BOISE, Idaho - The Idaho Army National Guard celebrated the opening of its Digital Air Ground Integrated Range March 4 at the Orchard Combat Training Center with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
“This fully instrumented range will make it possible for military personnel within Idaho and the United States to coordinate and practice accomplishing missions from the ground and air simultaneously,” said Col. Matthew Godfrey, commander of the Idaho Army National Guard Training Center and the Orchard Combat Training Center.
The range is the first DAGIR located on a National Guard training site and only the second across the U.S. Army. The range allows air and ground units to train together while receiving accurate and real-time feedback on their performance.
Manned and unmanned aviation crews and armor, Stryker and infantry crews, sections and platoons can conduct combined arms life-fire exercises together on the range using 200 targets that provide more than 400 possible training scenarios.
“The efficiencies that will be gained from a truly world-class targeting range will improve the combat capabilities of all the units that train here,” Godfrey said. “I’m very excited about the opportunities that this range will provide us in not only enhancing the training and proficiency of the tank, Bradley, Stryker and Apache crews, but also the speed with which the training will be completed.”
Prior to conducting training on the range, equipment is attached to vehicles and aircraft that records and feed audio and video footage into the range’s tower in real time. Range operators will have the ability to observe the crew, what the crew sees, the target itself, and the location of any rounds fired on the range.
“This gives the tower the ability to help coach the crew and correct any issues the crew may be having,” said Maj. Joe Doyle, OCTC range officer.
In addition, crews and leadership can review the recording in the After Actions Review building after a training run and take the recording back home with them.
“Video doesn’t lie,” Doyle said. “Soldiers and leaders will have the ability to go back and re-watch what they just executed like never before. This will help fine-tune points you can’t see on most ranges and allow units to use the recording to prepare for future gunnery cycles and use it as a training tool.”
The range is the primary qualification range for AH-64 Apaches and an approved alternate range for tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles. The range can simulate four vehicles working together with air support as well as unmanned aerial vehicles providing overwatch. A Conex village on the range provides units the opportunity to train on dismount operations and to incorporate joint terminal attack controllers into the training scenario.
The DAGIR is one of 23 ranges at the Orchard Combat Training Center, located 18 miles south of Boise. The 143,000-acre training center provides vast terrain and world-class ranges to prepare brigade combat teams and other units for combat in a tough and realistic training environment.
Construction began on the range in September 2018 and will be completed later this spring when the aerial weapons scoring system can be installed. Its installation was delayed due to COVID-19.