The former Sahuarita Air Force Range (SAFR) Formerly Used Defense Site, or FUDS, is comprised of approximately 27,000 acres and is located in Pima County, Arizona, approximately 17 miles south of Tucson, Arizona. Though the city center is located several miles north of the site, the Tucson city boundary reaches the northern border of the former SAFR. The site is accessible from Interstate I-19 and U.S. Highway 89. The FUDS contains three Munitions Response Sites (MRSs) (FUDS project numbers J09AZ057601, J09AZ057602 and J09AZ057603) which are made up of range complexes containing two or more sub-ranges that were used by the Army Air Corps at Davis-Monthan Field from 1943 to 1958 for bombing and gunnery training.
Range Complex Number (No.) 1 MRS (FUDS J09AZ057601) consists of approximately 1,391 acres located in the northern portion of the former SAFR and contains Bombing Target No. 1, Bombing Target No. 4 and Air to Ground Range No. 1. Range Complex No. 2 MRS (FUDS J09AZ057602) is approximately 7,929 acres located in the central part of the former SAFR and consists of Air-to-Ground Range No. 2 and a unpiloted (O) radio controlled (Q) flying target (OQ) Range. Range Complex No. 3 MRS (FUDS J09AZ057603) is approximately 1,247 acres located in the southern portion of the former SAFR and consists of Bombing Target No. 2 and Bombing Target No. 3.
In April 1942, the Army Air Corps at Davis-Monthan Field announced the establishment of the SAFR. The site consisted of 27,046 acres resulting from leases from the City of Tucson, transfers from the Department of the Interior and acquisitions of easement acres. Improvements included 12 buildings, observations towers, a 5,540-foot runway, miscellaneous structures, utilities, an OQ range, four bombing targets and two air-to-ground targets. By January 1943, airmen began conducting high-altitude and night bombing training at the SAFR. In August 1948, approximately 2,000 acres were transferred back to the Department of the Interior and additional portions of the leases were terminated in 1948 and 1949. Acres acquired through easements and other leases were terminated in 1971 and 1972. The final leases were terminated by the end of March 1978.
The former SAFR was established as a pattern bombing range in support of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Most of the site is now owned by the State of Arizona. Pima County uses part of the site as a public park, and other portions of the site are local government-owned and privately-owned residential, agricultural and commercial/industrial areas. A small charter high school is located near Pima County’s Sahuarita Park at the northwest end of the former runway, which is located in Range Complex No. 2.
The former SAFR was established in 1994 as a FUDS. Since that time it has been determined that high explosives, practice munitions, and small arms ammunitions were used during Department of Defense use of the site from 1942 through 1978. Munitions debris found at the site has included practice bombs, projectiles, cartridges, links and other munitions debris. The Army Corps of Engineers is currently conducting a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study at this project area.