The Corps is greatly expanding and modernizing a bombing range in Georgia so pilots of F/A-18s and F-35s can train with precision-guided munitions.

Townsend Bombing Range, or TBR, located in Georgia, 82 miles southwest of Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina, will grow from 5,000 acres to more than 33,000 acres, according to Capt. Clay Groover, a Marine spokesman.

“The modernization of TBR includes installation of target and communications infrastructure, construction/improvement of roadways, and construction of new target areas,” Groover said in an emailed statement to Marine Corps Times Thursday.

The Townsend range is the premier air-to-ground bombing range on the East Coast.

It’s expansion and modernization will allow F/A-18 and F-35 pilots to train with “full-scale inert weapons; enabling use of inert PGM [ precision guided munitions]; and increasing weapons delivery parameters,” according to Groover.

And it will allow aircrews to fulfill 80-85 percent of their air-to-ground training requirements, up from 47 percent. For F-35 pilots, it will fulfill 100 percent of training requirements, according to Marine spokesman Capt. Christopher Harrison.

“This realistic training increases proficiency and enables Marine aviators, and the ground troops they support, to successfully accomplish the mission and return home safely,” Groover said.

Inside Defense was first to report this story.

Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.

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