Air Force Pursues Low-Altitude Supersonic Training Missions Over Idaho, Nevada and Oregon Areas

Air Force Pursues Low-Altitude Supersonic Training Missions Over Idaho, Nevada and Oregon Areas

The Air Force seeks to conduct low-altitude supersonic jet training missions from Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, over lightly populated areas of southwestern Idaho, northern Nevada and southeastern Oregon, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

The service plans to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) and will hold meetings to take public comments through Nov. 25 to shape the EIS, the report said.

“Modifying this airspace will allow the USAF to provide a more realistic and efficient airspace training environment and improve aircrew proficiency in low-altitude tactics and radar masking using mountainous terrain for survival in a highly contested environment,” the Air Force said, according to the report.

The Air Force divides the region where the borders of Idaho, Oregon and Nevada meet into six Military Operations Areas (MOA). In two of the MOAs, flights can be as low as 100 feet over ground while the other MOAs have restrictions of 10,000 feet above sea level or 3,000 feet above ground level, whichever is higher, the report said.

Supersonic jets, which can create a sonic boom, are allowed at 30,000 feet above sea level in all the MOAs except over the Duck Valley Indian Reservation along the Idaho-Nevada border. The changes would allow the jets to descend at supersonic speeds with the specific altitudes defined in the EIS study, according to the report.

The first public meeting will be Nov. 4 in McDermitt, Nev., and later that week meetings are planned for Boise, Grand View, and Mountain Home, Idaho, the report said.

AP photo by Matt Cilley

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