Since World War II, the Marine Corps has consistently integrated the elements of air, ground, and sea into their combat operations, to create a three-dimensional joint fighting force, unique only to the Corps.
With the expanding capabilities of Marine aircraft and artillery over the last several decades, it became necessary for the Marine Corps to obtain additional land and airspace in order to adequately train Marines with advancing technology in realistic combat scenarios. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 was signed into law, changing the boundaries between the Combat Center and the Bureau of Land Management. The establishment of special use airspace over and adjacent to the newly acquired lands allows Marines to train like they fight as an integrated Marine Air Ground Task Force.
“Special use airspace is where activities otherwise hazardous to non-participating aircraft can be accomplished,” said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Meeker, regional airspace coordinator, Marine Corps Installation West.
Similar to SUA, temporary special use airspace allows Marines and the military aircrafts they use to operate in a more realistic training environment, under the military air controllers, as a part of the MAGTF.
According to Meeker, who coordinates and oversees new and existing airspace in cooperation with the Federal Aviation Administration, temporary special use airspace is airspace that is designed and activated for special events, for a specific period of time.
“Operating in special use airspace, permanent or temporary, adds a level of safety by completely segregating military aircraft from non-participating aircraft,” said Meeker. “We have restricted areas and also inform the public aviation community that military flight operations are occurring in a specific area.”
The TSUA is able to effectively segregate hazardous military training from the local aviation community, whether it be from ground-based live fire or aviation activities. The increased awareness of segregation supports a safer environment for both civilian and military aviation professionals.
According to Meeker, Civilian pilots are informed of SUA conditions through a variety of methods; public outreach targeting airfields within a 100 nautical mile radius of the intended airspace through mass-emailing via the FAA, daily entries in the Notices to Airmen publication, daily NOTAMs during the exercise and the MCAGCC website.
The Combat Center’s usage of the TSUA is essential to the training of the MAGTF. For more information on the Shared Use Area or TSUA visit www.29palms.marines.mil, under the G5 Government and External Affairs tab and select airspace.