Mountain Home Air Force Base’s use of nine southern Idaho cities for urban close-air support training has run into a stumbling block.

Seems some Idaho residents don’t like it at all.

A lawsuit to halt the training exercises was filed Monday in the U.S. District Court of Idaho by Boise residents and an environmental organization called Great Old Broads for Wilderness, the Idaho Press reported.

Among their complaints is that the Air Force began “conducting project training operations over the urban centers” before the review process was complete, indicating a decision had already been made, according to plaintiffs for the attorneys.

The Air Force says the realistic training in city settings is needed to prepare for “urban environments encountered in combat.”

A little more than a year ago, the Air Force began notifying the public about its plan to establish ground and airspace training areas in nine urban centers near Mountain Home to accommodate urban CAS proficiency training by F-15E aircrews with the 366th Fighter Wing, with ground support from joint terminal attack controllers.

Once the air and ground spaces were identified and their use was coordinated with local officials, the Air Force planned to move its existing urban CAS operations from the base to the cities.

The training, up to 160 events each year, consists of “elecrontically simulated engagement of designated targets across a range of large, medium and small urban centers,” according to a January 2018 description of the proposal for an environmental impact study.

Establishment of Urban Close Air Support Air and Ground Training Spaces

The Strike Eagles fly at 10,000 to 18,000 feet above ground level within a 30-nautical-mile operating area above the cities, with targets identified through “low power, eye-safe lasers,” the Air Force said.

Meanwhile, teams of unarmed JTACs in civilian clothes drive around city streets with radio communications gear to direct the simulated air strikes.

“Realistic urban CAS training requires that all members of each ground support team behave in a manner typical of any community member to avoid drawing attention to themselves or the operations,” the proposal noted. The airmen might briefly get out of their vehicles and walk over to a sidewalk or parking lot “to establish or re-establish communications with aircrews,” it added.

“All activities would be conducted in accordance with local laws and ordinances and with the goal of leaving no trace of their activities,” the description of plans and alternatives stated.

A November assessment found the training would have no significant environmental impact, military officials said.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the reality of fighter jets screaming overhead to conduct simulated target practice on their hometowns did not sit well with everyone in southern Idaho.

The lawsuit lists potential hazards and says the Air Force did not do enough to inform the public or municipalities about its plans.

The Air Force had not filed a response to the lawsuit by Wednesday and a call seeking comment was not immediately returned, the newspaper reported.

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