Air Force stalls on Powder River Range expansion decision - KOTA Territory News

Air Force stalls on Powder River Range expansion decision

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - An Air Force decision on its plan to more than triple the airspace that can be used in training exercises for Dakotas-based B-1 and B-52 bombers is expected in March.

But Air Force chief of staff Gen. Mark Welsh says the Federal Aviation Administration still will have to release its own decision before the Powder River Training Complex airspace could be expanded.

U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota asked Welsh about the status of the six-year effort during a Senate hearing Wednesday. "I am glad I had a chance to question Secretary Donley and General Welsh on important issues such as the impact of sequestration on B-1 flying hours at Ellsworth Air Force Base and the status of the proposed Powder River Training Complex," Johnson said.

The complex centered just northwest of where South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana meet spans about 8,300 square miles. The Air Force wants to add three "military operation areas" to create airspace of about 27,500 square miles — an area larger than the state of West Virginia. AP-WF-05-08-13 1906GMT

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