Accession Number:



Environmental Assessment for Increased Depleted Uranium Use on Target 63-10, Nevada Test and Training Range

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Final rept.

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The purpose of the proposed action is to meet the test and training requirements of the 422 TES and 66 WPS at Nellis Air Force Base AFB. To accomplish this purpose, the Air Force would increase the annual authorization of DU rounds from the current level of 7,900 to the required level of 19,000. The 422 TES needs to fire 12,300 rounds, and the 66 WPS training requires 6,700 rounds annually, while the current authorization yields only 4,150 for the 422 TES and 3,750 for the 66 WPS. This testing and training would continue to occur on Target 63-10, the only target area in the United States authorized for air-to-ground firing of DU munitions. The proposal would permit the Air Force to meet A-10 combat training requirements. Aircrews must train under conditions they would expect to encounter in combat, so realistic, quality training is essential. Limited testing and actual combat have demonstrated that the ballistic properties of DU rounds differ greatly from non-DU training rounds available to combat Air Force units. As such, the testing and training provided at Target 63-10 represents a unique and essential activity. Because no combat air forces A-10 units fire 30mm DU rounds during peacetime training, they must rely solely on Operational Flight Program testing and tactics validation from the 422 TES, and upon the training their Weapons Officers receive from the 66 WPS to impart lessons learned to the unit. The 422 TES tests and validates systems and tactics for the A-10. To increase accuracy and survivability for the A-10 the 422 TES must thoroughly test and apply upgrades to targeting systems. Lack of sufficient authorizations for DU rounds prevents meeting these requirements. Due to limited authorizations of DU use, this testing and training has not been accomplished consistently since 1993. The current DU authorization allows for less than half of the testing by the 422 TES and limits training of only 5 to 10 pilots per year.

Subject Categories:

  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies
  • Radioactivity, Radioactive Wastes and Fission Products
  • Environmental Health and Safety

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