U.S. Air Force Ascension Island Auxiliary Airfield
Client: U.S. Air Force
Location: Ascension Island
Under the Air Force Contract Augmentation Program IV (AFCAP IV), Fluor is supporting the Air Force Civil Engineering Center (AFCEC) with repairing the strategically important Ascension Island Auxiliary Airfield runway.
Ascension Island is an isolated volcanic island south of the equator in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is part of the British Overseas Territory of St. Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha under the sovereignty of the British Crown. The airfield repair will support the Air Force and its global mission.
The 10,019-foot runway itself is owned by the U.S. Department of Defense and jointly operated by the United States Space Force (USSF) and the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force (RAF). The AFCEC's effort to upgrade the airfield's infrastructure is a critical requirement for the U.S. and U.K. governments. The outpost plays a significant role in the USSF and RAF missions in addition to 14 other missions spanning military, governmental and international agencies.
Built by the U.S. military during World War II, the runway had only received one overlay and minor repairs before the current construction. In recent years, deteriorating conditions of the runway surface meant missions to the island were reduced to only one or two flights a week. In 2017, it was announced that the runway needed a full-depth resurfacing, and in June 2020, the U.S. Department of Defense announced commercial flights would be suspended until repairs were completed.
Restoring the auxiliary airfield to its full capability is a critical requirement for the U.S. Department of Defense and U.K. Ministry of Defence. In January 2020, Fluor received a design-build task order to repair the runway, which entails a full-depth replacement of runway pavement for the entire runway, replacement of the approach lighting system, installation of a new storm drainage system and widening of the runway shoulders to 50 feet.
The Ascension Island Auxiliary Airfield is in a strategic location for the U.S. and U.K. governments, and the runway is the lifeline to the island. When Fluor's work is complete and fully operational capabilities of the runway are restored, the passenger airbridge will resume for the approximately 800 Ascension Island residents, tourists and soldiers, and the crucial freight needed by the island inhabitants.