Bombing range

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A JDAM being tested on a bombing range at, Eglin Air Force Base, 10 February 1993

A bombing range is an area used for testing explosive ordnance and practicing to accurately direct them to the target. Bombing ranges are used for munitions that either explode or produce too much destruction to use at a shooting range, such as kinetic energy penetrators or very large caliber bullets. Bombing ranges are usually used by highly organized military organizations. Terrorists and rebels are likely to test weapons where most convenient and not use a strictly defined area because the explosions attract attention and long-term safety is not a consideration.

Bombing ranges pose several hazards, even when not in use or closed. Unexploded ordnance is often the biggest threat. Once a bombing range has been permanently closed, they are sometimes cleared of unexploded ordnance so that the land can be put to other use or to reduce the chance of accidental detonation causing harm to people near the range, trespassers or authorized personnel. Cleanup or complete cleanup may be put off indefinitely depending on the cost, the danger to personnel clearing the area, the land's potential use, the likelihood of an explosion being triggered and the probability of someone being around to trigger or be harmed by an explosion.

The wreckage can also be hazardous. Bomb fragments and other wreckage can cause lacerations and puncture wounds if not removed before the land is put to other uses, such as farming or recreation, or if it is handled by curious trespassers or untrained salvagers. The fragments, wreckage and residues may also contain toxic substances or be radioactive. Exposure can come from direct contact, but it can also come offsite by the air, from surface or groundwater contamination or by the uptake of toxins by plants and animals consumed by humans. Which route of exposure is most likely depends on the type of substances present, the proximity of inhabited areas and whether unauthorized personnel trespass on the range. Developing nations and those in an economic crisis often have a haphazard salvage industry involved in legal and illegal activities. In these areas, bombing ranges are scoured for salvageable metals. Unusual items, sometimes the most dangerous, are made into trinkets. The danger is greatly increased when the materials are melted down or worked by hand, exposing workers to toxic fumes or radiation.