Yuma Proving Ground (USAYPG)
US Army Yuma Proving Ground (USAYPG) is a general-purpose desert environmental test facility. YPG is located 26 miles north of Yuma, Arizona on U.S. Hwy 95. This installation covers nearly 1,400 square miles and offers climate and terrain similar to major desert areas worldwide. YPG is primarily involved in developmental and operational test of artillery weapons and ammunition, aircraft armament systems, mobility equipment, and air delivery systems.
The Headquarters Support Troop (HST) is the only unit on YPG that is actually assigned to the installation. All other units are only attached for duty here. HST has approximately 150 personnel assigned and they work in numerous duty sections throughout the installation. The U.S. Army Health Clinic and the Military Free Fall School, part of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center, are tenant organizations. The personnel working in the Health Clinic on YPG are actually assigned to the Weed Army Community Hospital, Ft. Irwin, CA, which is in Region 9. The Military Freefall School is a company from the Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, NC, attached to YPG. Their mission is to train soldiers from all branches of service in Military Freefall operations and procedures. YPG is also the host for the annual winter training of the U.S. Army Parachute Team, the Golden Knights, and the British Royal Air Force (RAF) precision parachute team, the Falcons.
The Light Armored Vehicle Test Directorate is a Marine Corps detachment that is attached to YPG to conduct tests on light armored vehicles. Their facilities are located approximately 20 miles north of YPG on Hwy 95.
Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) is located adjacent to the Colorado River in the Sonora Desert of Southwest Arizona, one of the hottest and driest areas in the nation. Larger in size than the state of Rhode Island, YPG encompasses more than 1,300 square miles. Yuma Proving Ground is 25 miles north of the city of Yuma, Arizona. It is approximately 180 miles east of San Diego, California, and approximately 185 miles southwest of Phoenix, Arizona.
Yuma Proving Ground has an annual average of 350 sunny days, the air is sparkling clear and the average rainfall amounts to about three inches. This, plus the proving ground's excellent test facilities and staff of engineers, scientists and technicians, combine to offer to our customers an outstanding opportunity to test a large variety of materiel and equipment. An average of 100 tests are ongoing at any given time.
YPG is generally U-shaped. Its boundaries extend 58 miles north and south and about 52 miles east and west. YPG also has limited access rights over and in the KOFA Game Refuge, located in the center of the "U".
Modern military equipment testing in Yuma can be traced back to 1943, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened the Yuma Test Branch. The test site was located on the Colorado River below Imperial Dam for the purpose of testing new bridge designs, boats, vehicles, and well-drilling equipment for the Allied Armies of the Second World War. Supervisors of the dam regulated the flow of water, which provided ideal conditions for testing bridges and boats. Much of the test branch construction was performed by Italian prisoners of war.
The area was also a portion of General George Patton's California-Arizona Maneuver Area, used to train soldiers for service in World War II's North African desert campaigns.
The Yuma Test Branch was closed on January 1, 1950, and the facilities turned over to the Corps of Engineers. One year later the facility was reactivated as Yuma Test Station under the control of the Sixth Army. The principal mission of the station was to conduct desert environmental tests of military equipment. In 1962, the station was reassigned to the U.S. Army Materiel Command and placed under the immediate control of the Test and Evaluation Command.
The name was changed from Yuma Test Station to Yuma Proving Ground in 1963. On June 19, 1974, YPG was designated a Department of Defense Major Range and Test Facility, becoming one of 26 ranges and test facilities so named.
Yuma Proving Ground is part of the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command and is one of only two general purpose proving grounds within the command. Specific proving ground capabilities include testing of: artillery; mortars; mines; ground and aircraft weapons; target acquisition and fire control systems; wheeled and tracked vehicles; and air delivery material, equipment and techniques.
Graze Range is a live fire facility that supports sizes of M2 .50 cal. and below. The range area will support platoon and squad sized live fire exercises with both dismounted soldiers and stationary vehicles. This facility is equipped with standard silhouette targetry and "mock-ups" for simulated Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT), Counter Terrorism, and Operations Other Than War (OOTW) exercises.
Prospect Square is an impact area for high explosive munitions. Since unexploded munitions may be present, it is not authorized for mounted or dismounted maneuvers.
Tow Town is a live fire facility for "inert" light, medium and heavy anti-armor weapons (TOW, Dragon, and AT-4).
The Cibola Mounted Nav Course is a 55 kilometer mounted (wheeled vehicles) land navigation and orienteering course. It covers a variety of desert terrain features and can accommodate squad and platoon movement; the course contains 10 points/locations. While the lane conforms to existing trails and paths, it is suggested that only high mobility vehicles with 4-wheel drive be used. Radio communications for emergency purposes are essential.
The USA Yuma Proving Ground Dismounted Land Navigation Course can be broken down into three sub-courses. Red course is 21,705 meters long with 28 points over varied terrain featuring mixed difficulty levels. Sub-courses are named; Green, Blue, and Yellow. Blue course is 10,120 meters long with 13 points. This course is over both level terrain and mountains. Points are not necessarily located on predominant terrain features. It is recommended for navigators with advanced skills. Green course is 9,270 meters long with 12 points. This course is over relatively level terrain, and points are generally on predominant terrain features. It is recommended for navigators with intermediate skills. Yellow course is 4,505 meters with six points. This course is over relatively level terrain, and points are not necessarily on predominant terrain. It is recommended for navigators with beginning skills. Combining the Blue and Yellow courses is 14,635 meters long with 19 points. This features varied terrain and difficulty levels.
The Yuma Tactical Road-March Route is a 60 kilometer cross-country corridor that covers many types of terrain. This course is designed for wheeled vehicles, and is ideal for squad, platoon or battalion sized tactical road marches. The course is confined to established roads, paths, and washes but there are a variety of routes to take within the lane.
The aviation mission is supported by Laguna Army Airfield with two runways, one at 5,150 feet and the other at 6,000 feet with ramp, hangar, laboratory, and office space dedicated to Cibola Range customers. Castle Dome Heliport provides helicopter testers with a dedicated facility that includes 22,000 square feet of hangar space and 8,000 square feet of office space in one building. This facility has served as the center for AH-56 Cheyenne and AH-64 Apache developmental testing, and is available today for major test programs.
Laguna Army Airfield (LAAF) has two runways. The first runs east-west and is 6,000 feet by 100 feet, has two runways. The second runs north-south and is 6,050 feet by 150 feet. The airfield is C-5 capable. LAAF will support airfield seizure scenarios. Phillips DZ is for personnel air drops. Phillips is 676 x 1156 meters and the altitude is 15,000 for HALO, 10,000 for HAHO and 800-1,500 for static line. Sidewinder DZ is a multi-purpose drop zone. It is 2,560 meters in diameter and the altitude is 10k for guided loads, 15k for CDS/heavy drops, 18k for high velocity CDS and 25k for personnel. Roadrunner DZ is for hazardous material air drops. It is 2,050x915 meters and the altitude is below 5,000 feet above ground level (AGL). In the northeast corner lies Roadrunner Extraction Zone (EZ) for hazardous and non-hazardous material and equipment (size is 30.5 x 305 meters and the altitude is low parachute extraction). Los Angeles DZ is a multi-purpose drop zone. It is 3,670 meters in diameter and the altitude is as coordinated with Range Control. Tyson DZ is a multi-purpose drop zone. It is 750 meters in diameter and the altitude is as coordinated with Range Control. Adjacent is a C-17 dirt air strip that is 5,150 x 90 feet. La Posa/Robie DZ is a multi-purpose drop zone. It is 1,000 x 7,000 meters and the altitude is as coordinated with Range Control.
Blaisdell railhead facility is located approximately 10 miles south of Yuma Proving Ground. The availability of this asset can result in significant savings of training dollars in transportation and maintenance costs. Like any other rail facility, only qualified personnel may load, secure, and unload equipment. If incoming units do not have rail-load qualified personnel, these qualified personnel are available at YPG and may be contracted for assistance.
USAYPG has future enhancements planned in an effort to provide maximum training opportunities for units during rotations here. Complete training packages are available to provide extensive cost savings to visiting training units. The Tire City small arms range will facilitate, both squad and platoon live fire scenarios in a Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) environment. Tire City will support individual and crew served weapons fire from both dismounted and stationary mounted engagements. The Rappel Tower is a full featured tower that will support beginning, intermediate and advanced rappel operations. The tower will be equipped with a vertical wall, inclined wall, simulated aircraft skids, and mount for Fast Rope Infiltration/Ex-filtration System (FRIES). The Confidence Course will be a fully stationed confidence/obstacle course that will support both squad and platoon team movement. Individual obstacles are present, but the course requires a joint/team effort from squad sized elements for successful completion.
KOFA DOD's Premier Artillery Test Range (named for the King of Arizona Mine within its boundaries) offers customers a 75-kilometer firing range coupled with up to 24-hour-per-day/7-day-per-week control of airspace to an unlimited altitude. The KOFA Artillery Complex is an integrated facility for open air testing for tanks, artillery, mortars, mines, and small missiles. The size and diversity of the range complex provide the capability to conduct many tests simultaneously without compromising safety. While test scheduling is tightly controlled, it remains highly flexible and responsive to customer requests, as does the range support services contractor.
The KOFA range complex supports testing through 21 fixed, permanent firing positions and over 310 surveyed firing points. Using 13 improved and dedicated explosive and nonexplosive ("clean") impact fields makes recovery of projectiles, components, and fuzes relatively safe and greatly reduces the amount of unexploded ordinance deposited on the ranges. Ammunition is prepared in onsite ammunition plants to meet customer needs. Conditioning boxes adjacent to gun positions or firing positions provides rapid turn around for increased firing rates.
The KOFA range operators are a busy group. They fired over 33,000 large-caliber rounds in 1999, and processed 25,000 range clearances. There are four gun positions for firing direct fire weapons, and a tank accuracy range with full instrumentation, controlled direct-fire space to 6 kilometers, virtual targeting, acoustic scoring, and the capability to test large- and small-caliber systems simultaneously on adjacent lines of fire. KOFA is licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to test depleted uranium munitions.
The Army's Crusader was tested from a prepared position on the west end of KOFA Range to provide maximum safety and access to impact fields. The large environmental simulator located there allows "drive in and shoot" capability for up to 8-inch caliber weapons with firing at quadrant elevations of up to 60 degrees, with the capability for conditioning vehicles and munitions from -60o F to +160o F. Portable and permanent conditioning chambers at the firing sites are also available to perform ammunition safety certification testing to MIL-STD levels. The vertical shoot facility allows projectiles to be fired straight up and recovered in soft sand, allowing study of fuzes and components.
YPG also boasts a new Mine/Countermine complex. Mines, countermines, demolitions, and unexploded ordinance testing is performed at the new complex, and at the Smart Weapons Test Range. The complex offers fully instrumented, remote controlled cells in which mines may be detonated to test fuzing and self-destruct mechanisms. The minefield adjacent to the site allows mines and countermine equipment to be tested, mines to be monitored by remote video cameras, and recovery of munitions as needed. The Smart Weapons Test Complex is built in an isolated section of the range to ensure freedom from noise, vibration, and interference, and to provide extended safety fans for advanced "smart" munitions systems. It is also part of a solar power research project and provides solar generated electricity to the test tracks and instrumentation.
YPG's aviation testing takes place over the Cibola Range, considered DOD's most advanced aviation test range. It provides 840 square miles of controlled unrestricted airspace supporting the Army's aviation mission since 1971. The 18 by 40-mile range is uniquely suited for testing of aviation systems and munitions, armed helicopters, air delivery systems, and precision navigation systems. Parachute testing and training take place at all altitudes, up to 35,000 feet, with no delays due to crowding and rarely due to bad weather. Cibola Range is fully instrumented to accommodate virtually any requirement for aviation and airdrop testing and is also uniquely configured to support armament testing, including combat helicopters. The instrumentation and data processing systems can be quickly customized to automate collection and analysis of data to minimize the cost of testing. Cibola Range is available to all DOD military services, other Government agencies, commercial industry, and foreign countries.
Yuma's ranges are equipped with modern instruments including six laser radars, three tracking radars, mobile optical tracking mounts, a GPS-based multivehicle tracking system, and a GPS satellite reference station.
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