US Air Force Plans To Spend $400 Million To Expand Airfield On Island in Micronesia

The US is building airfields across the Asia Pacific to prepare for a future war with China

The US Air Force is planning to spend $400 million to upgrade an airfield on the island of Yap, which is part of the Federated States of Micronesia, Air & Space Forces Magazine has reported.

The US military is working to establish dozens of new airstrips and other types of footholds on small islands across the Asia Pacific, a concept the Air Force has dubbed Agile Combat Employment. In some cases, the US is clearing away jungle that has overgrown World War II-era runways, including on an airfield in the Northern Mariana Islands, from where US aircraft dropped the atomic bombs on Japan.

The US Air Force laid out its plan to expand an airfield on Yap in its budget request for the 2025 fiscal year. The Air Force said an extended runway “is required to enable increased capacity of the runway by allowing larger aircraft to land and take-off quickly and safely. This increased capacity supports provisions for a command-and-control capable infrastructure for multi-service forces in the rapid establishment of operational capabilities in various locations.”

Red marker shows the location of Yap (Google Maps)

If the project is approved, construction will begin in 2025. The Air Force is asking for $96 million for the first year, but the project would ultimately cost $400 million. Yap is about 1,500 miles southeast of China and is only 46 square miles, making it about two-thirds the size of Washington DC.

US military leaders have been explicit that the purpose of the expanding footprint in the region is to prepare for a fight with China by giving the Chinese military more targets it will need to hit.

“Every single additional airfield that I can operate from is another in a contingency or crisis, or a conflict is another airfield that China has to put into their targeting folders and, and then allocate resources toward them, which dilutes their ability to shut us completely down,” Pacific Air Forces Commander Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach said last year.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.