MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
equipment operators on Bombing Target 11 replenished a group of
tactical vehicle replica bombing targets at Piney Island, N.C., July 7.
Piney Island, referred to as BT-11, is a wetland entirely
covered in marsh. BT-11 is part of the Mid-Atlantic Electronic Warfare Range,
which is comprised of Cherry Point and Camp Lejeune Operating Areas, and is currently
used for tactical training.
BT-11 encompasses all of Piney Island in Carteret
County and provides U.S. military branches the opportunity to practice their
live-fire training on newer, visible targets.
“Over time, the targets being shot at become
beaten-up and worn down so much that they begin to sink into the marsh,” said
Clyde Downing, the test range tracker at the bombing range. “We are in the
process of refacing old targets so that they are visible to the pilots who are conducting
training with them.”
According to Downing, the older targets acquire more
holes as they continue being used. These holes make them less visible to the
pilots who are conducting training. The purpose of the new targets being set on
top of the depleting targets is to make a brighter and more vibrant objective.
“Refacing the targets benefits both fixed wing and
helicopter pilots,” said Downing. “As the joint tactical air controllers engage
the ground targets, they have greater visibility of the targets instead of just
relying on a grid coordinate.”
BT-11 is comprised of more than 10,000 acres of
wetlands covered by various types of targets including; barge targets,
surface-to-air missile representations, tactical vehicle replicas and laser targets.
“By towing the new targets out and putting them on
top of the old ones, we give the pilots a good target to shoot at, which gives
them better training to accomplish their missions,” said Paul Brody, a heavy
equipment operator with the bombing range. “All branches of the U.S. military
are authorized to utilize BT-11 and have made use of the targets throughout the
According to Brody, the placement of different
targets presents possible scenarios that service members may face while
conducting a mission. Training at BT-11 gives the pilots the opportunity to practice
those skills on visible targets.