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Cherry Point Airspace Complex

The airspace and range complex managed by MCAS Cherry Point includes four Restricted Areas and Hatteras MOA, and the Neuse ATCAA. In addition, MCAS Cherry Point units are the primary users of offshore airspace (particularly W-122 areas) controlled by FACSFAC VACAPES. Much of this airspace is served by a TACTS system, with debriefing capabilities aboard MCAS Cherry Point. In addition, the Mid-Atlantic Electronic Warfare Range (MAEWR) offers an excellent EW training environment adjacent to the target complexes. Restricted airspace associated with ground targets is scheduled on an exclusive use basis, while other areas, used for setup and maneuvers, are scheduled on a concurrent use basis.

The Cherry Point area and eastern North Carolina in general have sustained considerable population growth over the last ten years. To some extent, the area's character has changed, with vacation and retirement development supplementing and in some cases supplanting agriculture as the primary economic factor. This has had an effect on local community acceptance issues; however to a greater extent, the issue appears to have affected the working relation and shared vision between the State of North Carolina and the various DoD users (USMC, US Navy and US Air Force) in the eastern part of the state.

These issues have dominated local airspace discussions for nearly two decades, as MCAS Cherry Point users have suffered unprecedented delays in acquiring additional SUA. Some of the requested areas have been "under review" for over a decade. The proposed Cherry MOA would add additional maneuvering SUA between MCAS Cherry Point and the Dare County Range, while the proposed Core MOA would offer enhanced "over-the-beach" airspace, in meeting traditional USMC training requirements for combined arms amphibious operations.

The original Cherry MOA airspace proposal wasr review by the Marine Corps as of late 2001, representatives from the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, the FAA and various other government organizations with an environmental interest. With the passage of time and doctrinal evolution, the proposal as initially structured will not satisfy the current mission of the Marine Corps. These mission changes are reflected in the revised package and are being reviewed prior to formal submission.

Terminal operations at MCAS Cherry Point are unique, reflecting both the operating characteristics of the AV-8B and the unique runway layout (four runways, radiating from a central "pad" area. Most pattern capacity is taken by locally assigned aircraft, although the installation does permit FCLP use by Navy aircraft when capacity and USMC traffic permit. It is anticipated that significant growth in East Coast-based fighter/attack aircraft would require additional use of these facilities.

While considerable attention has been paid to ROV/UAV usage in the western United States, MCAS Cherry Point has quietly gone about operating these vehicles in its airspace after thorough coordination with the FAA. The program is deemed a success, and its coordination process worthy of emulation.

The Cherry Point OPAREA is a surface and subsurface operating area off the coasts of North and South Carolina and overlaps W-122 and extends from surface to ocean bottom. Surface, surface-to-air and subsurface exercises. The Cherry Point complex is located in eastern North Carolina and the adjacent inland and coastal waters. The complex consists of the following targets and instrumented ranges:

  • Cherry Point Tactical Aircrew Combat Training System (TACTS) Range
  • Mid-Atlantic Electronic Warfare Range (MAEWR)
  • BT-3 Brown's Island Impact Area (R-5306D)
  • G-10 Impact Area (R-5306D)
  • K-2 Impact Area (R-5306D)
  • BT-9 Brant Shoals Target (R-5306A)
  • BT-11 Piney Island Range (R-5306A)
  • Outlying Field (OLF) Atlantic

Restricted, warning, Military Operating Areas (MOA), Air Traffic Control Assigned Airspace (ATCAA) and Operating Area (OPAREA) associated with this complex are:

  • Warning Area 122 (W-122)
  • Cherry Point OPAREA
  • R-5306C
  • Hatteras F MOA
  • Neuse ATCAA

The Cherry Point Tactical Aircrew Combat Training System (TACTS) Range is within restricted area R-5306A. R-5306A extends from the surface to 17,999 MSL. Limited tracking capability exists in the Pamlico MOA and W-122 area offshore for Air Combat Maneuvering (ACM). The TACTS Debrief Facility (Bldg 4280) is located at MCAS Cherry Point. The Cherry Point TACTS provides aircrew training and performance evaluation in ACM, air-to-ground weapons delivery, EW, including Anti-Radiation Missile (ARM) training. The MAEWR collocated with TACTS, provides a mix of manned and unmanned EW threat emitters and shoulder-fired infrared (IR) threats. EW threat sites are located at BT-11 and OLF Atlantic, both within R-5306A.

The BT-9 and BT-11 complex provides a wide variety of targets that are TACTS-scoreable. The BT-11 complex also offers laser certified targets, moving land and sea targets, and WISS scoring for inert weapons delivery.

The TACTS range is normally available five days a week, from 0800 until 1800. With adequate advance notice it is possible to schedule TACTS beyond these hours.

Warning Area 122 (W-122) is special-use airspace located in the Cherry Point OPAREA approximately 30 NMI southeast of the MCAS Cherry Point TACAN, Channel 75. W-122 extends from the surface to unlimited altitude. W-122 is used for air-to-air gunnery and missiles, supersonic ACM training, and surface-to-air gunnery and missile exercises. Conventional ordnance is authorized.

Restricted Area 5306C (R-5306C) is special use airspace southwest of Cherry Point, extending from 1200 AGL to 17,999 MSL. The instrument holding and approach patterns for MCAS Cherry Point and Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field Boque Field are within portions of R-5306C. This 93 square NMI area is primarily an approach and maneuvering area used in conjunction with R-5306D/G-10 operations. No ordnance is authorized in this area.

Hatteras F MOA is located southwest of R-5306D and extends from 3000-feet MSL, to 15,000-feet MSL. This area is primarily an aircraft maneuvering area used in conjunction with R-5306D/G-10.

Neuse ATCAA is airspace which overlies R-5306A/C/D and the area between R-5306A and R-5306C from FL 180 to FL 230. Neuse ATCAA is an aircraft maneuvering area which is primarily used for aerial refueling.

BT-3 Brown's Island Impact Area (R-5306D)

BT-3 Impact Area is on the eastern shore of MCB Camp Lejeune, located in R-5306D, approximately 25 Nautical Miles (NMI) southwest of the MCAS Cherry Point TACAN, Channel 75, bearing 225. R-5306D extends from the surface up to, but not including, FL180. Live artillery and air-to-ground Close Air Support (CAS) exercises using conventional ordnance are authorized. MK 76 and MK 80 series inert bombs are authorized. Fixed wing aircraft are authorized 2.75-inch rockets, 20mm, 25mm, 30mm strafe at 20 or greater dive angle. Helicopters are authorized 2.75-inch rockets, 7.62mm, .50 caliber, 20mm, 25mm, and 30mm. Offset bombing using Radar Beacon, Forward Air Control (RABFAC) is authorized. Targets include tanks, motor vehicles, and improvised targets. Night lighting of the targets by means of MK 24/MK 45 air-delivered flares or artillery/mortar illumination is authorized. Scoring is accomplished by either a Tactical Air Control Party (TACP), Tactical Air Controller (Airborne) (TAC(A), or an artillery Forward Observer (FO).

G-10 Impact Area (R-5306D)

The G-10 Impact Area is a non-instrumented range at MCB Camp Lejeune located in R-5306D, approximately 30 NMI southwest of the MCAS Cherry Point TACAN, Channel 75, bearing 230. R-5306D extends from the surface up to, but not including, FL180. Access is by four wheel drive vehicle or helicopter. Live artillery and air-to-ground CAS exercises using conventional ordnance are authorized. Only MK 76 series practice and MK 80 series inert bombs are authorized for air exercises. Fixed wing aircraft are also authorized 2.75-inch rockets, 20mm, 25mm, and 30mm strafe delivered at 20 or greater dive angle. Helicopters are authorized 7.62mm, 2.75-inch rockets and 20mm delivered at 20 or greater dive angle. Offset bombing using the RABFAC beacon is authorized. G-10 is a certified safe laser-designation target. Targets consist of truck bodies, tanks, and improvised targets. Night lighting by means of MK 24 or MK 45 air delivered flares or artillery/mortar illumination is authorized.

K-2 Impact Area (R-5306D)

The K-2 Impact Area is a non-instrumented range at MCB Camp Lejeune located in R-5306D approximately 35 NMI southwest of the MCAS Cherry Point TACAN, Channel 76, bearing 235. R-5306D extends from the surface up to, but not including, FL180. Access to K-2 is by four wheel drive vehicle, helicopter or surface vessel. Live artillery and air-to-ground CAS exercises using conventional ordnance are authorized. Only MK 76 series practice and MK 80 series inert bombs are authorized for air exercises. Helicopters are authorized 7.62mm. Offset bombing using the RABFAC beacon is authorized. K-2 is certified safe for ground laser systems. Targets include vehicle hulks, and improvised targets. Night lighting of targets by means of MK 24/MK 45 air delivered flares or artillery/mortar illumination is authorized.



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