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Photo Information

The aftermath of live-fire practice is shown on seaborne targets during target replenishing of Bombing Target 11, Piney Island, N.C., July 7, 2015. The new targets were installed to make it possible for all branches of service to practice their live-fire skills on visible targets. The more than 10,000 acre island is covered by different types of targets including: barge targets, surface-to-air missile representations, tactical vehicle replicas and laser targets, which allow the pilots to train in various scenarios. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Jason R. Jimenez/Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Jason Jimenez

Piney Island replenishes live-fire targets

9 Jul 2015 | Lance Cpl. Jason Jimenez 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing

Heavy equipment operators on Bombing Target 11 replenished a group of tactical vehicle replica bombing targets at Piney Island, N.C., July 7.

Piney Island, referred to as BT-11, is a wetland entirely covered in marsh. BT-11 is part of the Mid-Atlantic Electronic Warfare Range, which is comprised of Cherry Point and Camp Lejeune Operating Areas, and is currently used for tactical training.

BT-11 encompasses all of Piney Island in Carteret County and provides U.S. military branches the opportunity to practice their live-fire training on newer, visible targets.

“Over time, the targets being shot at become beaten-up and worn down so much that they begin to sink into the marsh,” said Clyde Downing, the test range tracker at the bombing range. “We are in the process of refacing old targets so that they are visible to the pilots who are conducting training with them.”

According to Downing, the older targets acquire more holes as they continue being used. These holes make them less visible to the pilots who are conducting training. The purpose of the new targets being set on top of the depleting targets is to make a brighter and more vibrant objective.

“Refacing the targets benefits both fixed wing and helicopter pilots,” said Downing. “As the joint tactical air controllers engage the ground targets, they have greater visibility of the targets instead of just relying on a grid coordinate.”

BT-11 is comprised of more than 10,000 acres of wetlands covered by various types of targets including; barge targets, surface-to-air missile representations, tactical vehicle replicas and laser targets.

“By towing the new targets out and putting them on top of the old ones, we give the pilots a good target to shoot at, which gives them better training to accomplish their missions,” said Paul Brody, a heavy equipment operator with the bombing range. “All branches of the U.S. military are authorized to utilize BT-11 and have made use of the targets throughout the years.”

According to Brody, the placement of different targets presents possible scenarios that service members may face while conducting a mission. Training at BT-11 gives the pilots the opportunity to practice those skills on visible targets.

2nd Marine Aircraft Wing