The runway on Osan AB, South Korea, reopened to flight operations after a six-week closure for renovation work on Sept. 15, officials announced. “We made significant repairs to our runway that will enable us to continue operating at the highest sortie utilization rate in the Air Force and enable us to maintain the largest flying hour program” within Pacific Air Forces, 51st Fighter Wing Commander Col. Andrew Hansen said in a release. The $6.4 million renovation included runway surface repairs, widening of three taxiways, and installation of new lighting, reported Stars and Stripes. Osan’s A-10s, F-16s, and U-2s temporarily operated from nearby Suwon Air Base for the past 45 days, logging some 800 fighter flying-hours and 400 strategic reconnaissance flying hours from the temporary operating base. Aircraft of Osan’s 25th Fighter Squadron, 36th FS, and 5th Reconnaissance Squadron returned to the base last week.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.