Is the New B-21 Bomber Fleet Coming to Dyess Air Force Base?Press Release
ABILENE, TX – The U.S. Air Force (USAF) announced that Northrop Grumman Corporation was awarded a contract in 2015 for Engineering and Manufacturing Development and the early production of the Long Range Strike Bomber. The Secretary of the Air Force announced that the new bomber would be formally called the B-21 "Raider," in honor of the Doolittle Raiders of World War II.
A 'Notice of Availability' has recently been published into the Federal Register announcing that the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the B-21 MOB 1 Beddown at Dyess AFB, Texas or Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, is now available for public review and comment.
This Draft EIS considers the Air Force proposal for MOB 1 to host B-21 Operational Squadrons, a B-21 Formal Training Unit, and a Weapons Generation Facility. The publication of the NOA on September 25, 2020, begins the 46-day public comment period, which is set to end on November 9, 2020.
The Air Force is also providing an early notice of compliance with Executive Order (EO) 11990, Protection of Wetlands, and EO 11988, Floodplain Management. State and federal regulatory agencies with special expertise in wetlands and floodplains have been contacted to request comment.
In compliance with the Centers for Disease Control guidelines for best practices in order to contain the spread of COVID-19, the Air Force has decided to host four virtual public hearings to allow members of the public to learn about the project and provide verbal public feedback.
These virtual hearings will provide an overview of the Draft EIS, including a description of the project’s alternatives, as well as the associated potential environmental impacts the project could contain.
The public hearings will be held on the following dates and times. Please note that while two public hearings will be held in Central Standard Time (CST) to accommodate Texas residents with two additional public hearings being held in Mountain Standard Time (MST) to accommodate South Dakota residents, the content will be the same at all virtual hearings, and are open to all members of the public.
- Tuesday, October 13, 2020, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. CST
- Thursday, October 15, 2020, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. CST
- Tuesday, October 20, 2020, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. MST
- Thursday, October 22, 2020, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. MST
The B-21 will operate under the direction of the USAF Global Strike Command and the aircraft will have both conventional and nuclear roles capable of penetrating and surviving in the most advanced air defense environments.
The B-21 Raider will eventually replace existing B-1 and B-2 bomber aircraft. The beddown of the B-21 will take place through a series of three Main Operating Bases (MOB), referred to as MOB 1, MOB 2, and MOB 3. The Air Force proposes to beddown MOB 1, which includes B-21 Operational Squadrons, a B-21 Formal Training Unit, and a Weapons Generation Facility in this EIS. The additional two MOB locations (MOB 2 and MOB 3) would be evaluated in future NEPA analyses, after the location for MOB 1 is chosen.
The Environmental Impact Statement will consider two beddown locations for MOB 1, where B-21 Raider training and operational activities would take place: Dyess Air Force Base (AFB), Texas and Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota. The EIS will also address B-21 aircraft operations. The Powder River Training Complex would be the primary training area for aircraft operations for either basing location and Dyess AFB would utilize additional airspace within the Brownwood Military Operating Area (MOA), Lancer MOA, and the Pecos MOA.
Meeting links and instructions will be distributed to all registered attendees after registration and prior to all virtual public hearings.
All public hearings can also be accessed by cell phone at 1-877-853-5247, Meeting ID: 813 4560 9980, Meeting Password: 0903275.
The Draft EIS and supporting materials are available for download on the project website at www.B21EIS. com. In the event that alternate arrangements need to be made for te delivery of printed or hard copy materials, please send a request to the public website or contact the Dyess AFB Public Affairs office at 325-696-4820, or after hours 325-268-6554.
All public comments on the Draft EIS must be submitted to the public website by November 9, 2020 to be considered in the Final EIS.
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