Oct. 19 (UPI) -- The Wake Island Airfield, regarded as among the most isolated installations in the U.S. military, is undergoing an $87 million upgrade, the Air Force said.
The infrastructure modernizations include improvements to the deteriorating runway, new lighting, and grounding and pavement markings to support mission readiness and global air mobility, the Air Force Civil Engineering Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, announced.
California-based contractor AECOM won the contract for the improvements in 2019, and is expected to complete the project in early 2021.
"The remote location of the Wake atoll required extensive logistics planning to ship construction equipment, material, parts and supplies which we successfully accomplished in November 2019," Capt. David Leonard, AFCEC project manager, said in a press release.
The three-island atoll in the Pacific Ocean, halfway between Hawaii and Japan, has been a U.S. possession since 1898, and has been under control of the U.S. Air Force since 1973.
It lies 1,501 miles east of Guam, 2,298 miles west of Honolulu and 1,991 miles southeast of Tokyo. With a runway 9,800 feet long, it serves as a crucial refueling depot for trans-Pacific military missions, as well as a training and missile testing area.
The airfield serves between 500 and 600 aircraft annually, according to the Air Force.