In July 2000 a proposition was submitted for construction of a new airfield northeast of Cedar Pass, within the restricted area. The purpose was stated as training ground for airlift operations for air and ground crews under simulated battlefield conditions, particularly short takeoffs and landings. Without giving any reason, the proposed size of the airfield was almost tripled in a November 2000 amendment.
Construction of the new airfield, named the KENO airstrip, was completed in June 2003. The new 7100ft. by 90ft. gravel runway is located on the east slope of the Kawich Mountain Range. The runway is suitable for use by transport aircraft such as the C-17 or C-130, and its location makes it the only airstrip in the ranges for training troops in airdrops in mountainous terrain. There are also several mobile radar sites and SAM sites nearby, which make the training environment even more realistic for the pilots, simulating airdrops in a hostile environment (see link below). The approximate GPS coordinates of the KENO Airfield, based on visual observations, are N 37°47.45' / W 116°15.52' to N 37°46.32' / W 116°15.06'.
Recently a request has been submitted and approved for the addition of runway lighting. To simulate a more realistic scenario the lighting will only be visible with night vision equipment. This addition is scheduled to be completed in Spring of 2005.
Panorama of the new KENO Airfield; north is to the right. Klick image to enlarge.