX, SDPE [Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation] and Blue Horizons, to name a few. Some of our products are capabilities, but not always.”
Siddiqui will lean on those around him to help make his goal a reality.
“I trust the expertise of our personnel to plan, execute and report on experimentation and prototyping at the speed of relevance,” he said.