Large-Scale Exercise Set in Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming

Large-Scale Exercise Set in Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming


June 3, 2016 – The Air Force is set for another large-scale exercise in the massive Powder River Training Complex in the Northern Plains.

The training area covers nearly 35,000 square miles of airspace in the Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming — the largest over the continental U.S.

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Officials at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota say multiple types of aircraft will take to the skies Tuesday through Thursday, and cautioned that could cause loud noises, including sonic booms.

Citizens in four states are on edge as a large scale training exercise is about to begin over the Northern Plains this week.

Some ranchers have complained that the training exercises disrupt their operations, and the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association in February petitioned Air Force officials to provide more information to ranchers. But the group is pleased with steps the military has taken to better inform ranchers, such as posting notices in local newspapers, said Executive Director Silvia Christen.


Next week’s exercise will include six different types of aircraft, from fighter jets to refueling tankers, and will involve several hundred personnel from multiple bases, according to Lt. Col. Lanny Anaya, assistant director of operations for the 28th Operations Support Squadron at Ellsworth.

Set to take place on Wednesday and Thursday in the 35,000 square-mile Powder River Training Complex and the airspace over North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming.

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The training exercises are scheduled to take place for only two hours each day, from 10 AM until noon. It is not expected to interrupt local air traffic due to the short duration of the military airspace control, and the altitude at which their planes will be flying.


Such training is limited to 10 days each year, once every three months, with no exercise lasting more than three days. The first large-scale exercise this year was in late March.

Mary Greeley News