More than 1,000 military personnel are set to converge on Salina and the surrounding area next week though the end of the month to participate in the joint-service exercise, Jaded Thunder.
According to Melissa McCoy with Salina Regional Airport, the deployment will include close air support training, live fire events, aircraft familiarization and integration by members of Air Force, Navy and Army units, as well as representatives of the U.S. Special Operations Command.
McCoy adds that Salina Regional Airport’s close proximity to the Smoky Hill Air National Guard Weapons Range is key for this type of training.
The less time pilots spend in the air getting to the training venue, the more time, and fuel, they can spend over it training the guys on the ground and sharpening their own skills. This location, coupled with a supportive community, make Salina a preferred location for military training.
McCoy says Salina residents shouldn’t worry if they hear any loud bangs; out on the weapons range they will be destroying mock enemies and using inert ordnance.
The SLN air traffic control tower will work with the units to keep the planes west of the city when possible.
A similar exercise also dubbed Jaded Thunder used Salina Regional Airport as their base of operations last June.