As published in Toledo Business Journal - August 1, 2017

An Ohio Air National Guard F-16 Fighter Jet

An Ohio Air National Guard F-16 Fighter Jet

180th planning $5-10M small arms range

Planned investments of $10-20M include new hangars

The Ohio Air National Guard plans to construct a 14-lane, 9,000 square foot modular small arms range on its 180th Fighter Wing (180FW) base at Toledo Express Airport. The $5-10 million project is a new prototype for the National Guard. It is anticipated that the contract will be awarded early this fall and expected completion of the facility will be in the fall of 2018.

According to Lt Col Michael Hrynciw III, base civil engineer and commander of the wing’s civil engineer squadron, the range will be in accordance with Department of Defense (DoD), Air Force and base design standards.

The modular small arms range is different than traditional shooting ranges. Instead of being a brick-and-mortar building, the modular range is self-contained. It includes the HVAC systems, bullet traps, air handling, and every other facet of a traditional indoor shooting range.

Maj Jeremy Ferguson, deputy base civil engineer said, “This type of indoor shooting range is a prototype for the Air National Guard and will be used as a standard template for shooting ranges at Air National Guard bases in the future. The modular ranges are faster and easier to procure than a brick-and-mortar type facility. The range is designed to accommodate NATO standard 5.56 millimeter (mm) and 7.62 mm ammunition for rifles as well as 9mm handgun ammunition for our military issue sidearms.”

According to Maj Ferguson, the range is being built for weapon qualification to meet required military training objectives.

“We have authorization for a small arms range to meet training our requirements and we’re building here at the 180FW to satisfy having weapons qualifications training. We have roughly 1,000 Airmen on the base who deploy in support of operations worldwide and to deploy you have to have the qualification training,” said Maj Ferguson. “Right now, we have to go to off- site for our weapons training. We have a partnership agreement with the Maumee Police Department to use their range on a limited basis. It’s not as big as we need to effectively or efficiently accomplish our needs, and it poses a safety risk because our security forces have to carry weapons down there, account for them, and then to do en masse training.”

Photo by Senior Master Sgt. Beth Holliker

Photo by Senior Master Sgt. Beth Holliker

“Lt Col Hrynciw and I just got back from the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center in Michigan, which is about four and a half hours away. That involved taking our entire unit away from our duty location for a week to do weapons qualifications; that with this modular range, we can do here on base on a drill weekend or during the week. It would be a lot faster and easier for our security forces to meet the training requirements without having to send people hours away, paying for travel costs, food, lodging and all the other expenses that come with doing off-station training,” added Maj Ferguson.

To construct the range, the 180FW put out a solicitation through Federal Business Opportunities (FBO), the standard site for the federal government to solicit contracts. The base has received quotes from different general contractors to actually construct the site. According to Ferguson, they are still in the process of doing source selection and evaluation.

Additionally, the 180FW is awaiting approval from Congress for $15 million in funds for new aircraft shelters at the base.

Maj Ferguson said, “We are on the President’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget for new aircraft shelters to replace the temporary cloth shelters we have now. The President’s Budget is waiting on congressional approval, and the federal fiscal year starts in October, but we have funding right now and a contract to design the actual shelters themselves.

“We have an Aerospace Control Alert (ACA) mission, which means we have aircraft on the ramp, ready to go at a moment’s notice if for whatever reason they are called up by the Air Force to support North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) missions. The fabric shelters that the aircraft are in were built in 2008 and are temporary cloth-fabric shelters that sit out there in the inclement weather, they’re starting to get frayed and worn,” he added. “In the wintertime, they don’t hold heat very well, increasing our natural gas consumption to heat them to 50 degrees in order to expedite take-off during an alert launch.

“The shelters are reaching the end of their life cycle, which is about 10 years. We are looking to construct shelters that have actual fire suppression, good thermal rating for heat and basically a more permanent structure to help support the ACA mission.”

Once Congress gives approval, the 180FW will then move forward on the project.

The Toledo base employs about 1,000 people, according to Ferguson. Also during the week, the base has some civilian contractors, State of Ohio employees and fire department officials who also support its mission.

According to the 2016 180th Fighter Wing Annual Report, during fiscal year 2016, the 180FW contributed over $113 million in both direct and indirect economic support to the overall economy, of which over $95 million directly impacted the local region. The largest portion of this was $60 million in payroll expenses for all civilian and military personnel. The balance was spent on new construction projects, supplies, maintenance, and repair of existing facilities, support contracts, and general base operations.


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