Shaw Air Force Base became operational in 1941 and supports nearly 6,000 military and 1,000 civilian personnel. Shaw has some 3,500 acres on the main base, plus the 12,400-acre Poinsett Range, 7 miles south of Shaw AFB. The base is eight miles west of Sumter on US Highway 76/378.
A substantial portion of the Poinsett Range, associated with Shaw AFB, South Carolina, are wetlands, that are available for development to conduct new missions, only after obtaining the proper permits from the corps of engineers. Activities there would have to comply with the Clean Water Act's dredge-and-fill requirements that call for wetland losses to be mitigated through the creation of replacement wetlands, which can be prohibitively expensive. Much of the remaining lands on Poinsett Range are considered important habitat of the threatened red-cockaded woodpecker. During expansion of the range in the early 1990s, extensive biological surveys and negotiations were conducted to develop target locations that met Endangered Species Act requirements. Any future realignment or expansion of the targets would have to consider potential impacts to the woodpecker. Similar issues related to wetlands exist at the Grand Bay Range, associated with Moody AFB, Georgia.
Excellent working relationships with regulators from other environmental compliance programs helped Shaw obtain approval to designate the Poinsett Range as a regional open burn/open detonation facility for waste munitions. This effort will reduce costs for range environmental management responsibilities, and ultimately increase mission operations.
The Poinsett Weapons Range is a night capable, class A conventional range that encompasses 12,520 acres of which 427 acres are actual impact areas. The range is located approximately 7 miles south of Shaw AFB on State Highway 261. The range plays host to a diverse group of DOD aircraft. The range is open to the public from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday thru Thursday, and until 1 PM on Fridays. A grandstand area has been set up to allow safe viewing of combat aircraft in action as they deliver practice ordnance on four different targets.
The Poinsett Electronic Combat Range is dedicated to providing the best electronic combat on the East Coast. The normal hours of operation for the emitters are 0830-2200 Monday through Thursday.
The AN/MST-T1A or Multiple Threat Emitter System (MUTES), is the main system at the range and is located north of the control tower. It has 19 transmitters and is capable of producing dozens of threats. This system can present up to five threat signals simultaneously. The MUTES is an IFF tracker.
The AN/MST-T1(V) or Mini-Multiple Threat Emitter System (Mini-MUTES), is a smaller version of the MUTES and has up to 5 transmitters grouped in "threat families". There are 5 Mini-MUTES geographically separated from the range. Call the range for pedestal location and availability. The Mini-MUTES is an IFF tracker.
The AN/VPQ-1 or Tactical Radar Threat Generator (TRTG), is a small, highly mobile, J-Band AAA/SAM simulator. It is capable of deploying throughout the range and Central S.C. The TRTG is a skin tracking system and is susceptible to ECM.
The AN/MSR-T4 or Threat Reaction and Indicator System (TRAINS), is a system used to capture, record, and analyze ECM received from aircraft in response to the threats from the MUTES. It is an excellent tool for evaluating EWO effectiveness. The TRAINS is normally slaved to the MUTES for tracking purposes.
The AN/SPS-66 "NITNOY" is a small battery powered emitter used primarily for Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) training. It has been used successfully by AH64 aircrews as a highly mobile, low powered AAA.