Expanded Powder River Complex Opens for Training

The Air Force recently opened the expanded Powder River Training Complex to military flight operations and plans to host its first large-scale training exercise there early next month, officials announced. Powder River is now the largest training airspace in the Continental United States, spanning 35,000 square miles over the Dakotas, Montana, and Wyoming, to provide nearby bases with closer training areas. The expanded sectors are limited to 10 days of use each year, and large-forces exercises in these sectors are restricted to no more than three days at a time, every three months, according to the Nov. 2 release. The Federal Aviation Administration updated civil aeronautical charts and cleared the Air Force to begin military training flights in the new sectors on Sept. 17, and the first large-force exercise is planned for Dec. 2-3, according to officials at Ellsworth AFB, S.D. The expanded range specifically provides training space for Air Force Global Strike Command bombers based at neighboring Ellsworth and Minot AFB, N.D.