Dare County Range (R-5314)
The Navy and Air Force share use of the Dare County Range, located along the eastern coast of North Carolina for air-to-surface target training. Dare County Range encompasses 46,000 acres of marshland, forest and open space, and contains targets for inert weapons delivery practice. The range is available for use from 8:00 a.m. to 12 midnight on Monday through Thursday, and from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. It is also available at other times and on Sunday with special prior scheduling. The number of target practice sorties is projected to be 6,557 for the Navy portion of the range, and 2,002 for the Air Force portion of the range in 1999.
This facility serves both Air Force and Navy users. Both services have requirements that, if graphed against time, exceed range capacity at various times in the training day. Both services rely on the range to support high visibility first line units and aircraft. The long standing request for additional high altitude airspace over the range has been met by designation of the Phelps MOA. However, Navy-Air Force cooperation in use of this airspace is still not ideal, with daily and long term disagreements in airspace access priority and conditions of use between Navy (principally Commander Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic) and Air Force (4 th Wing) users. Hatteras ATCAA overlies the range, and offers high altitude airspace when required.
Cooperation between the military services and the State of North Carolina is also described as intermittently strained and sporadic. This is also a long standing problem, exacerbated (according to interview comments) by the inadequate internal cooperation between DoD range and airspace communities, and by diverging requirements and uncoordinated basing decisions undertaken by the Air Force and naval services. These issues were described by one experienced participant as having degenerated into a classic "not my job" situation, despite widely publicized briefings to flag officers on the vulnerability of DoD's range assets.
Some site-specific issues continue to affect the Dare County area. FAA has suggested that a more accurate and timely picture of range operations would enhance its ability to serve low altitude civil users. Uncertainty about range status makes it impossible for the FAA to provide some approaches to the Manteo Airport; earlier attempts to provide radar coverage of the area in question apparently foundered on parochial issues. In a related issue, the FAA noted an excellent working relationship with the USMC ATC facility at MCAS Cherry Point, but did suggest that USMC assistance in managing traffic (specifically GPS approaches) at the Billy Mitchell and Ocracoke Airports would enhance ATC system efficiency at no discernible cost to military mission accomplishment.
The N.C. Division of Forest Resources Dare Bomb Range office (Stumpy Point Tower) is located on Hwy. 264 at Stumpy Point, NC.
Dare County Electronic Combat Range (ECR) is located along the Outer Banks of North Carolina, 50 miles west of Manteo in the Great Dismal Swamp. Located in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina, the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge was formed in 1974 when Union Camp Corporation donated 49,100 acres of forested wetlands to The Nature Conservancy. This land was then conveyed to the Department of the Interior, and the Refuge officially established. The Refuge consists of over 107,000 acres, with Lake Drummond, a 3,100 acre natural lake in the center of the Swamp. The entire Swamp has been logged at least once, and many areas have been burned by periodic wildfires. The Great Dismal has been drastically altered by humans over the past two centuries. Agricultural, commercial, and residential development destroyed much of the Swamp, so that the remaining portion within and around the Refuge represents less than half of the original size of the Swamp.
Dare County Range was constructed 1965 on land leased from WV Pulp and Paper until 1973, then from First Colony Farms. Exclusive Federal Jurisdiction was transferred to the Air Force in 1978. The joint Air Force/Navy range utilized by 10 units. The largest users are Seymour Johnson AFB & NAS Oceana.
On 09 November 1997, Grand Bay civilian CE employee struck by 20mm round-AF did not possess a valid PGU-27 footprint. Afterwards, the Air Force initiated a "wall to wall" footprint and range operations review. The US-government waived sovereign immunity under the Federal Tort Claims Act. Bombing and use of explosives is an "ultra hazardous activity," and as such, the government is held to a strict liability standard
Dare County Range was the site of a comprehensive study using multiple data-gathering techniques including radar. The product was a Bird Avoidance Model specific to Dare County.
Since 1978, 41,200 acres have been included in NC Game Lands Program. A new plan for public access includes placing gates in specific locations so that areas unsafe for the public can be closed off as needed. In addition, the plan includes the establishment of a Dare County Range Council Natural Resource Committee to be comprised of military representatives, state wildlife officials and local hunters. This is an attempt to bring all of the groups together so that there is a clear understanding of each group's needs and concerns.
The Navy has identified four Navy and Marine Corps air stations as potential receiving sites for the Super Hornet: Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Beaufort, South Carolina; MCAS Cherry Point, Havelock, North Carolina; Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana, Virginia Beach, Virginia; and NAS Meridian, Mississippi. As part of the EIS process, the Navy is investigating the possibility of establishing an outlying landing field (OLF) that would support the Field Carrier Landing Practice (FCLP) of the Super Hornet squadrons. The OLF is under study for basing options associated with MCAS Beaufort, MCAS Cherry Point, and NAS Oceana.
Stationing the F/A-18E/F at MCAS Cherry Point, Havelock, North Carolina would also entail training at Bombing Target (BT)-9 (Brant Island Shoal), Pamlico County, North Carolina, BT-11 (Piney Island), Carteret County, North Carolina, and Dare County Training Range, North Carolina. Stationing the FA-18E/F at NAS Oceana would also entail training at Bombing Target (BT)-9 (Brant Island Shoal), Pamlico County, North Carolina, BT-11 (Piney Island), Carteret County, North Carolina, and Dare County Training Range, North Carolina.
Navy Dare County Range is an instrumented, all-weather range located in R-5314 near Manteo, North Carolina, approximately 70 NMI south of the NAS Oceana TACAN, Channel 113. Dare County Range is a joint United States Navy/United States Air Force (USN/USAF) weapons range and is divided into nine subareas. Access to the range is by surfaced highway. Access to the targets is by dirt road. Floor/ceiling are as follows;
- R-5314A,D,E Surface to FL205
- R-5314B,C&F 500-feet AGL to FL205
- R-5314G 200-feet AGL to 15,000-feet
- R-5314H 500-feet AGL to 10,000-feet
- R-5314J 1000-feet AGL to 6000-feet
Air-to-ground exercises, including loft deliveries, are authorized. Due to a fire hazard, ordnance is restricted to inert ordnance and ordnance which uses marking charges only. Strafing is restricted to ball ammunition.
The following targets are available.
- Navy Loft. This target consists of a pile of scrap metal surrounded by two concentric rings of 500-feet and 1500-foot radii. The target is augmented by radar reflectors and is scored by a WISS, or a WANG calculator for manual rake scoring. This target is used for practice special weapons deliveries. The target has distance-to-go markers every 6000-feet from 30,000-feet to 6000-feet on the run-in-line.
- Short Bull. This target is a 40-foot by 12-foot armored personnel carrier. The Short Bull is scored by the WISS or the WANG calculator.
- Navy East Conventional Bull. This target consists of an armored personnel carrier shell centered in a circle of 250-foot radius. This target is augmented with lights for night bombing/rocket exercises. The Navy East Conventional Bull is scored by the WISS or the WANG calculator.
- Minimum Altitude/Lay-down Target. This target consists of metal lockers and tires, painted international orange, arranged in the shape of a horseshoe. This target is visually scored using distance markers located every five meters.
- Strafing Target. This target consists of three strafing panels which are scored by a DA-3H Strafe Scoring System.
- Laser Target. This target is a 50-foot by 50-foot billboard with a painted crosshair. This target is located 180 degrees magnetic, 6000-feet from nuclear bull. A laser sensor is positioned in the center of the crosshair. Continuous automatic scoring is available on frequency 359.5 Mhz. Cassette tape scoring results are available with a 15-minute advanced notice. This target provides no-drop Laser Guided Bomb (LGB) training.
- Large Area Targets (LAT). This target configuration consists of multiple targets or buildings over a large area as representative of the combat village. The LAT is located approximately 10,500-feet south of the center tower. The Large Scale Target Sensor System (LSTSS) provides the capability to monitor this large target area for simulated delivery of laser guided ordnance with play-back and debrief capability. The LAT is for no-drop LGB training.
- Three Instrumented Multispectral Cues (IMC), IOC: 8/97. These IMC are replicas of T-72 tanks. Each replica contains heat generators and radar reflectors to realistically simulate both the IR and radar signatures of the T-72.
R-5314 is available Monday through Thursday from 0800 to 2300 and Friday from 0800 to 1600. No ordnance may be released unless the range is manned.
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