Navy hangar construction continues

by Airman 1st Class John Linzmeier, 18th Wing Public Affairs
Kadena Air Base

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Construction is nearly halfway complete on a project to relocate U.S. Navy aircraft operations on Kadena Air Base.

Operations conducted by the U.S. Navy will be relocated from the northern runway toward the center of the base, resulting in a reduced amount of noise leaving Kadena upon the construction's projected completion in mid to late 2017.

"It's our responsibility to be good stewards and good neighbors," said Maj. Joel Hearn, 718th Civil Engineer Squadron engineering flight commander. "As the Navy operations move from one side of the runway to the other, I think the local population will notice a big difference right away."

The project began April 1, 2011, as part of a Special Action Committee of Okinawa agreement to lessen the impact on our neighboring communities. Construction is funded by the government of Japan and is managed by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"One of the really good things is that the majority of contractors hired are from the local community," said Hearn. "We'd much rather have it that way because it makes it so much easier for them to engage with base leadership."

The hangars under construction will require less energy to operate, reducing the environmental impact of operations, and will be capable of supporting the U.S. Navy's current inventory of aircraft.

"There has been a lot of cooperation between the Government of Japan's local staff and Kadena Air Base to keep the progress of those projects on schedule," said Hani Rophael, 18th Civil Engineer Group Government of Japan Design and Construction section chief, "We're trying to support the contractors in every way we can and they are doing a good job at staying on schedule."

Construction is to be accomplished in three phases, beginning with a culvert and drainage project, a new parking apron, upgraded taxiways and utility lines. Phase II is approximately halfway complete, entailing the construction of the new hangars and several supporting facilities.

Phase III will include the widening of current taxiways and an aircraft warm-up pad.

"There's going to be a lot of useful facilities for the Navy," said Hearn. "As far as the Air Force is concerned, the projects are helping upgrade and widen our taxiways. For those living to the north of the base, there will definitely be a lot less noise off base coming from U.S. aircraft. It's win/win all the way around."

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