Precision Impact Range Area enhances test capabilities

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The Precision Impact Range Area offers unique targets for pilots and engineers to test aircraft and weapon systems at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The PIRA uses cutting-edge technology to measure Air Force capabilities. (Air Force photograph by Staff Sgt. Rachel Simones)

Winding roads snake through the desert and the hot summer sun scorches down on sandy expansions of land at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

Within these twisting roads and sandy spaces is one of the Air Force’s most valuable test resources, the Precision Impact Range Area.

“The PIRA provides exceptional mission support,” said Albert Moreno, a supervisory technical support specialist with the 412th Range Squadron. “It provides great feedback to the warfighter.”

For military and civilian organizations alike, the Air Force Test Center’s PIRA provides the space to experiment. The PIRA contains a variety of bomb targets, gunnery ranges, and drop zones. The plethora of space and variety of targets allows the PIRA to remain a premier test site for pilots and engineers.

“We help test everything that goes on the aircraft from laser imaging to targeting,” said Moreno. “We’re basically recording all the ground testing from what the aircraft does up in the air.”

From maintaining an infrared target board to offering mobile target systems, the PIRA provides resources that allow pilots to practice for precision.

“With the upgrades to our systems we’re able to get up-to-date information to the pilots as it’s happening live,” said Moreno.

The PIRA embodies innovation through daily improvements and resourceful ways of thinking. The employees work as a team to provide the most cutting-edge technology for pilots and engineers that test their aircraft and weapon systems at the range.

“The PIRA can provide a variety of data assessments and comparisons to meet all the requirements for all our different customers,” said Moreno.

Moreno is one of seven employees that operate the range and highlight how its functionality is achieved with minimal manpower. These employees keep costs for the Air Force low while maintaining a high-quality range.

“I feel like every day that I come to work it actually makes a difference to the warfighter, to the Air Force, and to the United States of America,” said Moreno. “I come to work with pride because I know that every day something we do here makes a difference.”