Military


Yakima Training Center

Yakima Training Center (YTC), also known as Yakima Firing Center (YFC), is an Army maneuver training area located in central Washington northeast of the town of Yakima and west of the Columbia River. Although designed for Army use, the main impact area (MIA) and Multi-Purpose Range Complex (MPRC) are approved for use for conventional and tactical weapons deliveries. See attachments 1 and 2. The MIA is used primarily for tank, artillery, and infantry gunnery. The MPRC is a tank and infantry firing range consisting of numerous remotely controlled moving and pop-up targets. A FAC (either AFAC or GFAC) must be present to provide positive control to flights desiring to expend at YTC. In this case, Yakima becomes a Class "B" range. See Chapter 5 for additional ground safety requirements. At discretion of Range Control, a FAC may not be required for orientation/range familiarization or other flights where no ordnance will be expended.

YTC is approximately 25 nautical miles by 21 nautical miles, including the impact area. The terrain is undulating and dominated by three east-west parallel ridges with large intervening valleys. Vegetation consists primarily of sagebrush, bitter brush, and bunch grasses. Average precipitation is six to nine inches per year, mostly snow. Winters are severe and summers are hot and dry. Temperatures range from below 0F in winter to above 100F in summer. The Yakima Firing Center is located in a small east-west oriented valley near the upper part of the Yakima Valley. Topography is complex with numerous minor valleys and ridges giving a variation in altitude of up to 2000 feet. This variation in local relief makes for a significant variation in winds and temperatures over short distances. This valley has a climate that is relatively dry and mild. Its weather is modified by the Cascade Mountains to the west and the Rocky Mountains to the east. Summers are dry and tend to be hot, and winters are cool with occasional light snowfall. Precipitation patterns follow that of the Fort Lewis area with a late fall and early winter maximum. However, due to the Cascades, total precipitation amounts are small. Summers are sunny with clear skies 80 percent to 85 percent of the time. Winds are generally light with speeds averaging less than 10 mph. Wind speeds of over 40 knots are only recorded about three times a year. A peak gust of 48 knots has been recorded at Yakima Municipal Airport. Prevailing wind direction is from the west in the winter and from the west-northwest during the summer. However, gusts up to 70 knots have been recorded at higher elevations in the firing center.

The acquisition of lands for an expansion of the Army's Yakima Training Center was authorized by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993 (Public Law 102-190) and the Military Construction Authorization Act of 1992 (Public Law 102-136). Within this expansion area lie 6,640 acres of BLM-managed public domain lands and an additional 3,090 acres of subsurface mineral estate. The Army filed an application for a withdrawal and reservation of these lands and minerals in May 1992.

Nineteen small parcels of public lands, aggregating 6,640 acres, are within the Army's acquisition area. These public lands represent approximately 10 percent of the expansion area. These lands have been managed by the BLM for recreation and grazing. One federal Endangered Species Act candidate plant, Erigonum codium (Umtanum Wild Buckwheat) has been documented on habitat adjacent to the Yakima Training Center (Hanford property) in Yakima County. Unsurveyed potential habitat occurs within the Yakima Training Center near the southern boundary. There are no threatened, endangered, or sensitive species known in the expansion area.

Recommended staging bases are: McChord AFB, Fairchild AFB, Grant County/Moses Lake (limited use), Gowan Field (Boise), and Mountain Home AFB. Portland International, Yakima Municipal, and Gray Army Airfield (Ft Lewis) have also been used successfully in the past.

YTC is manned with Army and contractor personnel at all times, but there is no scoring capability. The main range tower is located approximately four miles southwest of the southwest corner of the Main Impact Area, at 4640.5'N 12020.5'W. The MPRC tower is located immediately north of the MPRC, at the northeast corner of the impact area, at 4647.0'N 12009.0'W. The towers are painted red/orange and white and fly a large red flag when the range is active. At night, the towers have either red or white lighting and a flashing red light on a 50-foot pole.

The MIA, the MPRC, and associated extensions sit on a plain surrounded by higher terrain. Elevations in the MIA range from about 2000' MSL in the valley floors to about 3200' MSL on the southern (Umptanum) ridge. Terrain in the MPRC varies from about 2200' MSL in the southern portion to about 2700' MSL near the MPRC tower. Use caution for two prominent ridgelines to the north and south of the MIA which approximate the range boundaries in those directions. Further to the north and south, the Saddle Mountains rise to 3800' MSL, and Yakima Ridge rises to 4300' MSL, approximating the north and south boundaries of the entire training center. Targets in the MIA consist mainly of tanks, armored personnel carriers, and dumpsters located at random positions. There are nine moving (5, 10, or 15 mph) silhouetted (T-72, APC, Hind D) thermal-capable targets on 300 m tracks in the MPRC.

At YTC, rotary wing aircraft operations are conducted at or below 300' AGL simultaneously with fighter aircraft operating at or above 500' AGL. The FAC must monitor Range Control on 40.20FM whenever fighters are in the MOA or restricted area. Simultaneous operations of fighters and artillery fire are prohibited without coordination between the firing unit and a TACP. Specific target restrictions can be found in paragraph 3.1.4.4.

Fighter routes to and from the range are the responsibility of the flight lead. Preferred routing from the Seattle/Tacoma area has been coordinated with McChord RAPCON and Seattle ARTCC. Coordinate with Detachment 1, WA Air National Guard, if operating from airfields in the Seattle/Tacoma area. Seattle Center can provide IFR letdowns or pickups as low as approximately 5000' MSL depending on position. The nearest low altitude radar facility, Grant County Approach, is 48 miles northeast. Yakima Approach Control provides procedural (non-radar) control only. Yakima AAF is for helicopter use only and provides flight following only. If not cleared to enter R-6714, avoid the restricted area and proceed to holding at the VFR holding point, Wanapum Dam, at 4653.0'N 11958.0'W (11T XN 736958) (YKM 026/27). Do not overfly the retirement community east of the dam below 5000' AGL. If IFR, hold as directed by Air Traffic Control. When cleared into R-6714, avoid the MIA and MPRC until cleared to enter by the FAC or Range Control.

R-6714 A,B,C,D,F together essentially cover the complete range area and normally extend to 29,000' unless a higher altitude is requested. R-6714 G,H separately extend beyond the northern boundary of the range, G to 29,000' and H to 5500'. R-6714 E essentially overlies all previously mentioned R-6714 areas and runs from 29,000' to FL 550. See FLIP for exact descriptions of the restricted airspace. It is important to note that just because one part of R-6714 is active, other parts may not be. Consult daily NOTAMs for information regarding active airspace.

Ordnance delivery is permitted in the Main Impact Area (MIA), the Multipurpose Range Complex (MPRC), and the MPRC Extension. No ordnance delivery is permitted in the MPRC Addition. Other ranges may be used with prior coordination with Range Control and 1 ASOG. Normally a GFAC must be present to provide positive control to flights desiring to expend at YTC. An AFAC in lieu of a GFAC is permitted only when prior coordination with Range Control and orientation on the range have been accomplished. A FAC (AFAC or GFAC) may not be required for orientation/range familiarization flights, or other flights where no ordnance will be expended. However, scheduling and coordination with Range Control is still required, and approval is at the discretion of Range Control depending on the number and type of other users.

 



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