MCAS Miramar builds toward the future

Base making room for new aircraft

SAN DIEGO - Marine Corps Air Station Miramar is undergoing some of the biggest changes since the Navy's Top Gun school left town 14 years ago.

"The skyline of Miramar is changing dramatically," said Col. John Farnam, commanding officer of the base.

Not since the base changed hands from the Navy to the Marine Corps 14 years ago has there been such a flurry of construction.

An entirely new $70 million hangar is springing up on the western edge of the airfield for new squadrons of MV-22 Ospreys, the tilt-rotor aircraft replacing the twin-rotor CH-46 helicopters that have been in service since the Vietnam War.

"Production has ramped up and squadrons have been standing up and we needed the room for them," said Farnam, who added MCAS Miramar is the launch point to train up Osprey squadrons headed to Japan.

Some 42,000 cubic yards of reinforced concrete has been poured for new taxiways and ramps.

In the not too distant future, Miramar will also look at making space for new squadrons of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which were designed to replace aging F/A-18 fighter squadrons.

The JSF is now operating out of MCAS Yuma and is expected to be at Miramar around 2020.

As for the hangar projects, Farnam said, "These projects were put in and money allocated five to seven years ago and are not affected by the current budget crisis."

Ospreys will begin using the new parking area and ramp in June with the completion of the hanger under the supervision of Naval Facilities Command expected by October.

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