THE 492ND SPECIAL OPERATIONS WING IS CALLING DAVIS MONTHAN AFB HOME
An emphasis on aerial combat is the future of not only the U.S. Air Force (USAF) but the American Armed Forces as a whole. For better, or likely worse, the geopolitical climate is changing and so too are America’s adversaries. With such changes come the necessary updates to the way we fight our rivals and enemies. This position is where the 492nd Power Projection Wing finds itself. A quick way for America to respond through aerial combat to militaristic threats we might deal with in the not-so-distant future. Now, tangible moves are being made to see these changes come to fruition. At the heart of it all is Davis-Monthan AFB.
The 492nd Power Projection Wing Is the Future of Fast Response Aerial Warfare
Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) was reorganized into three power projection wings in 2022, including the 1st Special Operations Wing in Florida, the 27th SOW in New Mexico, and the 492nd Special Operations Wing, which has found a home at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
These "power projection wings" will bring together various special operations missions and be affiliated with combatant commands overseas to build regional expertise. The move is part of AFSOC's effort to adapt after years of war in U.S. Central Command, integrating nontraditional fields like cyber and streamlining ground coordination troops.
At Davis-Monthan AFB, the creation of a new wing marks a new phase in air-to-ground combat as the A-10C Thunderbolt II attack planes are set to be retired. The 492nd Special Operations Wing's relocation will involve several units from different locations and lead to the closure of A-10C squadrons at Davis-Monthan AFB.
The goal is to protect special operations forces from natural disasters and facilitate overseas deployment. Training units for the AC-130J Ghostrider gunship and U-28 Draco reconnaissance plane will be moved to different bases.
The C-146 transport aircraft training unit's future is yet to be decided. Other AFSOC support staff training will fall under the new Air Commando Development Center at Hurlburt Field in Okaloosa County.
Calling the Grand Canyon State Home
AFSOC is reimagining its operations after years of war in U.S. Central Command, integrating nontraditional fields like cyber and streamlining ground coordination troops. At Davis-Monthan AFB, a new wing is being established as the A-10C Thunderbolt II attack planes are set to be retired.
The 492nd Special Operations Wing was to relocate from Florida and incorporate various units at Davis-Monthan, including an OA-1K armed overwatch squadron, MC-130J transport squadrons, special tactics squadrons, theater air operations squadron, combat search-and-rescue training unit, and more. Three A-10C squadrons at Davis-Monthan will be closed.
The move to Arizona aims to protect special operations forces from natural disasters and facilitate overseas deployment. Davis-Monthan's proximity to vast training range space in Arizona is another advantage.
The 1st and 27th SOWs will remain largely unchanged under the new approach, operating diverse platforms like the CV-22 Osprey, MQ-9 Reaper drone, and AC-130J Ghostrider gunship.
The U-28 fleet at the 27th SOW will be replaced with OA-1K armed overwatch planes. As for the 492nd's current training missions, they will be distributed elsewhere. A final decision on moving the wing to Arizona will follow an environmental study, but it looks as if things will proceed.
What Is Next After the 492nd Power Projection Wing Decision?
Speculating is always a complicated, sometimes dangerous game. What happens next is still in development. However, what is clear, is that the USAF continues to have many areas to assess in order to address evolving threats and readiness.
It’s not that we have glaring issues, but it’s more about the nature of the beast that is warfare. National security needs change. How we fight against our enemies continues to evolve. The movement surrounding the 492nd Power Projection Wing is direct proof of these themes and a reminder of the commitment to excellence the American Armed Forces continues to exude.
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