Officials at Shindand AB, Afghanistan, recently opened a new 37,000-foot rotary wing staging area capable of parking 18 UH-60 Blackhawks, 14 CH-47 Chinooks, and 10 AH-64 Apaches. The apron will be used to stage and service helicopters belonging to Task Force Spearhead, according to a release. “The opening of the apron is just one of many construction projects taking place here at Shindand,” said Col. John Hokaj, commander of the 838th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group. “It is a critical milestone in moving forces to the Far East Expansion and the building of a new training runway.” Shindand became the second largest airfield in Afghanistan in July when construction projects nearly tripled the base’s size. Officials also hope to build a new 1.3-mile training runway for NATO aircraft beginning in early 2012.
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.