News: Ceremony marks the completion of an aviation apron extension
Story by Karla Marshall
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD – The first phase of a three-part upgrade to increase ramp space on Kandahar Airfield was completed recently and celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony, June 26.
Col. Anthony Funkhouser, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Afghanistan Engineer District-South; Lt. Col. Treavor Bellandi, a command engineer; Maj. Edward Phillips, construction management officer for southern Afghanistan, U.S. Air Forces Central; Contrack International, Inc. representatives and others celebrated the completion of the apron extension.
“This project included pouring more than 19,000 square meters [approximately 22,724 square yards] of concrete,” said Brian Zickefoose, resident engineer at the Kandahar Airfield Resident Office. “The expanded apron can now accommodate additional rotary wing aircraft and will extend ISAF’s [International Security Assistance Force] ability to conduct missions more frequently, safely and efficiently.”
Bellandi agreed and added that, “by constructing this project, all of KAF benefits because we are able to alleviate some of the aircraft storage and maintenance requirements for them as well.”
This project is just one of several airfield upgrades that AED-South has completed recently and signed over to U.S. Air Forces Central. Those projects included a runway and strategic apron at Tarin Kowt, a cargo yard at Forward Operating Base Shank, a close air support ramp, a taxiway and an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance apron at Kandahar Airfield.
“The Air Force fights from airfields, and the concrete placed in these projects represents a huge capacity to park aircraft,” said Phillips.
“The dispersed locations of these airfield upgrades around Afghanistan allow aircraft to be closer to the fight; this equals fewer convoys and less time to reach troops in contact,” said Phillips. Helicopters allow for the movement of troops and cargo to areas previously only accessible by road. “If we eliminate the dangers of traveling by ground and transport faster, we are more effective,” Phillips said. “Speed is critical when moving food, ammunition, or medical supplies.”
At a construction cost of $4.75 million, this latest apron extension is the first phase of a three-phased, $30.5 million construction plan that will provide additional platforms to support rotary, strategic, and tactical airlift assets, such as the CH-47, C-5, and C-130 respectively.
Zickefoose said that it was important to move quickly on this phase to keep the construction pace swift. “The next two phases hinged on successful completion of the first, so we are tracking to finish the entire project by next spring.”
The contract to construct the apron extension and was awarded to Contrack International, Inc. in September 2010 and construction began in late November.