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New ramps provide Bagram increased airpower capability

by Capt. Michael Meridith
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

9/28/2007 - BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan (AFPN) -- Two new flightline ramps opened Sept. 27 at Bagram Air Base and brings new capabilities to coalition air operations, NATO and Air Force officials said. 

The $9.3 million joint venture between the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency and the Yuksel Construction Co. provides significantly more parking space for helicopters and the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing's F-15E Strike Eagles and A-10 Thunderbolts, said Kevin Cullen, the project manager.

"These ramps represent a vision of continuous improvements in our warfighting capability," said Royal Netherlands Maj. Gen. Freek Meulman, the International Security Assistance Force's deputy commander for air. "They will serve as launch pads and resting sites for the long-term commitment of our coalition in the fight to achieve safety and security in Afghanistan." 

The project helped to provide a boost to the local economy while at the same time met the project's stringent requirements, Mr. Cullen said. 

"We employed about 80 Afghan workers for the project," said Mr. Cullen. The project was finished on-time, on specification and within budget. 

"These ramps represent quite a bit of capability for Bagram," said Col. Dan Debree, the vice commander of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing. "I fly in the F-15E and this is something we desperately needed. Although ramp space here has increased by 70 percent in two years, it doesn't matter because a quick look will show you that every bit of it is used up." 

General Meulman said the ramp was just the latest in a continuing series of projects designed to increase Bagram AB's ability to support coalition efforts throughout Afghanistan. 

"We will continue to work together in building what I call an overwhelming capability in our common mission toward security and stability throughout Afghanistan. This new ramp will provide a long-lasting base for our dedicated Airmen, who are committed to executing their challenging job here in Afghanistan," General Meulman said. 

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