|This jet, N635AX, operated by the private company ATAC flew repeated combat jet fighting missions over the Tohono O'odham Nation during the last two weeks of March 2023. It is based at Luke AFB Phoenix.
By Brenda Norrell
Copyright Censored News
Updated April 11, 2023
GU-VO District, Tohono O'odham Nation -- Jet combat fights above the western Tohono O'odham Nation this week endangered the lives of O'odham, who were not informed. The jets were identified as being owned by the private training company, ATAC, Airborne Tactical Advantage Company, which uses second-hand jets. It is not the U.S. military.
The company, ATAC, based in Virginia, flew out of Phoenix and engaged in simulated air combat over the Tohono O'odham District of Gu-Vo between 7 and 9 p.m. local time on Wednesday. ATAC has air combat training contracts with the U.S. Navy, Marines and Air Force.
"Living out here on the land, we are not fully informed, and we have not given permission for them to fly over us," said Ofelia Rivas, Tohono O'odham, who lives in Gu-Vo District.
Rivas points out the high risk for O'odham who live on the land, pointing out the extreme danger for O'odham. Due to the remote area, there are slow responses to fuel spills and crashes.
"Constant sonic booms over Ali Jeg'k village along the US/Mexico border have shaken the ground of the entire valley. My adobe brick house has many cracks and the roof seal to the walls are cracked from the sonic booms," Rivas said.
"The effects on the people, animals, insects, and plants must be evaluated by experts to document the impacts and alteration, especially the health effects on people in the village."
Tohono O'odham could see the jets engaged in battle overhead but were given no information.Why are jets endangering Tohono O'odham with this continual jet combat fighting?
Jet fighter training crashes have already ended in death for the foreign military being trained in southern Arizona, including an Iraqi pilot in 2017, and a pilot from Taiwan in 2016. In 1997, a woman jet pilot was killed in a crash at Goldwater Bombing Range, west of the Tohono O'odham Nation. ATAC has a history of crashes during jet training exercises.
Tohono O'odham Endangered by Jet Combat Overhead This Week
ATAC, was created by former military officers and has a history of crashes and accidents, including accidents during jet training while pilots were based on Fallon Paiute Shoshone land in Nevada.
The U.S. Air Force, in 2015, in a cost-saving measure, began hiring private companies operating fleets of old, cheap-to-fly foreign jet fighters to serve as the aggressors for training.
ATAC has operations based at Luke Air Force Base, in Glendale, in the Phoenix area. It has acquired second-hand jets from the militaries of both France and Israel. The jets from Israel are Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) Kfirs.
ATAC trains foreign military pilots for jet combat fighting in the skies of southern Arizona, usually with no warning to those below. In Arizona, this includes Tohono O'odham, San Carlos Apache and White Mountain Apache living in their homelands.
Training combat jet over San Carlos Apache Nation on Friday
Surveillance used in Palestine now targets Tohono O'odham
(Below) Integrated Fixed Towers, known as spy towers, built by the Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems are shown in yellow on the Tohono O'odham Nation on the Arizona border. The yellow also shows spy towers in the border town of Ajo, Arizona, and along the Arizona border toward the east, with spy towers in New Mexico to the Texas border.
The contracts to Elbit Systems were first granted by U.S. Homeland Security. Then 10 of the spy towers by Elbit Systems were approved by the Tohono O'odham Nation government in 2019. Elbit's contracts were celebrated in Israel, where Elbit is based. Screenshot by Censored News.
"First and foremost, the proposal would directly impact three tribal communities -- the Tohono O’odham Nation, White Mountain Apache Tribe, and San Carlos Apache Tribe."
Grijalva said public health experts link noise pollution directly to hearing loss, high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. The Air Force EIS must include impacts of noise, including sonic booms, he said.
Pointing out the clean water and habitat for wildlife, including many threatened wildlife, Grijalva said the proposed use of chaff over Arizona airspace includes wilderness areas and sensitive ecosystems. He said this is alarming.
One of the multiple fighting jets above the western portion of the Tohono O'odham Nation on Wednesday evening, this Dassault Mirage F1CT owned by the private company ATAC. Screenshot by Censored News.
A F-16A Fighting Falcon owned by General Dynamics engages in jet combat fighting above the western portion of the Tohono O'odham Nation on Wednesday evening. Flight Radar Screenshot by Censored News.
(Tribune News Service) —The Air Force wants to start flying lower-altitude supersonic flights and expand nighttime flying hours over 10 military training airspaces spanning thousands of square miles across Arizona and a small part of New Mexico.
The Air Force says the changes to the special-use airspaces called Military Operations Areas, or MOAs, are needed to optimize training conducted by units at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, the Morris Air National Guard Base at Tucson International Airport, and Luke Air Force Base near Phoenix.
The proposed changes would affect the adjacent Sells, Ruby and Fuzzy MOAs, stretching southwest of Tucson from Interstate 19 to near Ajo; the Tombstone MOA, which covers the southeast corner of Arizona and southwest corner of New Mexico; the adjacent Bagdad and Gladden MOAs northwest of Phoenix; and the Outlaw, Jackal, Morenci and Reserve MOAs, which together stretch across a huge swath of east-central Arizona into New Mexico.
ATAC Accidents and incident
- 8 July 2010
- Douglas A-4 Skyhawk N132AT lost power during takeoff and crashed in a field near Naval Air Station Fallon. The pilot ejected safely. Investigations by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) were completed.
- 6 March 2012
- IAI Kfir N404AX crashed into a building near at Naval Air Station Fallon in inclement weather, killing the pilot. Investigations by the FAA and NTSB were completed.
- 18 May 2012
- Hawker Hunter N329AX crashed in a field on final approach to Naval Air Station Point Mugu, killing the pilot. Investigations by the FAA and NTSB have been completed.
- 29 October 2014
- Hawker Hunter N332AX crashed in a field near Naval Air Station Point Mugu, killing the pilot. Investigations by the FAA and NTSB have been completed.
- 22 August 2017
- Hawker Hunter crashed about 100 miles off the coast of San Diego, California. The pilot was able to eject and was recovered by a U.S. Navy helicopter from aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt.
- 25 February 2021
- Mirage F1B slid off the end of the runway at Tyndall Air Force Base. Both pilots were transported to the local hospital.:
- 14 April 2021
- Hawker Hunter N331AX suffered a runway excursion incident at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma.
- 6 June 2022
- Hawker Hunter N337AX crashed approximately 41 nautical miles off the coast of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. The pilot was able to eject, suffering a spinal injury upon ejection. Investigations by the FAA and NTSB are in work.
|ATAC jet crashed at Fallon on Paiute Shoshone ancestral lands
in Nevada in 2012, killing the pilot. It was the second crash here
in two years.
- Article copyright Brenda Norrell, Censored News. Content may not be used without written permission.