Army to Build $29 Million “Battle Course” at PohakuloaAugust 16, 2013, 7:15 PM HST (Updated August 19, 2013, 10:49 AM)
The US Army’s Hawai`i Garrison announced today its intent to build a $29 million Infantry Platoon Battle Course (IPBC) at the Pohakuloa Training Area.
The course is intended to serve the needs of Army and National Guard units stationed in the islands.
According to the Description of the Proposed Action issued by the US military, the new training course could bring up to 158 new live-fire exercises for infantry and Stryker brigades every year to Pohakuloa.
The exercises will include light infantry training events both day and night, including reconnaissance, attack, defend and raid operations. Units would engage targets while moving between objectives on the course.
All course structures, including trenches and target emplacements would replicate typical threat scenarios faced in the field, containing battle-sound effects simulators. Mortar simulation devices will also be employed to replicate enemy munitions.
The IPBC course will also incorporate the use of thermal targets and night illumination devices. All targets will be fully-automated and powered by photovoltaic panels.
The new training exercises will be located within the impact area at PTA where no ranges currently exist, and will span approximately 110 acres.
Army units will deploy to PTA by helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft from Oahu.
Equipment supporting the unit training deployments will be transported using up to 66 Logistic Support Vessels (LSV) and four barge round trips per year entering into the military dock at Kawaihae Harbor, before being taken to PTA by military convoy using Queen K Highway, Mamalahoa Highway and the Saddle Road.
The military expects to fire more than 1.7 million rounds of rifle and machine gun-class rounds of ammunition per year at the new training course.
In addition, over 1,800 grenades and approximately 4,500 assorted munitions including C-4, Mortar, and Claymore explosives are expected to be used.
While over 9,800 rounds are expected to be fired from attack and assault helicopters during exercises, the planned training course isn’t expected to cause an increase in overall helicopter activity at PTA.
The Pohakuloa Training area, located in a high plateau on Hawai`i Island between Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa and Hualalai Volcanoes, has long been a point of controversy on the island. Housing more endangered species than any other US military installation, the area was also once a hunting ground for ancient Hawaiians.
Today, parts of the PTA facility are periodically opened to Big Island hunters.