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New £11m control tower keeping order above and below

August 1, 2011

A brand new £11 million control tower has been opened at Camp Bastion Airfield in Afghanistan – now the second busiest UK-run airport after Heathrow. The state-of-the-art facility will handle more than 26,000 air movements each month.

It replaces the old one which was housed in a cabin on stilts.  The new advanced tower is said to be the RAF’s best.

New Air Traffic Control Tower at Camp Bastion. Picture: Crown Copyright 2011

Squadron Leader Tommy O’Flaherty, Bastion’s Senior Air Traffic Control Officer, said:

“Communications are very high tech – most of the communications are done online through different computer systems and that’s probably the biggest difference from UK units.”

In Bastion’s crowded skies technology can save time when controllers have to suddenly make space for medical emergency helicopters or the artillery’s long-range rockets. But even with hi-tech help Air Traffic Control Officer Flight Lieutenant Paul Milne admits the job can still be a test of nerve.

“It’s a bit fraught at times – yes – I suppose. But we’re all sort of doing our best and the guys are adapted really well to the demands of this place,”

View from Air Traffic Control as a US Hercules C130 comes in to Land. Picture: Flt Lt Liz Price/Crown Copyright 2011

The new tower features a sign to Shawbury where air traffic controllers are first trained. Bastion – with up to 1,000 aircraft a day to handle – is said to be the advanced course and anyone who passes here shouldn’t fail anywhere else.

Click on the images above to watch the full exclusive report by BFBS.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 1, 2011 17:23

    well I suppose if you have to be there best to have the best
    way to go.
    Take care thinking of you all

  2. Claudio Alpaca permalink
    August 1, 2011 18:22

    it is a necessary means to make more sure warrior’s live, air traffic and land control by insurgency activity.

    Sincerily Claudio Alpaca

  3. August 1, 2011 22:42

    If we are intending to leave Afghanistan in 2014 why are we still spending huge amounts of money, do we intend to just leave all these facilities behind, Bastion 1 and 2 are huge complexes what will happen to them when we pull out, will it all just be abandoned?. I can understand the reasoning that it is for safety, to facilitate safe landing and take offs, but it is still difficult to understand why we are spending so much money when there are so many cutbacks.

  4. hectoranibal permalink
    August 1, 2011 23:29

    esta bueno creo que era nesesario por el gran despliege ,pero es nesesario en estos momentos que esta empezando la retirada de las tropas ¿como querdara todo eso cuando se baya la ISAF..

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