Article by Kelly Humphrey, Panama City News Herald reporter
Excerpt from the Article:
Dunn stressed the need for improvements to the test range, which is used for high-altitude, supersonic air combat training for fighters such as the F-22 based at Tyndall Air Force Base and the F-35 based at Eglin Air Force Base. The range also enables hypersonic weapons testing, space launches, missile testing, electronic warfare, drone targeting and training, and naval training missions.
“The Gulf Range is a national treasure, a one-of-a-kind resource essential to our national security,” Dunn said in the news release. “As threats and extremism increase around the world, we should be doing everything in our power to arm our men and women in uniform with rigorous training and state-of-the-art equipment. For that, the military needs a robust Gulf Range. This funding will help to make sure the military has the cutting-edge test and training area it needs.”
According to Gaetz and Dunn, the lack of adequate instrumentation along Florida’s Gulf Coast restricts many missions to the northern portion of the range. Eglin’s 96th Test Wing estimates as many as 80 missions a year are not conducted because of air space and infrastructure congestion.