Chugach has won a $119m U.S. Air Force contract to help maintain facilities at the Ascension Island Auxiliary Airfield.

More properly known as RAF Ascension Island or Wideawake Airfield, the facility is a military airfield and facility located on Ascension Island in the Atlantic Ocean. The airfield is jointly operated by the Royal Air Force and the United States Space Force.

According to the Royal Air Force:

“RAF Ascension Island is in the South Atlantic Ocean, near the equator, strategically positioned approximately 4,000 miles from both the UK and the Falkland Islands. The role of the Station is to deter military aggression against the UK’s South Atlantic Overseas Territories in order to maintain UK sovereignty. It serves as a staging post for flights between the UK and the Falklands with an approximate flight time of 8 hours. 

With a runway length of 10,019ft the airfield has the capability to support all types of aircraft. The airfield (called Wideawake Auxiliary Airfield by the US) is jointly operated and managed by US and UK authorities. The Station also supports regular flights between America and Africa.”

The contract also includes telemetry, radar and space surveillance tracking, timing, sequencing and communications services, the U.S. Department of Defense said Tuesday.

“Chugach Range and Facilities Services JV LLC, Anchorage, Alaska, has been awarded an $118,983,378 firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee and cost-reimbursable contract for Ascension Island Mission Services.

This contract provides for radar tracking, space surveillance tracking, telemetry, timing and sequencing, communications, airfield operations, operations, maintenance and engineering support for facilities, systems, equipment, utilities and base operating support responsibilities. Work will be performed on Ascension Island Auxiliary Airfield, Atlantic Ocean, and is expected to be completed Sept. 30, 2025.

This award is the result of a competitive acquisition and five offers were received. Fiscal 2020 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $104,367 are being obligated at the time of award. The 45th Contracting Squadron, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, is the contracting activity (FA2521-20-C-0024).”

Work is expected to be complete by Sept. 30th, 2025.

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Helions
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Helions

Wideawake Field… Desolate place but great fishing… Sort of a non tropical Wake Island (which has a GREAT bar by the way).

Cheers.

julian1
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julian1

and scuba diving apparently…

Helions
Guest
Helions

Just like at Wake. Wake is so tiny (it’s actually two atolls joined by the airfield) you can go from one end to other in a golf cart in about 5 min…

The world’s most remote USMC memorial dedicated to the defenders of the island (most of whom were executed by the IJN) is located there.

comment image

Cheers

TrevorH
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TrevorH

Funny isn’t it that Sumo wrestlers don’t take the knee before every tournament?

But then again I’m not a virtue signaller.

whlgrubber
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whlgrubber

was there in early 70s. Managed to get to Green Mountain. Fantastic. Different planet. And planted by man.!! Hope its still there.
Why couldnt UK fix the runway??

Crabfat
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Crabfat

Well, if the US are happy to fix it…

Wasn’t it a diversion airfield for the Shuttles to and from the Space Station?

Helions
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Helions

Yes it was. Probably will be again shortly if our spaceplane plans pan out.

Cheers

TrevorH
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TrevorH

That’s interesting. What is the speculation? Is there something about the location that is useful?

Helions
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Helions

Still there: I’ve walked up to the abandoned marine barracks at the peak.

https://www.ascension.gov.ac/map-marker/green-mountain

Cheers

Crabfat
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Crabfat

I’ve been worried for years about the Ascension Spleenwort – is it still there?

Helions
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Helions

I don’t know but I THINK mine is still there… 😀

Cheers!

Albion
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Albion
Helions
Guest
Helions

Heheh, terribly sorry Albion! I used the generic reference due to fact that the barracks are … Uhhh, no longer up to the high standards of the Royal Marines! 😀

https://www.ascension.gov.ac/map-marker/mountain-barracks

They were pretty rickety years ago with some touristy stuff going on around them.

Cheers!

Albion
Guest
Albion

Never got there myself. Stay safe

RobW
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RobW

The US built the airfield in the first place and make more use of it than we do.

Cam
Guest
Cam

Well the USA are a superpower, and personally I think it’s great sharing our strategic territory’s with the Americans, they provide loads, from vast logistics and protection to money, upgrades and usage. Would we even have The likes of Diego Garcia if the yanks didn’t want and need to use it?.. I’m guessing not. And Im sure the yanks still have a dedicated suply ship that Just goes from Florida to Ascension Island all the time don’t they? And I’m not too sure if the UK still has ships that do that dedicated job anymore (point class not included) it… Read more »

RobW
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RobW

From what I have read it seems the base on Diego Garcia was built specifically for and by the US, so no I highly doubt there would be a military site on that Atoll if it wasn’t for them. Whether it was right or wrong to evict the locals to do so is another matter. The US has a lease until 2036 so no change until then at least. There are regular UK Govt contracted supply trips from Cape Town to St Helena and Ascension, mainly delivering oil I believe. Most supplies are delivered by air. I can’t find anything… Read more »

Cam
Guest
Cam

I find it amazing how the Royal Navy planted trees on the island for future sailing ships masts incase broken in Atlantic storms… And now it’s provided more water and lots more life to the island it’s really great, everyone who visits should plant a couple trees. I would love to visit one day, sadly I always passed by and never called in!!.

geoff
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geoff

Morning Helions. Envy you having visited these Islands. I have been to Bazaruto and Mauritius but the British South Atlantic islands are all on my wish list

Helions
Guest
Helions

Morning Geoff,

I was there in the late 80s for 2 weeks doing some tests with “portable’ (gigantic now) SATCOM equipment. Weather was bad most of time but still had an opportunity to see what the island had to offer (which isn’t much outside of the nature preserve). Caught an enormous bonefish on a fishing outing – almost had my finger chewed off! I’ve always wanted to visit St Helena myself.

Cheers.

geoff
Guest
geoff

Morning Helions. I believe the fishing is world class but swimming in the sea is a no-no. I rememeber reading about at least two shark attacks, one involving a British serviceman in recent years. Here in Durban we have shark nets on all our main beaches which are 100% effective even though sharks are occassionally spotted within the nets-they apparently panic if within the protected area and just want to get back to the other side!

geoff
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geoff

Ascension Island has always fascinated me for many reasons including the destruction over the years of its sparse native vegetation and the establishment of Green Mountain at the peak of the island composed entirely of exotics from around the world and thriving from mists and precipitation from its exposed high altitiude. The resulting forest has created its own environment. In South Africa I have been involved in the opposite-combating invasive exotics and re-establishing indigenous vegetation. On topic I cannot understand why it has taken so long to start the runway repairs that have rendered Wideawake unusable as a staging post… Read more »

Michael
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Michael

Spent a few days there, post OP CORPORATE. Very interesting place. There was still old corked beer bottles in the cupboards by the turtle breeding pens. Most baby turtles were eaten by rats or the black fish, so few survive. Often wondered why they are not bred now as they were in the past. Will the EU use the satellite facilities there for their Galileo system?

Crabfat
Guest
Crabfat

Well seeing as they kicked the UK off the Galileo project (after we’d been a major contributor) because we left the EU, I’d be well miffed if they asked to use Ascension.

Daveyb
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Daveyb

Spent R&R there a few times when detached to the Falklands. Even had to stay there for 3 nights after a Tristar had an engine fault, so everybody got kicked off and the aircraft returned to the UK empty. Found out it was Darwin who instigated the planting of trees with the help of Kew gardens. There was a plaque half way up mountain road near the gardens with a dedication to some people from Kew. Due to Ascension Island’s location near the equator. The island is perfect for satellite tracking. It is I think, one of the timing stations… Read more »

Steve
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Steve

What rights do we have on the airbase? I assume if it is being maintained by the US then its been leased to them.

Its a pretty good deal if we get to keep it classified as a UK airbase but the US pays for it.

RobW
Guest
RobW

It is an RAF airbase with an RAF commander and operated by a team roughly 50/50 RAF and USAF.

There is an agreement between the UK and US to jointly operate it, but as it is so important to the US they are ‘happy’ to pay for the work. I assume we were OK with it as it was, hence why they are coffing up for the repairs and upgrades.

Steve
Guest
Steve

I assume we could not afford to not be happy with how it was.

Herodotus
Guest

Presumably aircraft are able to refuel there! Does anyone know the logistics behind this and what facilities there are?

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

I first went there going South in 83. I also stopped there again on the way back via a herc doing death dive air refueling with Victor Tankers. Visited Ascension, Gough, Tristan and St Helena on a much later trip What a SouthLant trip that was with the Milenium in Cape Town. There was a piece on the World Service about Ascension last year. Well worth a listen. The island was a desolate rock with little natural water and a desolate posting. . They planted green mountain as one of the first examples of tetra forming. It obviously worked. Its… Read more »

geoff
Guest
geoff

Envy you Gunbuster. A big plus for you having been in the Military, getting to these islands was part of the job with Capetown the cherry on top. As a civilian these islands are a logistic nightmare to get to plus hugely expensive. Before Covid, there was a flight from Jhb via Namibia to St Helena, Ascension now virtually impossible, Tristan a round trip from Capetown on a freighter, and Falklands-either via Chile or London and hitch a ride with the RAF!!

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

Strange place Tristan…A lot of the people who live there all look the same as a result of the small gene pool. Great people though and the shell fish and sea fish are great! We stopped there to do some Demolitions work on the old Lava flow which at the time they had decided they where going to use to make a new harbour. We spent a great 4 days making huffing great holes in the lava with PE4 and Cortex. Some one should have told us or we should have known that Lava/Pumice is really lightweight . When it… Read more »

geoff
Guest
geoff

Hilarious image Gunbuster! 🙂 Tristan are in a delicate place population wise. There are about 240 of them and I hope they are not headed the same way as the last 40 odd Pitcairn survivors are! The endemism problem with the small gene pool can only get worse without either some fresh immigration or another solution which is a delicate possibility-artificial insemination for some of the suitable recipients on the island. There is of course a social problem with this but something needs to be done to preserve Tristanians as a breed.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Seems like 2020 will mirror 2015. The Def sec as stated that the huge cuts were a worst case scenario. I assume the MOD will have put together a list of options based on the cost cuts that the treasury has asked them to achieve, which means the cuts will be on the order of what is reported just maybe not the same assets being cutted.