Here’s What Units Will Move to Davis-Monthan to Join AFSOC’s New Power Projection Wing

The Air Force unveiled plans for the new 492nd Power Projection Wing that will replace the A-10 mission at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., on Aug. 2, describing for the first time which units will be included.

The new wing will be part of Air Force Special Operations Command and draw units from around the country. The 492nd Special Operations Wing will be re-missioned and re-designated, providing the headquarters element; it will relocate to Arizona from Hurlburt Field, Fla., where it is has led AFSOC’s training and education efforts. 

The 492nd will be AFSOC’s third Power Projection Wing, but the Air Force did not immediately say what other wings will get that designation. The new term is meant to encompass all of AFSOC’s mission capabilities—strike, mobility, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, and air/ground coordination—so the command can “regionally focus each power projection wing on a geographic combatant commander,” according to a release

“The transition will also allow AFSOC to further diversify its locations to protect against natural disasters by ensuring it can maintain its ability to respond to president-directed missions on very tight timelines,” the release stated. 

Units coming to Davis-Monthan include: 

  • One MC-130J Commando II squadron from Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. 
  • One AO-1K Armed Overwatch squadron from Hurlburt Field, Fla., 
  • The 21st Special Tactics Squadron from Pope Army Airfield, N.C. 
  • The 22nd Special Tactics Squadron from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.  
  • The 492nd Theater Air Operations Squadron will activate at Duke Field, Fla., and transfer
The AT-802U Sky Warden aircraft can be easily broken down and reassembled for transport. Air Tractor AT-802U/Twitter

Davis-Monthan is losing most of its A-10 Thunderbolts, as three squadrons inactivate and send their 78 A-10s to the boneyard: 

  • The 47th Fighter Squadron 
  • The 354th Fighter Squadron 
  • The 357th Fighter Squadron  

In addition to the 492nd PPW, Davis-Monthan will also gain five HH-60W helicopters from the 34th Weapons Squadron and 88th Test and Evaluation Squadron, which will relocate from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.. 

The moves will occur slowly over five years and pending an environmental impact analysis. 

The Air Force first revealed plans for the 492nd Power Projection Wing in its 2024 budget documents, and Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. provided further details during a congressional hearing in April.

“Their access to the ranges that are there in Arizona and in the western United States will increase their training opportunity,” Brown said. 

For years, Arizona lawmakers in Congress have been some of the fiercest advocates for the A-10, repeatedly blocking Air Force attempts to retire the venerable close air support aircraft. The arrival of the 492nd and other missions, however, has seemingly softened that opposition. 

This spring, Sens. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), along with Reps. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) and Juan Ciscomani (R-Ariz.), released a joint letter saying they were “encouraged by the Air Force’s intention to bring new, durable flying missions” to Davis-Monthan, noting that the base’s population will hold steady at roughly 9,600 Airmen and civilians. 

U.S. Air Force Airmen inspect an A-10 Thunderbolt II from the 924th Fighter Group during the 355th Maintenance Group’s 4th quarter crew chief competition at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Jan. 6, 2023. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Paige Weldon