Avon Park Bombing Range To Become Bigger Target

TAMPA -

The U.S. Navy has targeted the Avon Park Air Force Range as the replacement bombing range for its beleaguered base at Vieques, Puerto Rico. That range was closed after 60 years of use as a testing ground. After the acciental bombing death of a civilian guard, protested demanded closure of the base.

This change means more flights for Avon Park, which straddles the Polk-Highlands county line. The range is more than 100,000 acres and is the largest military range east of the Mississippi.

The Navy says the number of bombing runs will increase about 7,000 to 10,000 training sessions. Practice attacks will come from MacDill Air Force Base, as well as aircraft carriers based in the Atlantic and Gulf.

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