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Navy looks to expand bombing range
The Marine Corps is seeking public comment on plans to modernize and expand the Townsend Bombing Range in the northwest corner of McIntosh County.

During the comment period, which ends April 20, the public can read the four alternatives, including the one preferred by the Marine Corps.

The Navy wants to expand the 5,183-acre range because it's too small to conduct training for combat pilots.

The range is used by six F/A-18 Hornet Squadrons stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C.

The Marine Corps needs the additional room to support the training necessary to use modernized weapons systems.

An expanded range will allow pilots to conduct realistic tactics, techniques and procedures that they are unable to do at the Townsend range.

Aviators train on ranges in the southwest U.S. because there is not enough room at the Townsend range.

The expansion plans include acquisition of land and timber easements, modification of existing airspace, construction of infrastructure to support training and improvement of training capabilities.

The option preferred by the Marines, No. 4, would include the acquisition of 28,630 acres of land and a 3,007-acre timber easement.

The number of acres in each option range from 34,861 acres to 11,187 acres.

Alternative No. 4 represents the most favorable balance of operational utility and acceptable environmental impacts, according to the final environmental impact statement for the proposed project.

* Reporter Gordon Jackson writes about government and other local topics. Contact him at gjackson@thebrunswicknews.com, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 323.

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To read a copy of the Final Environment Impact Statement and comment, go to townsendbombingrangeeis.com.



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