There are at least five military bases that utilize Military Operation Areas (MOAs) and/or Military Training Routes (MTRs) in the Gila region. Each of the bases has multiple units with military aircraft assigned there. Below is a general description of the activity and aircraft originating from each base. While Holloman is the base for which the proposed Lobos MOA may be created, any regional base may potentially utilize the airspace. You can learn more about current military flight activity in the Gila Region below.
Holloman Air Force Base, Alamogordo, NM. (49th Wing)
The 54th Fighter Group out of Holloman AFB includes three fighter squadrons. This group operates the F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft and conducts initial upgrade training in the F-16 for pilots who complete undergraduate pilot training prior to reporting to Holloman AFB. Training plans include conducting up to 10,000 annual F-16 sorties to train about 300 pilots per year.
Arizona Air National Guard, Tucson, AZ.
Tucson International Airport hosts the Tucson Air National Guard Base (ANGB) and the 162nd Fighter Wing, the largest ANG fighter unit in the US. The 162nd Fighter Wing hosts and performs training for ANG and F-16 foreign military sales nations. Eighty F-16 Fighting Falcons are assigned to Tucshon ANGB, including eight F-16s belonging to the Iraqi Air Force and F-16s from the Dutch Air Force. The 162nd also flies four F-16s out of Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson for air defense of the southern border. Tucson ANGB F-16s regularly fly in MOAs that border the Gila National Forest.
Davis Monthan-Air Force Base, Tucson, AZ.
With both resident and tenant units assigned, Davis-Monthan may be the origin of several military aircraft that can be seen over the Gila. Both the EC-130H Compass Call and the HC-130J Combat King fly from Davis-Monthan AFB. In addition, Davis-Monthan is home to over eighty A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft. Units assigned there also utilize the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter. Although Davis Monthan maintains MOAs west of Tucson, they may be using military airspace over the Gila National Forest, as confirmed by multiple A-10C aircraft sightings and photo documentation in the fall of 2017.
Luke Air-Force Base, Phoenix, AZ.
Located west of Phoenix, Luke Air Force Base is home to the 56th Fighter Wing, the Air Force’s F-35 Lightning II training wing. The wing trains pilots in F-35A, the Air Force’s newest multi-role fighter aircraft. Luke flies primarily within MOAs clustered around the Phoenix area and Sonoran Desert.
Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, NM.
The 377th Air Base Wing is the host organization at Kirtland Air Force Base and supports nuclear readiness, non-conventional weapons development, missile technology, and several special operations units. Much of the aircraft utilizing Kirtland are Huey and Pave Hawk helicopters and the tilt-rotor craft, the Osprey. These helicopters train in MOAs in the northern part of the state. However, there are also four different C-130s that fly from Kirtland and may use Military Training Routes that traverse the Gila region.
Cannon Air Force Base, Clovis, NM.
The 27th Special Operations Wing at Cannon has over a dozen squadrons utilizing multiple types of military aircraft. Their fleet includes surveillance craft, such as the MQ-1 Predators, MQ-Reaper, and U-128; the rescue craft CV-22 Osprey, and large aircraft such as C-130s and a C-146.
Fort Bliss Army Base, El Paso, TX.
Fort Bliss is the largest installation in United States Army Forces Command and second-largest in the Army overall (the largest being White Sands Missile Range). It has an area of about 1,700 square miles (1.12 million acres) and provides the largest contiguous tract of restricted airspace in the continental U.S. (1,500 square miles) used for missile and artillery training and testing. Fort Bliss was just granted access to a Live Training Area that includes the Silver City area.