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Base makes room for more rotary wing aircraft in Afghanistan

24th August 2011 - 07:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


Shindand Air Base, Afghanistan, increased its capacity recently when officials opened a new rotary wing apron with a goal of increasing capability to stage rotary wing aircraft.

Approximately 112,000 meters in size, the apron has the ability to park 18 UH-60 Blackhawks, 14 CH-47 Chinooks and 10 AH-64 Apache helicopters.

The apron will be used as a staging and servicing area for units belonging to Task Force Spearhead, which also operate out of Shindand.

The project started in September and was completed four months ahead of schedule, officials said.

"The opening of the apron is just one of many construction projects taking place here at Shindand," said Col. John Hokaj, the commander of the 838th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group. "It is a critical milestone in moving forces to the Far East Expansion and the building of a new training runway."

Agencies contributing to the project included the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tetra Tech Incorporated, Yuksel Incorporated and members of the 838th AEAG. The private contractors employed more than 230 employees to help finish the project early.

Although the apron is not currently slated to be a staging area for medical evacuations, it will eventually be handed over to the Afghan air force for their use in facilitation of operational missions.

"We continue to work hard in developing Shindand with a goal of the base becoming the crown jewel of the Afghan air force," Hokaj said. "This project is the culmination of a lot of hard work and effort put forth by different organizations, and I'm glad to be associated with the outcome."

In July, construction projects expanded Shindand to nearly three times its original size, making it the second largest airfield throughout Afghanistan. The ultimate goal of the expansion is to make room for a new 1.3-mile NATO training runway; construction is scheduled to begin early 2012.

By Capt. Jamie Humphries - 438th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs


The Shephard News Team


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