New air-to-ground missiles and glide bombs have longer ranges that make it harder for enemies to shoot down the aircraft that launch them. But finding enough wide open spaces to test these weapons is a growing problem.
That's where Florida comes in.
Eglin Air Force Base's 46th Test Wing in the Florida Panhandle has devised a partial solution by using special barges and remote-controlled speedboats as targets in the Gulf of Mexico offshore.
To avoid releasing experimental weapons over populated areas, the military is limited in using launching sites at Eglin, which covers 724 square miles. That's two-thirds the size of Rhode Island.
The new munitions can be launched 20 miles or more from their targets.
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