The Warlocks have a proud history dating back to 1963. Originally designated as the Naval Research Laboratory's (NRL) Flight Support Detachment, the detachment became renowned for the distinctive orange and white paint schemes which donned its aircraft. For forty years, the detachment served as NRL's airborne arm for science and technology (S&T) research, conducting worldwide detachments in support of the Navy, Department of Defense, and other government agencies that contribute to Naval Research. In 2004, faced with increasing complexity, operations tempo, and worldwide deployments, the Chief of Naval Operations established the detachment as a stand-alone shore activity, designating it as Scientific Development Squadron ONE (VXS) 1.
Today, the Warlocks endeavor to carry on the proud tradition of premier airborne S&T support left by our forbearers. Comprised of 12 officers, 56 enlisted sailors and five civilians, with four supporting contractors, the mission of the squadron is to operate and maintain uniquely configured NP-3, RC-12, and UV-18A aircraft in direct support of the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and NRL airborne research projects. Additionally, the squadron is the reporting custodian of 18 TigerShark unmanned aerial systems. It is a mission that the squadron has safely executed for 59 years.
In 2022, the Warlocks flew more than 220 sorties executing over 880 flight hours providing direct support to ONR, NRL, and the greater Naval Research Enterprise. The squadron completed S&T research detachments to Cuba, New Mexico, Florida, California, North Carolina, Greenland, and Iceland. In total, they supported ten S&T projects advancing new warfighter capabilities and expanding our knowledge of the maritime environment.
VXS-1 remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting the vast spectrum of airborne research missions required by the Naval Research Enterprise. It does so with the understanding that successful mission completion begins and ends with the people who make up the command and their dedication to risk analysis and safety. Accordingly, the squadron's stellar safety record of over 59 years and nearly 78,000 Class A mishap-free flight hours is a constant source of pride.