A C-17 recently touched down for the first time at Shindand Air Base in western Afghanistan, an event made possible by the base’s refurbished all-weather concrete runway that opened last December. The aircraft’s arrival ushered in a new era of air mobility support for coalition operations in that part of the nation, said USAF officials there. “This landing could not have taken place without the teamwork of many base agencies coming together in a total team effort,” said Capt. Billy Wilson of the 838th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group. The refurbished runway, built by the Soviets in 1961 and damaged in the early days of Operation Enduring Freedom, is 2,600 meters long and 27.5 meters wide. Within about two months, the Shindand flightline will be able to support two C-17s around-the-clock and simultaneous Afghan air force activities. (Kabul report by Capt. Jamie Humphries)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.