Special Use Airspace
Establishment of permanent SUA over and adjacent to the newly acquired lands in Johnson Valley is essential to the Combat Center's mission. As weapon systems continue to advance and provide military forces with increased capability for detecting and countering enemy threats from greater distances, adequate airspace is required to conduct the full scope of training exercises prescribed by Congress.
The Marine Corps is working with the FAA to establish additional and modify existing Special Use Airspace (SUA) to support these requirements. To support decision-making and negotiations on Special Use Airspace establishment, the Marine Corps is preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) that analyzes potential impacts of the Marine Corps’ permanent SUA proposal.
Different categories of SUA are used to support military training activities at MCAGCC. Due to the nature of the activities taking place within SUA, varying levels of restrictions are imposed on non-military aircraft in each area. These limitations allow the Department of Defense to conduct necessary training activities while preserving public safety. The military releases SUA for use by civil and commercial aviation when not needed for military operations.
There are four different types of SUA that are used by the military:
- Restricted Area (RA)
- Military Operating Areas (MOA)
- Controlled Firing Area (CFA)
- Military Training Routes (MTRs)
- Instrument Routes (IR)
- Visual Routes (VR)
USMC Combat Center Controlled Firing Area (view on YouTube or Facebook)
At MCAGCC, three different categories of SUA are used to support military training activities, including Restricted Area (RA), Military Operations Area (MOA), and Controlled Firing Area (CFA).
Restricted Airspace (RA)
Airspace above MCAGCC is classified as a Restricted Area (RA), in which the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has determined that air traffic must be segregated due to safety or security concerns during military training activities. On aeronautical charts, RA is depicted in blue with the letter “R” followed by a serial number. R-2501 represents MCAGCC’s RA.
Before flying through RA, a civilian pilot must confirm that the RA has been returned to the NAS for general use and management by ATC, or the pilot must secure permission from Range Control when MCAGCC retains use of the RA for military training.
Entering an RA without authorization and during military training will put your aircraft in danger from munitions fired by ground and airborne weapon systems. Additionally, unauthorized civilian overflights will halt live-fire training, causing the loss of critical military training opportunities. All pilots entering R-2501 without permission will be reported to the local Flight Standard District Office (FSDO).
Military Operations Area (MOA)
Military Operations Area (MOA) is designated outside of Class A airspace, up to 17,999 Mean Sea Level (MSL). A MOA separates or segregates certain non-hazardous military activities from Instrument Flight Rule (IFR) traffic, and identifies where these activities are conducted for Visual Flight Rule (VFR) traffic.
Controlled Firing Area (CFA)
Controlled Firing Area is airspace designated to contain activities that if not conducted in a controlled environment would be hazardous to non-participating aircraft. CFAs are an auxiliary tool used by the Marine Corps that provide the means to meet certain training requirements without impact to general aviation. When non-participating aircraft approach a CFA, the user (in this case, Combat Center Range Control) immediately terminates any hazardous activity. CFAs are not depicted on aeronautical charts due to the lack of impact to other aviation. For this reason, they are also not required to be published to Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs).
Who Controls MCAGCC Special Use Airspace?
MCAGCC Range Control manages MCAGCC’s SUA and returns airspace to the National Airspace System (NAS) for use by all aircraft when not required to support MCAGCC’s military training mission.
When it is not active, authorization to fly into R-2501 must come from the Los Angeles Air Traffic Control (ATC) Center. For current SUA status, contact Range Control Office (BEARMAT) 127.125 and check NOTAMs for airspace status in the vicinity of the Combat Center by visiting the FAA website and searching “NXP” and "ZLA".
The status of SUA is published as a part of the FAA’s Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) information distribution system. Pilots are encouraged to check NOTAMs for airspace status in the vicinity of MCAGCC. Visit the FAA website and search “NXP” and "ZLA" for updates.
For current SUA status, contact: Range Control Office (BEARMAT) on 127.125
For any other questions regarding Special Use Airspace or to join our email list to receive the latest information, please contact the Resource Management Group at (760) 830-3737 or send email to SMBPLMSJOHNSONVALLEY@USMC.MIL