Idahoans to the Air Force: please stop secretly using our cities for target practice
A cadre of Idaho residents are suing the Air Force over the “extraordinary and unprecedented” urban training exercises planned to take place in nine cities across the state.
In a complaint filed earlier this month in the U.S. District Court of Idaho, a group of Boise residents allege that the Air Force’s Urban Close Air Support Air and Ground Training Project — proposed by the 366th Fighter Wing at Mountain Home Air Force Base in January — endangers the safety of Idahoans by “authoriz[ing] thousands of annual overflights of F-15 military jets, coupled with on-the-ground troop activity within the cities, occurring day and night.”
Civilian complaints about military exercises in their neighborhoods aren’t unusual, but this complaint alleges that the Air Force Urban CAS Training Project “establishes a permanent urban military training program centered over nine cities across southern Idaho, from Boise to Burley … for up to 160 days per year.”
A map of a representation of the area around Mountain Home AFB that would be used for the urban air support training(U.S. Air Force)
The ground and airspace training would includes urban CAS proficiency exercises with unarmed F-15E Strike Eagle aircrews from two of Mountain AFB’s squadrons flying between 10,000 and 18,000 feet with ground support from joint terminal attack controllers identifying targets with “low power, eye-safe lasers” — quite literally using unsuspecting city centers for practice, per a January 2018 Air Force planning document:
Prior to mission training operations, F-15E aircrews would maintain flight in a circular path, known as a CAS wheel, in the airspace that overlies the farther outskirts of town or the outermost edge of the 15-NM radius from the urban center point.
Ground teams …read more
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