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Nellis Air Force Range

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Title: Nellis Air Force Range  
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Subject: Area 51, Beatty, Nevada, Nevada National Security Site, Nellis Air Force Base, Bob Lazar, Bullfrog County, Nevada, Amargosa River, Cold Lake, Alberta, Rachel, Nevada, Nevada State Route 375
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Nellis Air Force Range

For the United States Air Force unit, see Nevada Test and Training Range (military unit).
Nevada Test and Training Range
Nellis Air Force Range

1949:[1] Las Vegas Bombing and Gunnery Range

    1947:[2] Tonopah & Las Vegas B&GRs

    1941:[3] Tonopah & Las Vegas general ranges

    1940: Tonopah Bombing Range
military region
Humboldt National Forest, and the NOAA climatology station at Las Vegas are not shown.
Official name: The USAF uses "NTTR" and "Nevada Test and Training Range" to designate both the geographic area and the associated military unit.[4]
Name origin: Nevada, Nellis AFB, Las Vegas, & Tonopah
Country United States
State Nevada
Counties Nye, Lincoln
Part of "Nellis Air Force Base (NAFB) Complex"[5]
Great Basin
Basin and Range Province
North American Desert
Borders on Tonopah Bombing Range (FUDS)
Nellis "Area A"[6]
Nearest city Las Vegas
basin[specify] between Quartzite
& the Belted Range
 - coordinates 31|36|N|116|11|53|W|type:landmark_region:US-NV name=

}} [7]


Land area[4]
5,000 sq mi (12,950 km2) - restricted[4]
7,000 sq mi (18,000 km2) - shared (MOA)

2012: 4,531 sq mi (11,740 km2)
1961:[8] 7,249 sq mi (18,770 km2)
1957:[9] 6,754 sq mi (17,490 km2)
1942:[6] 6,997 sq mi (18,120 km2)
1941:[10] 8,462 sq mi (21,920 km2)
1940:[11] 5,560 sq mi (14,400 km2)

Established September 29, 1940 [11]

2011: NTTR military unit

2001: 98th Range Wing
[specify]: 99th Range Group

1948:[12] ATC Flying Division
c. 1945: Fifteenth Air Force
1942: Fourth Air Force detachment
1941:[3] AFCC & WCACTC

GNIS code 2511961 [7]

The Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR) is 1 of 2 military training areas used by the United States Air Force Warfare Center (cf. Eglin AFB) and has the "largest contiguous air and ground space available for peacetime military operations in the free world"[4] (cf. Utah TTR) The NTTR land area includes a "simulated Integrated Air Defense System", several individual ranges with 1200 targets, and 4 remote communication sites.[4] The current NTTR area and the range's former areas have been used for aerial gunnery and bombing, for nuclear tests, as a proving ground and flight test area, for aircraft control and warning, and for Blue Flag and Red Flag exercises.


The Nevada Test and Training Range land area is mostly Central Basin and Range ecoregion (cf. southernmost portion in the Mojave Desert),[13]:3-1 and smaller ecoregions (e.g., Tonopah Basin, Tonopah Playa, & Bald Mountain biomes) are within the area of numerous basin and range landforms of the NTTR.


For the list of all NTTR landforms, see Nellis & Wildlife 5 Ranges region.

The NTTR is at the serpentine section of the

Northern Range

The Northern Range includes the Tolicha Peak Electronic Combat Range (TPECR, e.g., Range 76 targets 76-03, -05, -11, & -14)[15] and Tonopah Electronic Combat Range (the Wildhorse Management Area encircled by the Northern Range is not part of the NTTR.)[16]

Eastman Airfield Target

The Eastman Airfield Target (Target 76-14,[15] Korean Airfield, 37°22′N 116°50′W / 37.367°N 116.833°W / 37.367; -116.833 (Eastman Airfield Target 76-14)) is a Range 76 target 4.3 mi (6.9 km) northwest of the TPECR. The target has a northeastern taxiway loop which is characteristical for the former Soviet Air Force base at Jüterbog Airfield in East Germany, and three ramps in front of hangars on the western side of the loop. The other taxiways have a similar layout to Jüterbog, although the runway is about 1,300 feet (400 m) shorter. There are two accompanying SAM sites, one 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi) northwest of the airfield, and one 3.5 miles (5.6 km) northwest just like the original.[17]

Southern Range

The Southern Range includes the Point Bravo Electronic Combat Range. A ~1,276 sq mi (3,300 km2) area of the Southern Range that was withdrawn from the Desert National Wildlife Range is co-managed by the USAF and the USFWS.[16]

Nearby facilities

In addition to Nellis AFB, areas outside of the current NTTR land area are used for related activities, e.g., ~1,107 sq mi (2,870 km2) of the former military range land (relinquished 1942, e.g. ranges 46-56,[9] and c. 1953) is under the Nellis "Area A" airspace that is a Military Operations Area (MOA).[6] The Formerly Used Defense Site north and northeast of the NTTR with "Stone Cabin, Hot Creek, Railroad, Tikaboo, and Sand Spring valleys" is a "former portion of the Tonopah Bombing Range", includes "Permit Required Confined space", and prohibits vehicles in "suspected ordnance impact area[s]" (e.g., "green markings" indicate chemical agents).[12] Most areas adjacent to the NTTR are managed by the Bureau of Land Management for limited non-residential use such as grazing.[12]:3-1 Temporary sites, e.g., for Patriot Communications Exercises (~"21 days per exercise"), are in the "ADA activity area" east of the NTTR with 13 empty "500 feet by 500 feet" sites for mobile electronic equipment on BLM land in the "Sand Springs Valley, Coal Valley, Delamar Valley, and Dry Lake Valley" ("general area" of the Key Pittman WMA) and "under MOA airspace".[13]


"Tertiary age" lava flows formed 5 erupted groups in the area, and block faulting such as the Siebert and Mizpah faults formed the ranges and valleys.[18]:68 Precambrian and Paleozoic marine sediments form an "almost uniform thickness of 40,000 feet", and surface geology is "typically the Cenozoic Era continental deposits and some Early Cenozoic volcanic rocks."[12]:3-3 Located at the southern tip of the Great Basin tribes area, the eventual range area was crossed by the Old Spanish Trail (trade route), was south of the Pony Express route, and was split by the 37th parallel north of the 1850 New Mexico & 1863 Arizona territories' northwest corner. In the 1930's the land had been used as an Animal Sanctuary where the Department of the Interior made it a wildlife reservation. However, in 1942 during World War II the region restricted it from public access for the War Department to use.[19] The original bombing range had been used for the 1900-1921 silver rush (e.g., Tonopah Mining District[18] & Tonopah Manhattan Stage Route),[7] and the region was subdivided into smaller numbered management areas (e.g., Area 2, Area 5, Area 11, Area 12, Area 25, Area 27, Area 52) which are used for names of some of the range installations (e.g., "Area 3 Compound"[14] and "Area 51" for "Groom Lake Field").[20]

Tonopah Bombing Range

"Las Vegas Bombing and Gunnery Range" redirects here. For the nearby WWII base named for the city, see Las Vegas Army Air Field.

The Tonopah Bombing Range was designated on federal land "withdrawn…October 29, 1940, from the public domain"

Nellis Air Force Gunnery and Bombing Range

A "680-square mile section of the Nellis Air Force Gunnery and Bombing Range" was designated the

From 1956-1969/70, the Las Vegas and Tonopah Air Force Stations (36°19′07″N 115°34′31″W / 36.31861°N 115.57528°W / 36.31861; -115.57528 (Las Vegas AFS SM-163)/38°03′06″N 117°13′34″W / 38.05167°N 117.22611°W / 38.05167; -117.22611 (Tonopah AFS SM-164)[7]) provided Reno Air Defense Sector radar tracks and in 1957, the "instrumented AEC range at Tonopah" was used by NAS Fallon and Point Mugu pilots.[28] "A safety experiment (Project 57 No. 1) with ground zero coordinates of N 932646, E 688515 was detonated on April 24, 1957" in Area 13[8] at the northeast NTTR boundary. In 1958, the TTR Airport was planned with a single runway of 19,000 ft (5,800 m).[28] In 1960, Camp Mercury was a base camp for Project 5.5 that studied In-flight Structural Response of the F-89D Aircraft to a Nuclear Detonation (a similar Project 6.5 was for Effects of Nuclear Detonations on the Nike Hercules).[29] A 1961 Public Land Order transferred USAF land to the AEC, and after the 1962 RBS Express #2 near the Hawthorne Naval Ammunition Depot was used for Radar Bomb Scoring of flights over the range, the Hawthorne Bomb Plot radar station operated in Babbitt until c. 1993. Operation Roller Coaster was a TTR nuclear test series in May and June 1963[5] and in November and December 1965, B-52 Combat Skyspot testing at the range used the only CONUS AN/MSQ-77 developed for the Vietnam War.[30] Planning to integrate the range with the Fallon and Hill/Wendover/Dugway ranges to create the Great Basin's "Continental Operations Range" ended in 1975,[31] the 1st year for a Nellis range Red Flag exercise.

Nellis Air Force Range

The Nellis Air Force Range (NAFR) was used to bury wreckage of the 1978 Groom Lake & 1979 NAFR F-117 crashes, and additional Cold War accidents at the range included the 1975 NAFR TR-1 crash,[32] the 1979 Tonopah MiG-17 crash during training versus an F-5, the 1984 Little Skull Mountain MiG-23 crash which killed a USAF general,[33] and the 1986 NAFR F-19 crash which "Air Force sources" identified as an F-19 Stealth.[34] Circa 1980, NAFR received 806L "Range Threat" systems for electronic warfare simulation and from 1983 to 1985, the area of South Antelope Lake was used for 2 Tomahawk Missile targets.[35] NAFR range operations transferred to the 99th Range Group at the end of the Cold War (the range received various RBS electronic systems from Strategic Training Ranges, e.g., Nellis had 5 AN/MSQ-77s by 1994).[36] In 1999 the range's land withdrawal[quantify] was renewed[37] and the unused portion of the original Tonopah Bombing Range was redesignated a Formerly Used Defense Site.[12]:2-1 In 2001, NAFR was renamed the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR) and in October 2001, the range group personnel and assets for range operations transferred to the 98th Range Wing.[38] In 2005, Indian Springs AFAF was renamed Creech Air Force Base and in 2010, the NTS was renamed the Nevada National Security Site.[39] The NTTR had 4 tracts in the 2010 U.S. Census[40] and in 2011, the 98th Range Wing was redesignated with the same name as the range.[4]


External links

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