The UTTR is a Department of Defense (DoD) Major Range and Test Facility Base and provides an ideal location for operational test and evaluation for weapons requiring a large safety footprint. The UTTR is also the only location capable of supporting overland testing of cruise missiles. The UTTR is used in a training capacity for air-to-air-combat, air-to-ground inert and live practice bombing and gunnery training by DoD aircrews. The UTTR provides a vast area of realistic terrain for world-class test and training scenarios to ensure the war fighter is prepared to deploy at a moments’ notice to win any conflict with decisive air and space power.
Personnel and Resources
Approximately 11 military personnel, 93 civilians, and 153 technical services support personnel are assigned to the squadron. Air Traffic Control and Ground Control Intercept is provided by the air traffic control flight with a staff of approximately 53 personnel. The annual operating budget is approximately $30.1M, of which $22.6M is funded by Air Combat Command and the remainder is earned in reimbursement from test program customers. Range equipment assets are valued at approximately $1B. The UTTR is located in Northwestern Utah and Eastern Nevada, approximately 100 miles West of Hill Air Force Base. The UTTR contains the largest block of overland contiguous special use airspace, measured from surface or near surface, within the continental U.S. (207 by 122 nautical miles). Of the 12,574 square nautical miles, 6,010 are restricted airspace and 6,564 are Military Operating Areas. The airspace is situated over 2,624 square miles (2.3 million acres) of DoD land, of which 1,490 square miles are Air Force owned. The remainder is mainly owned and managed by the U.S. Army at Dugway Proving Ground. The UTTR’s large airspace, exceptionally long supersonic corridors, extensive shoot box, large safety footprint area, varying terrain, and remote location make it an invaluable national asset in terms of both its training and test mission capability in support of the DoD.
As a military installation, the UTTR has a long history of use beginning in 1940 when Congress appropriated funds for the acquisition of land for bombing and gunnery ranges. In 1941, the Army Air Corps received 1.8 million acres when a bombing and gunnery range detachment arrived at Wendover, Nevada. Wendover Army Air Base (WAAB) was activated in 1942 as a B-17 and B-24 heavy bombardment training base and bombing range. In 1944, P-47 fighter aircraft pilot training began and shortly thereafter B-29s began staging out of WAAB. In 1942, President Roosevelt withdrew an initial 126,720 acres of land from public domain for use by the War Department and established Dugway Proving Ground. In 1945, WAAB was transferred to the Ogden Air Technical Service Command (Ogden Air Logistics Complex/OO-ALC) and continued as a bombing and gunnery practice range as well as a location to test captured German rockets. In 1955, the Air Force assigned its air munitions functions to OO-ALC. In 1960, the Wendover Bombing and Gunnery Range was redesignated the Wendover Weapons Range and the Newfoundland Mountain Air Force Range was redesignated as the Hill Air Force Range. Construction of
a munitions/missile test facility at Oasis on the North Range was completed in 1964. In the early 1970s, an air-to-ground scoreable gunnery range was constructed to train fighter and bomber crews. Air Force Systems Command assumed control of the range in 1979 and re-designated the Wendover/Hill/Dugway Range complexes as the UTTR.
The UTTR mission was to test and evaluate cruise missiles as well as provide weapons testing and support. In 1997, ACC assumed responsibility for the range as a result of the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure decision. The 388th Range Squadron was formed to carry out the UTTR’s mission to provide open-air training and test to support day-to-day training, large force training exercises, large footprint weapons testing, and to fulfill the requirement as the daily manager of range scheduling. In August of 2012 the 388th Range Squadron was re-designated the Headquarters, Utah Test and Training Range, or UTTR. The UTTR continues to operate primarily as a world class test range, while also serving as a great training range which supports Air Force, Army Navy Marine units as well as a host of foreign countries. Throughout its history, a wide variety of high explosive and inert/practice ordnance have been delivered at UTTR by many different fixed wing aircraft. Range use averages approximately 16,000 sorties per year for training and 300 sorties per year for test. The highest usage occurred in 1994, when 22,229 sortie-operations were flown at the UTTR. Primary ordnance employed over the years covers the full spectrum of the Air Force inventory in the Bomb Dummy Unit (BDU), Cluster Bomb Unit (CBU), and Guided Bomb Unit (GBU) categories as well as cruise missile testing.