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Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait partnership brings upgrades to ATC Tower

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Nicholas Larsen
  • 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

More than $6 million worth of upgrades will occur in the Ali Al Salem Air Base Air Traffic Control Tower thanks to nearly a decade-long project between the base and the Kuwaiti Air Force.

Plans for these upgrades began in 2014, but the physical construction of the project only began recently. Construction is scheduled to finish in September 2023, which places the overall timeline of the project months ahead of schedule.

“This has been a joint project with the [Kuwaitis], showing that we are working together to improve the facility for U.S. air traffic services as well as Kuwaiti and all of our coalition partners that utilize our airfield,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Sam Jones, the 407th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron airfield operations flight commander. “It has been a work in progress, and we’ve been pushing through together to get to this point.”

One major upgrade is the replacement of the beacon on top of the tower. The beacon brings increased safety to aircraft landing in poor weather, allowing all joint and coalition partners increased mission capabilities.

In addition, multiple other systems within the tower are being upgraded including: wiring, radio communications, antennas, electrical systems and communication switches. These upgrades bring increased reliability to the tower and allow for enhanced systems to be installed.

Furthermore, these upgrades improve the ability of host nation partners to implement the training they get in the United States.

“One thing for the [Kuwaitis] is they get trained at our school in America,” commented Allison Nielsen, 407th EOSS air traffic training manager and watch supervisor. “They’re learning what we have in the States and are trained on that equipment. We’re now upgrading the equipment here to be the equipment they were trained on.”

The installment of this new equipment is a major milestone for the United State’s enduring presence here ultimately increasing their support to the region.