DOD to study impact of Alaska training range expansion

December 8, 2010

The Department of Defense has announced that it will develop an environmental impact statement on expanding the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex (JPARC) in Alaska.

Pilots are encouraged to attend a series of public meetings to be held Jan. 13 through 26, 2011, and to provide written comments. AOPA will participate in the scoping meetings, and will also submit written comments detailing concerns and proposed solutions. 

The military uses the JPARC to conduct testing and unit-level training, and to support joint exercises and mission rehearsals. The JPARC was originally created to support Cold War weapons, tactics, and techniques. According to the DOD, it requires modification to meet the current training requirements for forces and exercises in the region.

Four alternatives have been drafted that would expand the Fox 3 Military Operations Area (MOA) and establish a new adjacent Paxton MOA. This layout is seen providing the vertical and horizontal airspace structure needed to accommodate training exercises.

The Army and Air Force are proposing to establish a realistic air and ground training environment to allow for live ordnance delivery via one of three alternatives that would expand some existing restricted airspace.

The Army proposes to establish a new restricted area near Delta Junction to support joint combined arms live fire (JCALF) training over the Battle Area Complex (BAX).

Three alternatives are under consideration to expand times of use of the JPARC special-use airspace. Expansion of use would occur during two or three months yearly. In some cases this may already be available as an “other times by notam” not requiring charting changes.

Additional restricted airspace is under consideration, as is seeking a certificate of authorization from the FAA to fly unmanned aerial vehicles from Eielson AFB into existing restricted airspace.

AOPA supports the U.S. military and recognizes its need to train. The association will be involved and plans to provide feedback to the military that hopefully will result in a plan that strikes a balance with the needs of general aviation. Two possible examples of measures that could reduce the impact to general aviation are vertical stratification of special-use airspace, permitting activation only of airspace needed for a specific mission, and accurate charted times of airspace use.

Written comments may be submitted until Feb. 4, 2011 to ALCOM Public Affairs, 9480 Pease Avenue, Suite 120, JBER, AK 99506 or on the JPARC environmental impact statement website.

Date

Time

Location

Jan. 13

6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Millennium Hotel, 4800 Spenard Road, Anchorage, AK

Jan. 18

6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Caribou Hotel, Mile 186.5 Grand Highway, Glenalle AK

Jan. 19

 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Alaska Steakhouse and Hotel, 1420 Alaska Highway, Delta Junction, AK

Jan. 20

12 to 2 p.m. and
4 to 8 p.m.

Princess Hotel 11, 4477 Pikes Landing Road, Fairbanks, AK

Jan. 24

6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Motel Nord Haven, 249 George Parks Highway, Healy, AK

Jan. 25

6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Swiss Alaska Inn, 22056 South F Street, Talkeetna, AK

Jan. 26

6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Menard Memorial Sports Center 1001 S. Mack Drive, Wasilla, AK