Okinawa Times wrote that according to the U.S. Air Force’s budget requests submitted to the Congress in May, the Air Force is planning to construct a new hangar for the operation and maintenance of HH-60G rescue helicopters belonging to the 33rd Rescue Squadron at Kadena Air Base. The paper wrote that the Air Force is planning to demolish the existing nine facilities occupying 10,483 square meters of land to construct a hangar to house nine HH-60G helicopters, facilities for maintenance and flight simulation, and offices. The paper added that the Air Force is also planning to construct an apron capable of housing up to six visiting aircraft and an aircraft washing facility in an area that has been used for refueling and maintenance, noting that the construction site is adjacent to a former ramp known as the Papa Loop. The paper added that the Air Force is planning to start construction work in June 2022 and complete it in May 2025.
The paper quoted Kadena Mayor Toyama as saying he will first confirm with the Defense Ministry’s Okinawa defense bureau whether the plan will lead to an increase in noise affecting local residents. The mayor added that as the construction site is adjacent to a residential area, the municipality will not accept additional noise.
The paper also wrote that the Air Force pointed out in its budget request that there are serious safety issues related to the aging facilities at the existing hangar for HH-60G helicopters at Kadena and that the frequent typhoons in Okinawa have a serious impact on aircraft operation and maintenance.