128th Air Refueling Wing to receive upgraded CATM range facility

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Ryan Kuntze
  • 128 ARW Public Affairs
Construction is underway at the 128th Air Refueling Wing, where the current Combat Arms Training and Maintenance range is being replaced by a $957,000 expanded range facility. 

Replacement of the CATM range started around the middle of October, and progress has been steady, said Bill Jasinski, the 128th Civil Engineer Squadron real property manager. 

An upgraded facility was necessary to consolidate the range facilities inside one building, Jasinski said. The expanded facility will be 4,000 sq. ft., whereas the previous range facility was only 1,200 sq. ft., he said. 

The old CATM range only allowed for eight students per class, while the new range will allow security forces to train more Airmen per class and reduce the number of classes taught each year, said Tech. Sgt. Anthony Harvey, a 128th Security Forces combat arms instructor. 

The expanded range will also include a combat arms training simulator, offering Airmen an opportunity for remedial weapons training without the use of live ammunition, Harvey said. 

During ammunition shortfalls, the CATS system can be used to qualify Airmen on a weapons platform, Harvey said. This situational adaptation for the CATS system will only be available for select personnel, though, he said. 

"The Combat Arms Training Simulator will allow us to train for specific scenarios," Harvey said. 

Such scenarios include quick-reaction environments, where a threat has to be identified and properly engaged in a very short period of time. 

"Nothing is better than live fire training, but this will maintain the necessary shooting skills," Harvey said. 

Weapons skills gained by using the CATS system will provide a comfort level for Airmen, which they can take overseas to forward operating locations, said Harvey. 

The CATS system is not limited to 128th Airmen, either. 

"Our plan is to allow local agencies to use the simulator," said Harvey. 

The simulator, which was previously located at the 440th Airlift Wing, was used by local police departments, the UW-Milwaukee ROTC, Civil Air Patrol and Army units. 

The new CATM range will also have a classroom and weapons' cleaning area in the same building, as opposed to the separate and smaller buildings used with the previous range, Harvey said. 

The expanded CATM and CATS range is expected to be complete by June 2010. 

Magill Construction Services, of Elkhorn, Wis., was awarded the contract for the new CATM range.