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Yokota Air Base, a US Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force base in Fussa, Japan, has broken ground on an Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) airfield apron.

Members from the Yokota Air Base, AFSOC, US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and Nippo participated in the programme.

The AFSOC complex will provide a permanent home for the 21st Special Operations Squadron’s CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor transport aircraft with the addition of the new apron.

Commander of 21st SOS Lt Col Jason Hock said: “The project will ensure the 21st SOS has the permanent capability needed to effectively execute long-range infiltration and exfiltration missions, and provide disaster relief support in the event of crisis or contingency.

“Forward-basing the CV-22 at Yokota provides an increased level of security, disaster preparedness, and emergency airlift capability during crisis situations that will allow US Forces to support of the defence of Japan and the region.”

Japanese construction company Nippo won the US-funded military construction project through the USACE.

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The US Army Corps of Engineers awarded the $63m contract in August 2019. Construction is expected to be completed in 2022.

Commander of 374th Airlift Wing Col Oits Jones said: “I am proud that our team here at Yokota is able to accommodate such an important project for our mission partners.

“We look forward to seeing this lead to increased capabilities for our airforce and an opportunity to strengthen our relations with our community and mission partners.”

Japan Engineer District (JED), AFSOC, Yokota and Nippo have taken several measures in the design and construction to minimise impact to the surrounding communities.

JED commander Col Thomas Verrell Jr said: “From ensuring the storm water drainage of the completed campus does not significantly change its current status to utilising innovative procedures for contractor access, which minimises off-base traffic congestion, we worked diligently to ensure the local communities will see little impact with the new construction.”