Townsend Bombing Range
Savannah Combat Readiness Training Center
The Townsend Bombing Range in McIntosh County, Ga. belongs to MCAS Beaufort. The 5,182-acre Townsend Range is used routinely by all services to fine-tune the bombing and air combat skills of fighter pilots. The range is important to Georgia's economy because it is used by Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta and Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, as well as by the Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station in South Carolina. The Townsend Range, part of the Georgia Air Guard's Combat Readiness Training Center in Savannah directs more that 3,000 training flights each year.
The US Navy originally owned the bombing range when it still had Naval Air Station Glynco in Brunswick. The Navy closed the range in 1972 when the air station closed. The site reopened in 1981. It is owned by the U. S. Marine Corps and is operated by the Georgia Air National Guard.
Townsend Range is an instrumented range located 44 NMI southwest of Savannah TACAN, Channel 74. This range is located in area R-3007 and within the Gator Low MOA. R-3007 is divided into five areas with altitude restrictions as follows: (A) from 1500-feet AGL to 5000-feet MSL; (B,) from 500-feet AGL to 5000-feet MSL; (C) from 100-feet AGL to 13,000-feet MSL; (D) from 1200-feet AGL to 13,000-feet MSL; and (E) from surface to 13,000-feet MSL. Townsend Range is used for air-to-ground bombing, rocket, and strafing exercises. Tracers/flares are not authorized. Additional training aids are available from the scheduling activity. These include Antiaircraft Artillery (AAA) and SAM threat simulators, Smokey Sam and Smokey Flak simulators. Visual and electronic threats may be deployed off-site to support exercises. Chaff is authorized. Townsend Range is available Monday through Friday 0800-1700, All other times by Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) with at least 24-hour notice.
The following targets are available:
- Conventional bull's-eye. Concentric circles of 23 meters and 46 meters. Laser use approved. Authorized ordnance is limited to MK 76, BDU 33, MK 106, and 2.75-inch rockets
- SAM site. Simulated acquisition radar (SA-6/11), Laser use approved. Authorized ordnance is limited to MK 76, BDU 33, MK 106, and 2.75-inch rockets
- Command post. Surrounded by vehicles and a convoy. Laser use approved. Authorized ordnance is limited to MK 76, BDU 33, and MK106.
- Heavyweight Target. Heavyweight ordnance is approved for this target. Laser use approved. Authorized ordnance is limited to MK 76, BDU 33, MK 106, inert bombs and 30mm.
- High Angle Strafe Targets. Visually scored orange and white, two-meter square box surrounded by sand to highlight target. Laser use is not authorized.
- Moving Target. Tethered vehicle traveling a 23 meter circular path. BDU-33, MK 76 and MK 106 are authorized.
- Strafe Targets. Three targets scored by the Arcata scoring system. No tracers are allowed.
- Other "No Drop" targets such as Infrared (IR) convoys, Electro-Optical (EO) convoy, radar reflectors, simulated laser targets, electronic and moving targets are available. One vehicle target has a laser target scoring system which is similar to a LES (AN/UEQ-T1). An AN/TPT-5 threat emitter, "Smokey Sam" and "Smokey Flak" Air Burst Simulator are available.
The annual Georgia Turkey Shoot is held every May at Townsend Range. The daylong competition tested the bombing and strafing accuracy of the military's top fighter pilots and is one of only a handful of similar bombing competitions in the country. This event is sponsored by the Governor's Military Affairs Coordinating Committee (MACC). Participants recover their aircraft at the Savannah Combat Readiness Training Center for a MACC sponsored social and awards ceremony. Overnight accommodations are made for participants who desire to RTB. The food and accommodations are complimentary. The Derby allows up to 15 flights to compete. Each flight may sign up for a 20 minute range period on a first come first serve basis with the Townsend Range Scheduler. Awards are given for the best first pass Tactical performance, the best overall individual performance for all bombing events, the best Team score and the best strafe performance.
Air National Guard flight controllers directed fighters of many different kinds to the Townsend Range target area where each drop inert bombs for accuracy at simulated military targets. Inert bombs contain a small spotting charge that explodes upon impact helping to score the run. Highly sophisticated scoring equipment is then able to locate the proximity of the bomb's impact on the target. Following several runs at the target, pilots drop to treetop level to strafe large "bullseye" targets set up on the range. At the end of the competition, the "Turkey Shoot" winner is the unit accumulating the most points.
On April 1, 1999 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) listed the flatwoods salamander, a species currently found in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. A species is designated as threatened when it is likely to become endangered throughout all or a significant portion of its range within the foreseeable future. More than half of the known flatwoods salamander populations occur on federal lands, including the Apalachicola National Forest, the Osceola National Forest, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, Eglin Air Force Base, Hurlburt Field, and Naval Air Station Whiting Field's Holley Out-lying Field in Florida; Fort Stewart Military Installation and Townsend Bombing Range in Georgia; and Francis Marion National Forest in South Carolina. Other federal agencies whose activities might affect the salamander include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Highway Commission.
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