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US Air Force gets $152 million in upgrades underway at base in Romania

U.S. Air Force airmen prepare to launch F-16C Fighting Falcons at Campia Turzii, Romania, in 2019, in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve. The Air Force has plans to spend $152 million on upgrades to the base, including a ''dangerous cargo pad'' to support aircraft with up to 30,000 pounds in explosives.

ANDREW LAYTON/U.S. AIR FORCE

By JENNIFER H. SVAN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 17, 2021

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Major improvements to a Romanian base are set to begin this summer as the U.S. Air Force looks to boost its presence and support larger NATO missions in the strategically important Black Sea region.

The $152 million in construction projects will enable Campia Turzii air base to support heavy cargo aircraft, host fighter jets and deployed personnel, and quickly respond to any security issues in the region, the Air Force said. The upgrades will also allow the former Soviet airfield to safely receive and store munitions.

The Cold War-era base in central Romania is expected to serve as a rotational hub in the future.

The work is being paid for through the European Deterrence Initiative, a program launched in June 2014 to reassure U.S. allies in Europe after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

“Campia Turzii Air Base is one of the primary sources for United States European Command and its Service Components’ ability to respond to an evolving European security environment,” the Air Force said in its 2021 budget request for EDI funds.

Last year, the U.S. and Romania signed a 10-year road map for defense cooperation that put increased focus on security around the Black Sea, an area where Moscow in recent years has increased activity and installed sophisticated air defense systems.

The Air Force will award about $130 million in construction funds at the base this year, said Darren Walls, an Air Force construction program manager.

The work includes a $30 million “dangerous cargo pad” to support C-5 Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster aircraft, and a new parking apron to accommodate fighter jets and transport planes. Dangerous cargo pads are paved areas where explosives and other hazardous cargo can be loaded and unloaded from aircraft.

“The semicircular concrete cargo pad will be able to support a 30,000-pound net explosive weight and will consist of supporting infrastructure such as taxiway access to the pad, a marshalling yard and an access road to a munitions storage,” Walls said in a statement.

Two other projects include a $32 million fuel storage facility and $68 million storage complex for the Air Force’s new deployable air base system, a “base in a box” kit filled with equipment needed to stand up air operations.

Other projects scheduled for this year include a munitions storage area with two 1,500-square-foot earth-covered magazines and an access road to link the two facilities.

The Air Force has already spent more than $14 million to modernize infrastructure, such as base lighting.

The projects at Campia Turzii are being led and coordinated by the Air Force Civil Engineer Center, the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center’s Detachment 4, U.S. Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Romania’s Defense Ministry.

svan.jennifer@stripes.com
Twitter: @stripesktown

A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III delivers support equipment to Campia Turzii, Romania, in 2019. The Air Force has plans to spend $152 million on upgrades to the base, including a ''dangerous cargo pad'' to support aircraft with up to 30,000 pounds in explosives.
ANDREW LAYTON/U.S. AIR FORCE