Army exploring expansion of Yuma Proving Ground

By Evan Ochsner / September 9, 2022 at 10:18 AM

The Army is seeking to expand Yuma Proving Ground, AZ, by 22,000 acres to be able to test emerging parachute methods at the site, according to a notice published Friday.

The notice of intent to prepare a legislative environmental impact statement says the additional land would improve public safety and allow for additional testing and training of advances in GPS-guided parachute technologies. The additional land would allow a buffer area in case of errors or failures during parachute tests and would allow for higher altitude releases.

“Currently, because of land and airspace limitations, systems are not tested to their full capability for altitude and precision,” the Army said in the notice. “Higher-elevation and GPS-guided air delivery methods are being developed to provide better support to soldiers and other personnel in the field.”

The additional land is currently managed by the Bureau of Land Management, and if added to YPG, would extend its area to Arizona State Route 95. Doing so would provide a physical landmark between BLM land and YPG ground land, which the area currently lacks, the notice states. The Army has seen members of the public unintentionally cross over onto YPG because of the lack of a physical landmark, it said in the listing.

The Army uses the 1,300-square-mile proving ground to test a wide range of capabilities, including artillery, aircraft and munitions. The Army’s request is for about 34 additional square miles.