Images: Camp Bastion runway officially becomes operational [Image 1 of 9]
Photo by Sgt. Derek Carlson
The first aircraft, a KC-130J Super Hercules, takes off from Camp Bastion as the first official aircraft to depart from the new runway during the Camp Bastion flightline ribbon-cutting ceremony in Afghanistan Feb. 10. The extensive three-year flightline project was a joint effort between Marines, sailors, airmen and local contractors. The new 11,500-foot runway allows the joint camps of Bastion and Leatherneck to receive air traffic from larger aircraft, such as the C-5 Galaxy, Boeing 737 and Antonov AN-124 Condor. Subsequently, it will assist in reducing the amount of civilian and military convoys traveling to and from Leatherneck and Bastion. This will reduce the threat of roadside improvised explosive devices, as well as reduce the number of aircraft needed to transport large numbers of service members within the area of operations. The previous 7,000-foot runway remains utilized as a taxiway for aircraft traveling to and from the airfield, while the new runway is now officially open for business.