Home Americas US Army National Guard opens new air ground ‘digital range’ in Idaho

US Army National Guard opens new air ground ‘digital range’ in Idaho

Digital Air Ground Integrated Range
The Idaho National Guard opened the new Digital Air Ground Integrated Range at the Orchard Combat Training Center March 4, 2020. Photo: Army National Guard

The Idaho Army National Guard opened its Digital Air Ground Integrated Range (DAGIR) on March 4 at the Orchard Combat Training Center.

The range is the first DAGIR on a National Guard training site and only the second across the US Army. The range allows air and ground units to train together while receiving accurate and real-time feedback on their performance.

“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.

Manned and unmanned aviation crews and armor, Stryker and infantry crews, sections and platoons can conduct combined arms live-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.”

Before conducting training on the range, equipment is attached to vehicles and aircraft that records and feeds 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 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 and unmanned aerial vehicles providing overwatch. A Conex village on the range allows units to train on dismount operations and incorporate joint terminal attack controllers into the training scenario.

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.