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181st IW Airmen manage Indiana Air Range Complex

U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Bobby Norton, the superintendent of Detachment 1 of the 113th Air Support Operations Squadron, which is a unit of the 181st Intelligence Wing, observes aircraft maneuvers from a range control tower during a live-fire, air-to-ground exercise at Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center, Ind., Aug. 6, 2020. Atterbury Range is one of three air ranges belonging to the Indiana Air Range Complex, which provides more than 1,600 acres worth of air range space for air crews and ground controllers to execute air support missions. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan W. Padish)

U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Bobby Norton, the superintendent of Detachment 1 of the 113th Air Support Operations Squadron, which is a unit of the 181st Intelligence Wing, observes aircraft maneuvers from a range control tower during a live-fire, air-to-ground exercise at Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center, Ind., Aug. 6, 2020. Atterbury Range is one of three air ranges belonging to the Indiana Air Range Complex, which provides more than 1,600 acres worth of air range space for air crews and ground controllers to execute air support missions. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan W. Padish)

CAMP ATTERBURY, IN -- Range control officers assigned to the 181st Intelligence Wing of the Indiana Air National Guard facilitated close air support operations training for tactical air control party Airmen assigned to the 113th Air Support Operations Squadron from the 181st IW August 3-6, 2020 at the Indiana Air Range Complex’s Atterbury Range.

The range control Airmen oversaw training operations for the TACP Airmen, who controlled the delivery of weapons ranging from inert bombs to cannon rounds from A-10 Thunderbolt II (commonly known as the “warthog”) attack aircraft stationed at the Indiana ANG’s 122nd Fighter Wing.

According to the Airmen who operate the air ranges, that close air support training goes both ways.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Brandon Roell, the staff weather officer assigned to Atterbury Range, indicated that many TACPs from the 113th ASOS are subject matter experts in joint terminal attack controlling capabilities. In other words, they can focus their efforts to assist pilots with tactical air operations training while simultaneously maintaining their own controlling proficiencies.

Additionally, the three air ranges comprising the Indiana Air Range Complex provide military units stationed in Indiana and elsewhere with the opportunity to train in a variety of scenarios, such as tactical air support with JTAC subject matter experts, air-scored targets, strafe targets, rocket targets, laser capabilities, day and night operations for manned and unmanned activities and restricted airspace for unmanned flight training and testing.

“You have several different air training opportunities here,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Bobby Norton, the superintendent of Detachment 2 of the 113th ASOS.

Moreover, the air ranges are not limited to troops stationed in Indiana. Indeed, the air ranges recently played host to U.S. armed forces units from across the country. The capabilities of the air ranges can make the 181st IW a popular choice for military training.

According to U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jason Coldiron, the superintendent of the class A air range at the Indiana Air Range Complex’s Jefferson Range, working with different units from multiple states means many unit training assembly weekends in a single month.

Pointing to a wall calendar filled with bookings, Coldiron emphasized the completeness of the schedule.

“As you can see, we don’t have a typical Air National Guard schedule,” said Coldiron.

The constant nature of air range missions provides a means for both ground and air-based military assets to train day-in and day-out with ground-based controllers stationed at the Indiana-based 113th ASOS and other local units with JTAC capabilities.

“When you talk about training the warfighter, we’re doing missions every day,” said Roell. “We have an integral part in training, and we definitely have room to grow.”

Indeed, the air ranges have been steadily revamping operations to take on increased missions and support additional air and ground controlling training.

Consequently, Norton indicated the Indiana Air Range Complex is well poised to take on a growth in missions based on its existing and expanding capabilities.

The Indiana Air Range Complex, consisting of air ranges at Camp Atterbury, Muscatatuck Urban Training Center and Jefferson Range, enables training and testing activities utilizing special use and managed airspace supporting both kinetic and non-kinetic air-to-ground operations. Those three air ranges span more than 1,600 acres, not including the multiple military operating areas associated with the ranges. To be sure, additional air ranges at nearby Red Hills, Racer, Hilltop, Lake Michigan, Pruitt, and Lindbergh military operating areas provide added air training opportunities for military units utilizing the Indiana Air Range Complex.

With numerous training capabilities available at their disposal, the Airmen of the 181st IW stand ready to serve the training needs of military units from Hulman Field and beyond.

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