46th Test Group

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46th Test Group
Air Force Materiel Command.png
8.5 Mach rocket sled 030430.jpg
Active 1970-2012
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role Aerospace Research
Part of Air Force Materiel Command
Decorations Air Force Outstanding Unit Award[1]
46th Test Group emblem[note 1] 46th Test Group - Emblem.png
6585th Test Group emblem[note 2] 46 TG.jpg

The 46th Test Group was a United States Air Force unit active from 1992 to 2012. It was last active with 46th Test Wing, at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. The 46th Test Group was stationed as a tenant unit at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, throughout its existence. It was inactivated on 18 July 2012, being replaced by the 96th Test Group in an administrative reorganization.


The Group served as the Air Force’s liaison with the United States Army White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), interfacing with the U.S. Army and Test Center organizations. In addition, the unit provided test sponsorship for all Air Force programs testing on WSMR, assisted test program customers in preparing the documentation necessary to execute tests as well as obtaining logistic and test support resources. The 46 TG also scheduled airspace for all Air Force tests and Air Force tactical training on WSMR.

On August 1, 1970, per Air Force Systems Command Special Order G-94, the Air Force Missile Development Center at Holloman AFB was inactivated and the Tactical Air Command assumed host responsibilities for the facility. Associate units and programs transferred to other locations within Air Force Systems Command. The inactivation resulted in the loss of more than 450 military and 570 civilian positions.

The Test & Evaluation activities that remained were the Central Inertial Guidance Test Facility (CIGTF), the High Speed Test Track, the Radar Target Scatter Facility (RATSCAT), and the Target Drone Facility. These organizations were combined to form the nucleus of a Holloman AFB tenant organization, the 6585th Test Group

In 1976, AFSWC was disestablished, and the 6585th Test Group at Holloman became part of the 3246th Test Wing, Armament Development and Test Center (ADTC) at Eglin AFB, FL. The Group was inactivated on 30 September 1992 as part of a reorganization, with personnel and equipment being assigned to the new 46th Test Group at Holloman, upon activation it was transferred the 6585th's personnel, equipment and mission.

It was inactivated as a result of an organizational realignment at Eglin AFB, being replaced at Holloman by the new 96th Test Group.[citation needed]


  • Designated as the 6585th Test Group
Activated on 1 August 1970
Redesignated 46th Test Group on 1 October 1992
Inactivated on 18 July 2012



  • 46th Guidance Test Squadron (later 746th Test Squadron), 8 September 1993 – 18 July 2012
Also known as the Central Inertial Guidance Test Facility (CIGTF), the 746 TS is the DOD´s designated Responsible Test Organization (RTO) chartered to test and evaluate GPS user equipment (UE) and integrated GPS based guidance and navigation systems. In support of GPS testing, the 746th TS also manages the tri-service GPS Test Center of Expertise (COE) composed of Army, Navy, and Air Force test agencies chartered to support GPS test and evaluation initiatives.
  • 846th Test Squadron, 1 October 1994 – 18 July 2012
Also known as the Holloman High Speed Test Track (HHSTT), the 846 TS performed rocket testing on the aerospace test facility for a wide variety of test hardware in a near operational environment. Specific advantages are: the test items are recovered for post-run analysis; the sled provides sustained linear and dynamic acceleration and velocity with superimposed, tailored vibration; and the sled track provides extremely accurate test article positioning and time correlation. Repeated tests of the same test item provide an independent evaluation of modifications made during a development program.
  • National Radar Cross Section Test Facility
The National Radar Cross Section Test Facility (NRTF) is the DoD facility for RCS testing. Formerly known as RATSCAT, which began measuring radar scattering in 1963, it comprises two complementary sites, Mainsite and RATSCAT Advanced Measurement System (RAMS). Assigned to the U.S. Air Force’s 781st Test Squadron, NRTF is located west of Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico in a rolling gypsum region of WSMR. NRTF specializes in the RCS characterization of full-scale, aerodynamic vehicles and antenna radiation pattern development. Due to its remote, secure environment, it can also accommodate customers requiring specialized testing of developmental electronics systems. NRTF products directly support weapon system development programs, vulnerability assessment studies, and mission planning efforts throughout the DoD.
  • 6586th Test Squadron (later 586th Test Squadron, 586th Flight Test Squadron), 1 August 1970 – 18 July 2012
Performed flight tests of the most advanced aircraft systems in the world. The squadron has aircraft parking and administration facilities to provide a high level of security to its customers. It owns and operates two highly modified AT-38B aircraft equipped to support a wide variety of flight test operations. Capabilities of the squadron’s AT-38Bs include: chaff, flares, GPS navigation and precision data recording and telemetry, ECM, Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation (ACMI) pods, and multiple format photographic coverage (including helmet-mounted video cameras). The squadron owns and operates a highly modified C-12J (Beech 1900 Airliner) with multiple antenna and pod configurations for guidance/navigation, avionics, and electronics testing. The 586 FLTS has access to both full-scale and sub-scale unmanned aerial targets as well as one of the world’s most elaborate ground impact ranges. The 586th Flight Test Squadron is the world’s leading authority on overland firings of the AMRAAM, the Air Force’s primary medium range air-to-air missile.


  • AT-38 Talon, 1991–2012
  • C-12, 1997–2012


  1. ^ The group uses the 46th Test Wing emblem with the group designation on the scroll while assigned to the wing. Air Force Instruction 84-105, Organizational Lineage, Honors and Heraldry, 19 March 2013, para 3.3.3
  2. ^ Approved for the 6585th Group. The 46th Group may continue to use this emblem if active and not assigned to the 46th Wing. Air Force Instruction 84-105, Organizational Lineage, Honors and Heraldry, 19 March 2013, para 3.3.3
  1. ^ "Air Force Personnel Services: Unit Awards". Air Force Personnel Center. Retrieved December 21, 2016.  (search)


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

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