The mission of Air Test & Evaluation Squadron Two Four (UX-24) is to conduct research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).
UX-24 conducts RDT&E on Group 1-5 UAS, including platforms such as RQ-21 Blackjack, RQ-23 Tigershark, RQ-26 Aerostar, MQ-8 Fire Scout, and MQ-25 Stingray.
Located at NAS Patuxent River’s Webster Outlying Field (WOLF), the squadron takes advantage of WOLF’s unique capabilities including:
Two 5,000-foot runways
Direct entry into restricted operating areas; no Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) coordination needed
Exclusive-use areas available for small UAS
Proximity to water for UAS maritime operations
Dedicated UAS operations center
UX-24’s team is comprised of experts in the unmanned aircraft test community from engineers and air vehicle operators to United States Naval Test Pilot School graduates. In addition to supporting programs of record, the team also supports warfighter Urgent Needs Statements as well as test demands from sister services, other government agencies and research institutions. To streamline UAS operations and test, UX-24 maintains the following:
A “Blanket” Category 3 Interim Flight Clearance that covers all government-owned Group 1 & 2 UAS operating with UX-24 at Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) ranges for both land- and ship-based operations.
Close working relationship with Atlantic Test Range Safety for rapid assessment and mitigation of potential UAS hazards.
Airspace scheduling expertise to meet the customer’s needs from concurrent UAS operations to exclusive-use airspace.
Frequency spectrum management and/or oversight.
Personnel reporting to, inquiring about or visiting UX-24 at Webster Field may reach the unit via the Administrative Office at (301) 995-8040.
Cmdr. Mike Mabrey
UX-24 Commanding Officer
A native Missourian, Commander Mabrey graduated from the Naval Academy in 2005 with an Aerospace Engineering degree. Prior to attending flight training, he earned multiple graduate degrees researching international defense procurement at the University of Cambridge. Following his time in England, he reported to flight training and earned his Wings of Gold in October 2009. He then reported to VFA-106 for initial training in the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.
In October 2010, LCDR Mabrey joined the World Famous Pukin’ Dogs (VFA-143) flying the F/A-18E. He deployed twice onboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) and led missions in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM and maritime security operations in the Arabian Gulf. In November 2013, he reported to the VFA-106 and served as an F/A-18A-F instructor pilot before attending the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (TPS). After graduating from TPS in June 2017, he reported to VX-23 where he conducted F/A-18A-F, EA-18G, and T-45C flight tests and was the Director of Safety and Standardization and Operations Officer. Prior to reporting to UX-24, he was the speechwriter for the Chief of Naval Operation. As the Chief Test Pilot at UX-24, he has supported extraordinary test teams in the planning and conduct of flight tests on the MQ-8, MQ-9, RQ-21, RQ-23, RQ-26, and a variety of small UAS and Counter-UAS systems.
CDR Mabrey has flown over 1,900 hours in 30 different types of fixed and rotary wing manned and unmanned aircraft. He credits any personal, service, and unit awards to the exceptional teammates with whom he has proudly served.
Cmdr. Tyler Hurst
UX-24 Chief Test Pilot
A native of Bakersfield, CA, Commander Tyler Hurst graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Following commissioning, he completed flight training at NAS Kingsville, TX, and was designated a Naval Aviator in 2006. After earning his wings he completed an instructor tour at the VT-21 “Redhawks” before transferring to NAS Lemoore and training in the F/A-18E Super Hornet. His first Fleet tour was with the “Argonauts” of VFA-147 where he completed deployments on the USS JOHN C. STENNIS and USS RONALD REAGAN in support of 7th Fleet operations, and Operations NEW DAWN and ENDURING FREEDOM in the 5th Fleet AOR. In 2011, CDR Hurst was selected to attend the United States Naval Test Pilot School and Naval Postgraduate School as part of the TPS Cooperative program. At the completion of his training he was assigned to the VX-23 “Salty Dogs” Airborne Electronic Attack and Carrier Suitability Departments. In 2016, he was assigned to the VFA-192 World Famous Golden Dragons as a Department Head where he completed two 7th Fleet deployments aboard the USS CARL VINSON. Upon completion of his Department Head tour in 2018, CDR Hurst returned to VX-23 as the Carrier Suitability Department Head and redesignated as an Aerospace Engineering Duty Officer. He has flown more than 2,500 hours in 34 different aircraft T/M/S and has over 600 carrier arrested landings.
Commander Hurst’s personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (3), Navy Achievement Medal and various campaign and unit awards.
Senior Chief Christian N. Vardeleon
UX-24 Command Senior Chief
Command Senior Chief Christian N. Vardeleon was born in Manila, Philippines and was raised in San Diego, CA. He began his naval career on January 18, 2000 at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, IL followed by completion of Hospital Corpsman “A” School in Great Lakes, IL, Field Medical Service School in Camp Pendleton, CA, Respiratory Therapy Technician “C” School in Fort Sam Houston, TX and San Diego, CA, Command Career Counselor School in San Diego, CA and Recruit Division Commander “C” School in Great Lakes, IL.
His sea duty assignments include 1st Force Service Support Group, 1st Marine Logistics Group, 1st Marine Division, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked onboard the USS Essex (LHD 2), III Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group and III Marine Expeditionary Force.
His shore duty assignments were Naval Medical Center San Diego, Naval Hospital Twentynine Palms, Naval Hospital Yokosuka, Naval Hospital Bremerton and Recruit Training Command.
Command Senior Chief Vardeleon was selected to Chief Petty Officer in 2014, Senior Chief Petty Officer in 2021 and served as the Command Senior Enlisted Leader at III Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group (O-6 Command) and Acting Command Master Chief at III Marine Expeditionary Force (O-9 Command). In 2023, he was selected as the Command Senior Chief for Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Two Four (UX-24). He is a graduate of the Command Master Chief and Chief of the Boat Course Class 140, Senior Enlisted Academy Class 248 Brown Group, Executive Medical Department Enlisted Course and Patient Administration Course.
His deployments/exercises include USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) KERNEL BLITZ, OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM II, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (COBRA GOLD, TALISMAN SABER, BALIKATAN), OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM (ISAF Operation) and BALIKATAN 21 USINDOPACOM Staff Exercise.
Command Senior Chief Vardeleon’s qualifications include the Enlisted Fleet Marine Force Warfare Specialist (Ground Combat Element and Combat Service Support Element), Enlisted Information Warfare Specialist and Master Training Specialist. His personal decorations include Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (Five awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (Seven awards), Combat Action Ribbon, as well as various campaign and unit awards.
David W. Roberts
Chief Test Engineer
Dave Roberts is a Chief Test Engineer with NAVAIR’s Flight Test Engineering Department. Mr. Roberts is a senior flight test technical specialist providing oversight, risk management, and test plan and report approval authority for Science & Technology maturation/demonstration, experimentation, and program of record Unmanned Aircraft System test programs.
In this position since 2009, he helped stand-up the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Directorate (now UX-24) at Webster Field under Naval Test Wing Atlantic. Prior to working as the Chief Test Engineer for UAS test programs, Mr. Roberts was the Chief Test Engineer at the Atlantic Test Range for 6 years, starting in 2003, working both manned and unmanned test programs; during this period he also helped oversee off-site testing and consulted on various special projects. He previously conducted aircraft/stores compatibility testing for 12 years on rotary and fixed wing aircraft, supervising a branch of 24 engineers and technicians for 6 of the 12 years; during this time conducting store separation testing, Dave helped pioneer test methodology for air-launched UAVs from C-12, P-3, and C-130 aircraft.
For his first two years at NAVAIR, Dave was a project engineer testing aircraft ground support equipment both shore based and at sea. Prior to working for the Naval Air Systems Command, Mr. Roberts worked for the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Command on the M1A1 tank test program as a cooperative education student trainee at Aberdeen Proving Ground. He has 34 years of experience with the U.S. Department of Defense in test and evaluation engineering. Mr. Roberts was also a part-time lecturer with Johns Hopkins University for 7 years, teaching undergraduate Fluid Mechanics in the Mechanical Engineering department.
Mr. Roberts has represented NAVAIR at national and international symposiums by presenting technical papers at SFTE, IEEE, ITEA, JOCG, and NATO conferences. An active member of the Patuxent River SFTE chapter since 1999, he has presented papers at international symposiums in the U.S. and Europe. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from Virginia Tech in 1989 and a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Florida Tech in 1995.
UX-24 Points of Contact
UX-24 Administrative Office: (301) 995-8040