Airstrip expansion and helipad construction at Ie Jima Auxiliary Airfield proceeding steadily

Airstrip expansion and helipad construction at Ie Jima Auxiliary Airfield proceeding steadily


December 2, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

The expansion work on the airstrip simulating an LHD deck within Ie Jima Auxiliary Airfield is steadily progressing. It is believed that this construction is in preparation for takeoff and landing training of state-of-the-art F-35 stealth fighters , which are to be deployed from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in 2017, and MV-22 Osprey vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. Construction work began on August 28 this year, and is scheduled for completion in late August next year.

On November 28, Ryukyu Shimpo took photographs of the construction with a small RC helicopter. From the photographs it can be confirmed that preparations on the simulated LHD deck are progressing, and gravel has been spread for the expansion. There are circular raised points of ground, likely for helipads.
The construction was included in the 2015 U.S. Marine Corps Aviation Plan, and is supposed to support Osprey training. Aside from the simulated LHD deck, around 2013 land was tendered for quadrilateral helipads at four points, and for unpaved helipads. It is expected that there will be six helipads in total.

Once construction on the simulated LHD deck is completed, the plot is estimated to be approximately 107,000 square meters, about twice the size it was before, and will measure more than 800 meters across. The U.S. military plans to begin using the completed features halfway through 2017.

(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)

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