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Key West Complex

NAS Key West continues to provide the East Coast's finest air to air training venue. Extensive Warning Areas extend north, south and west of the installation. These operate with some environmental restrictions imposed during the 1990s, especially with respect to the Dry Tortugas/Fort Jefferson National Monument. Concern for the potential of sonic booms to damage the monument led to discussions between the Navy and NPS, and subsequently to restrictions on military flight activity, especially supersonic flight, over the monument. Nevertheless, the airspace is available, usable and well instrumented (much is equipped with a TACTS system, and it is well surveilled by FAA and DoN radar systems).

Key West OPAREA is a surface and subsurface operating area situated between the Florida Keys and Cuba. The OPAREA overlaps W-465A, W-465C, W-174B, C, D, and E, and extends from the surface to the ocean bottom. This area is used for various surface and subsurface operations.

The Key West complex is located over open-ocean in waters adjacent to the southwestern coast of Florida. The Key West Tactical Aircrew Combat Training System (TACTS) consists of the United States Air Force (USAF) equipment relocated from Homestead Air Reserve Station (ARS) to Naval Air Station (NAS) Key West after a hurricane severely damaged Homestead in 1992.

The complex is composed of the following instrumented ranges and target areas:

  • Marquesas "Patricia" Target
  • Key West TACTS

The following non-instrumented warning areas, Operating Area (OPAREA) and Air Traffic Control Assigned Airspace (ATCAA) are associated with this complex:

  • Warning Area 174 (W-174)
  • Warning Area 465 (W-465)
  • Key West OPAREA
  • Bonefish ATCAA

The Marquesas "Patricia" Target is an unattended/non-instrumented ship-hulk target located in W-174E, 29 NMI from the NAS Key West TACAN, Channel 29, bearing 270. The target is surrounded by a two NMI radius surface danger area. W-174E extends from the surface up to 10,000-feet. Target access is by boat. Air-to-surface exercises are authorized. Weapons delivery is not allowed. The target is a grounded ship hulk 306-feet in length and 37-feet beam. The target is visible only during low tide. The target does not protrude above the surface. The Marquesas "Patricia" Target is available during daylight hours for target runs and during night hours for searchlight runs. The target is not available on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.

The Key West TACTS is located in W-174 and in the Bonefish ATCAA. The range is divided into two operating areas, the north range and the south range, which can be combined for large operations. The TACTS range is normally scheduled from 50-feet above ground level to FL430. The TACTS provides aircrew training and performance evaluation in air-to-air combat. Ordnance expenditure is not authorized. Each range will normally be available for sixty-minute periods, five days a week, from0700 until 1700.

The Bonefish ATCAA is a special-use airspace extending W-174B. When used with the ACTS/TACTS it normally extends from 50-foot to FL430. This ATCAA is used to provide additional airspace for aircraft utilizing ACMR. Ordnance is not normally authorized in this area. Bonefish ATCAA is normally scheduled from 0700 to 1700 five days a week.

Warning Area 174 (W-174) is special-use airspace over open ocean bearing 065 through 355 from the NAS Key West TACAN, Channel 29. W-174 overlaps Key West OPAREA-Areas 1-4, 7-8, 12-19, 23-30, 34-41 and 46-52. W-174 is divided into seven areas, which extend from the surface up to FL700 in areas W-174A/B/C/D/F/G and from the surface up to FL3OO in area W-174E. Air-to-air gunnery is authorized only in W-174A. Air Combat Maneuvering (ACM), instrument training, GCI, and other exercises are scheduled as requested. W-174 is available continuously; however, it is normally scheduled from 0700 to 2400 daily.

Warning Area 465 (W-465) is special-use airspace over open-ocean located approximately 65 NMI east of the NAS Key West TACAN, Channel 29, bearing 090. W-465 overlaps Key West OPAREA-Areas 10, 11, 21, 22, 32, 33, 43, 44, 54 and 55. W-465 is divided into three areas. W-465A and W-465B are north of the 24th parallel and extend from the surface up to FL700. W-465C is the W-465 area south of the 24th parallel and extends from FL210 to FL700. W-465 is primarily scheduled for ACM and instrument training flights; however, exercises using conventional ordnance may be scheduled. W-465 is available continuously; however, it is normally scheduled from 0700 to 2400 daily.

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