Udairi Training Range
Kuwait is often referred to as being "the NTC" of the Middle East. Camp Udairi, Kuwait is located about 10 miles from Iraq. Udairi Training range, located only 15 miles from the Iraqi border, is about 45 miles northwest of Kuwait City and 30 miles south of the Iraqi border. The Udairi [Udayri] Range is a training facility about 20 kilometers by 27 kilometers in size. The range has been open since at least 1994, when it was reported that US B-52 and B-1B's took part in live-fire exercises at the facility.
Once at the Kabal tactical assembly area, soldiers wrap up their pre-combat inspections before moving about 15 kilometers to the Udairi Range to zero, boresight and calibrate their weapons.
Udairi is regularly used by Coalition forces for training exercises involving both live and inert ordnance, including Close Air Support Exercises (CASEX). CASEX are held quarterly for the purpose of practicing air operations against hostile ground targets in close proximity to friendly forces. The exercises involve friendly ground and airborne forces directing friendly fighter aircraft on attacks on simulated enemy targets. Four observation posts on the Udairi Range are used to control exercises. Observation Post 10, the accident location, is the only post that controls live fire events. Various targets, including tanks and tactical vehicles, are located randomly in impact areas throughout the range. In addition to CASEX, the range is used for other live fire exercises.
Udairi's ranges are different from any other ranges in the world. Compared to the Udairi, the Army's National Training Center at Fort Irwin is a theme park, with its rock formations, scrub brush, hills and valleys. Udairi is absolutely flat. The combined arms live fire exercise [CALFEX] conducted at Udairi Range is definitely a unique experience. Rarely is a training area and the ammunition made available at the Task Force level for execution of a live fire exercise in the US. The CALFEX integrated mechanized infantry, armor, artillery, engineers, other TF supportive units and close air support; bringing a lot of firepower on Udairi Range. Against a simulated enemy force, scouts reconn areas, artillery fire and provide smoke screens, engineers breach obstacles, CAS plummets bombs and mechanized units seize and hold key terrain.
There are many different ranges at Udairi. The ranges are just one big sand box with a lot less administrative or artificial restriction. Individual units run their own ranges at Udairi, but it's the range controller who makes sure they run it safely. When soldiers at Camp Doha and the Kabal go to the range, they use live ammunition. These joint training and combined arms live fire exercises are conducted under combat conditions with two exceptions. There's no opposing force. And the other is range control. If unexploded ordnance is found on the range, range control coordinates for an explosive ordnance disposal team to come and take care of the problem. Range control is also responsible for organizing all medical evacuations. Range Control also performs inspections to make sure all other range policies are being followed.
The "Valley of Death Boneyard" at the Udairi Range is the area used to store many of the vehicles destroyed by DU munitions during the Gulf War.
A 12 March 2001 F/A-18 training accident in Kuwait killed six coalition service members and injured seven others. A Navy F/A-18 Hornet from the USS Harry S. Truman in the Arabian Gulf dropped three 500-pound gravity bombs near Observation Post 10 on the Al Udairi Test Range. The ordnance struck near the observation post manned by the forward air controllers responsible for directing the strikes. The military personnel were in a small structure and tactical vehicles. Five of those killed were US service members; the sixth was a New Zealand military officer.
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