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US carrying out major upgrade to Jordanian airbase

A US Air Force F-16 from the 55th Fighter Squadron arrives at the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing at an undisclosed location somewhere in Southwest Asia on 22 October. That location is almost certainly Shahid Muwaffaq al-Salti Air Base, with the frames for the new aircraft shelters visible in the background. (US Air Force)

The United States is in the process of upgrading Shahid Muwaffaq al-Salti Air Base near Al-Azraq in Jordan to turn it into a more permanent base, according to a solicitation released on 29 November.

The US Army Corps of Engineers released the solicitation to find a contractor to build a new air traffic control tower at an undisclosed location in Jordan. The attached architectural drawings showed an airbase that could be identified as Shahid Muwaffaq al-Salti.

The US military has never acknowledged its presence at the base, but satellite imagery shows it has hosted US Air Force (USAF) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and fast jets since at least 2016. A May 2019 solicitation identified it as the location of Forward Operating Base Fuller. The USAF has released photographs of its 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing at an “undisclosed location in southwest Asia” that can be geolocated to Shahid Muwaffaq al-Salti.

While the wing's aircraft are concentrated at the eastern end of the base's northern runway, the architectural drawings show the new upgrades will be carried out along the southern runway. In addition to the new tower, these include three new aprons, one for large C-17 and C-5 transport aircraft, another for smaller C-130 transports and CV-22 tiltrotors.

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