The U.S. Air Force is looking to boost its presence in Romania and upgrade an air base there to support larger NATO missions in the strategically important Black Sea region.
It will spend $152 million in construction projects to enable Campia Turzii air base in central Romania 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 Cold-War era airfield to safely receive and store munitions, Stars and Stripes reported.
The base is expected to serve as a rotational hub in the future.
The Air Force is planning to award a $130 million undertaking this year to optimize the mission out of Romania’s air base.
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.
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 air defense systems, the publication reported.
Work on the base this year 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.
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.
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 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.