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46th Bombardment Group


46th Bombardment Group

46th Test Wing

Active 1941—1944, 1975-1982, 1992-2012
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Type Developmental Test and Evaluation
Part of Air Force Material Command
Motto Custos Libertate (Guardians of Liberty) 1942-1944
Support 1975-1983
Proof by Trial 1993-2012
Decorations AFOUA

The 46th Test Wing (46 TW) is an inactive wing of the United States Air Force last based at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. The wing's 46th Test Group was a tenant unit at Holloman AFB, NM.


The 46 TW executed developmental test and evaluation for Air Force air-delivered weapons, navigation, and guidance systems, command and control systems and Air Force special operations systems.[1]


World War II

The wing was activated as the 46th Bombardment Group (Light) and in 1941, equipped with Douglas A-20 Havoc aircraft.[2] Its operational squadrons were the 50th,[3] 51st,[4] and 53d Bombardment Squadrons,[5] and the 8th Reconnaissance Squadron.[6] Shortly after activation in 1941, the 8th Reconnaissance Sq mission changed and it became the 87th Bombardment Squadron.[6] The 46th participated in maneuvers, including desert maneuvers,[7] and flew anti-submarine warfare patrol and search missions over the Gulf of Mexico in early 1942.[2] It also served as an operational training unit,[2] which involved the use of an oversized parent unit to provide cadres for "satellite groups."[8] In late 1943 the group mission changed to replacement training of individual pilots and aircrews (RTU).[2][8] Just before disbanding, the group began to convert to North American B-25 Mitchells.[3][4][5][6] In 1944, the group was disbanded and its personnel, equipment and functions transferred to the 333d AAF Base Unit (Replacement Training Unit, Light Bombardment)[9] at Morris Field in a major reorganization of the Army Air Forces in which RTUs were disbanded and training activities given to base units.[10]

Cold War

In March 1975, 46th Aerospace Defense Wing was activated to replace the 4600th Air Base Wing at Peterson Field, where it took over the personnel, equipment, and of the 4600th and its mission of administering facilities of North American Air Defense Command (NORAD), Aerospace Defense Command (ADC), and Army Air Defense Command (ARADCOM) located on Ent Air Force Base, Peterson Air Force Base, and Cheyenne Mountain Complex, plus various other nearby off-base facilities,[11] which the 4600th wing had been performing from Ent AFB, then from Peterson Field since April 1958.[12] Despite its name, the wing was a "disguised" air base wing.[13] Although the provision of administrative and logistics support was the wing's primary mission, its flying training squadron served NORAD and ADC mission requirements and provided flying training for cadets at the United States Air Force Academy until 1 October 1979,[11] when ADC was inactivated and the wing transferred to the 4th Air Division of Strategic Air Command.[14] In April 1983, the 46th was inactivated and replaced by the 1st Space Wing.[15]

Test Operations

The 46th was redesignated as the 46th Test Wing and replaced the 3246th Test Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida in October 1992.[14] It designed and performed flight and ground developmental tests with uniquely modified aircraft and facilities for conventional weapons and electronic combat systems.[14] The wing also supported other Department of Defense components and numerous allied nations during test and exercises and managed the largest test range in the free world.[14] Weapons systems recently tested by the wing include the Small Diameter Bomb, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System, Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, Target Void Sensing Fuze, Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM), and the Trident Intercontinental Ballistic Missile.[16] The wing worked closely with the 53d Wing of Air Combat Command, which performed operational testing of many of the same weapons systems.[16]

In February 2012, the wing relocated its UH-1N helicopters from Eglin to Duke Field in anticipation of a 250 percent increase in helicopter developmental test programs.[17] The wing inactivated on 18 July 2012, with its mission transferring to the 96th Air Base Wing, which was redesignated the 96th Test Wing.[18]


Bombardment Group

  • Constituted as the 46th Bombardment Group (Light) on 20 November 1940[2]
Activated on 15 January 1941[2]
Disbanded on 1 May 1944[2]
  • Reconstituted and consolidated with the 46th Aerospace Defense Wing as the 46th Aerospace Defense Wing on 31 January 1984[14]


  • Constituted as the 46th Aerospace Defense Wing on 10 February 1975[11]
Activated on 15 March 1975[11]
Inactivated on 1 April 1983[11]
  • Consolidated with the 46th Bombardment Group (Light) on 31 January 1984[14]
  • Redesignated 46th Test Wing on 24 September 1992[14]
Activated on 1 October 1992.[14]
Inactivated on 18 July 2012




  • 46th Logistics Group (later 46th Maintenance Group): ca. 8 September 1993 - 18 July 2012
  • 46th Operations Group: 8 September 1993 – 18 July 2012[19]
  • 46th Range Group 11 May 2006 – 18 July 2012
  • 46th Test Group: 1 October 1992 - 18 July 2012[20]


Aircraft and Launch Vehicles Operated


American Theater
Campaign: Antisubmarine

Unit Emblems




  • D769.85.C21 B598 2008

External links

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