New fence planned to keep wild animals off Naval Air Station Meridian runways

By ERIN KELLY | The Meridian Star | Published: January 14, 2020

MERIDIAN, Miss. (Tribune News Service) — The Mississippi Development Authority has offered a grant of $3 million for a new fence at NAS Meridian to keep wild animals out of the path of aircraft, a Navy official said Tuesday.

The approximately 15 miles of chain-link fence would be buried several feet underground, according to Community Planning and Liaison Officer Jim Copeland.

In recent years, deer, cattle, hogs and coyotes have reached the property and a local farmer reported that a hunter killed a sow near the fence line last month, Copeland said.

Pigs have a low center of gravity and can cause a plane to lose control if they come in contact with the nose wheel, he said.

In 1988, the pilot of an F-16 fighter jet was forced to eject after the jet struck wild pigs at Jacksonville International Airport, the Associated Press reported.

The pilot survived, and the $16 million jet was destroyed.

The new fence at NAS Meridian would be constructed on the inside of an existing fence that surrounds the base.

Copeland said the Secretary of the Navy would need to approve the gift from the MDA, which could happen by the summer.

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