The Huntsville Center is the Corps of Engineers-designated Mandatory Center of Expertise for the Range and Training Land Program. The RTLP provides centralized management and engineering support to the Army's Training Support System Enterprise. This oversight also means performing inspections on the more than 30 different types of ranges that the Huntsville Center RTLP administers.

Huntsville Center employees William Strong, electrical engineer, and Jonathan Scott, civil engineer, both from the organization's Engineering Directorate, traveled to Fort Jackson July 23-24 to perform the first of two required inspections that are required to ensure ranges are standard and constructed properly to allow target providers to plug in their targetry and controls equipment and have a facility the Soldiers can train on for more than 25 years.

Scott said prior to completing the Construction Compliance and Technical Interface inspections, team members attend design review meetings for the training ranges to ensure the range construction plans are compliant with the Huntsville Center Range MCX Range Design Guide and standard range details.

"Whenever possible, it is desired that the person from Site Development (civil) who attends the design review meetings for a training range also attend the two follow-on inspections. That way the inspector will have a more intimate knowledge of the range and its history," Scott said. "Also, providing technical support means extensive travel to the range sites throughout the life of a project," he said. "I am TDY approximately 20-25 times per year. Of these trips about 10-15 are to perform range inspections. The remainder of my trips is to attend design review meetings."

The Construction Compliance Inspection is performed at 50 percent construction completion. The second inspection is called a Target Interface Inspection and is done at 90-95 percent completion.
Getting the inspection done requires a lot of coordination, said William Stephenson, a program manager from the organizations Installation Support and Programs Management Directorate. Prior to doing a site visit to perform each inspection, the RTLP project managers send a pre-inspection checklist to the construction representative and the electrical section RTLP team to determine when the site is ready for inspection. Each inspection is scheduled weeks in advance to allow additional groups such as TCM Live, the target provider, local range managers and Corps of Engineers construction representatives an opportunity to participate.

Strong said the CCI shows a mockup of each type of target on the range, with electrical and data equipment mounted on the wall of the target emplacement. This technical inspection is crucial and can take six to eight hours to complete depending on the range size. An average range can be from 1,000 feet to 3 miles long, with 144 to 300 targets varying in four different target sizes.

"The range at Fort Jackson is 300 meters long and has 144 site target emplacements with six support buildings, to include a Range Operations Control building and Range Operation Control tower. It takes time to get the job done properly," Strong said. "Making sure the right equipment has been purchased and is correctly installed early on and pointing out any deficiencies limits adverse cost to the government and the contractor. Performing this inspection helps to prevent delays in range construction which adversely affects the war fighter's training. We didn't have any foreseeable problems at the Fort Jackson range site."

Jason Page, an electrical engineer who does in-house design work and occasionally works on Huntsville Center's RTLP inspection team, provided oversight for the CCI at Fort Jackson. Page said big Army's making the inspections a requirement allows the construction contractor or local Corps representatives an opportunity to ask questions during the construction process.

The RTLP team will complete the TII, a more comprehensive inspection that includes testing how the range resists extreme weather conditions in the months to come. This inspection process usually begins three to six months after the CCI is done. The pre-inspection checklist will again be distributed and completed, and the RTLP team members will reconvene at the range site on Fort Jackson to perform the Target Interface Inspection. All targets, limit markers, buildings and other features will be inspected, and specific power tests will be performed at that time.

This inspection is usually completed in one to two days, depending on the number of targets and range size. Page said the RTLP team will be ready when they are contacted to schedule the TII for the Fort Jackson range site.

"We value our mission, and I'm pleased with the RTLP teams involvement on projects worldwide," Page said. "We have an instrumental team of civil, structural and architectural team members and contractor engineers who help with issues that may come up at site inspections, depending on the size of the range.

Said Stephenson,"It's just another example of how the Corps and Huntsville Center supports the war fighter down range."

Page last updated Tue August 13th, 2013 at 15:17