U.S. plans big military expansion at Iraq’s al Asad air base

Source: Military Times

The U.S. military will expand operations at Iraq’s al Asad air base as part of its preparations for the invasion of Mosul, where thousands of Islamic State militants have established the group’s largest stronghold outside of Syria.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Wednesday plans to deploy an additional 615 American troops to Iraq over the next several weeks. They will help support the Iraqi-led invasion planned for this fall.

Al Asad, a massive airfield in Anbar province, was a major hub for U.S. Marines throughout the Iraq war. Soon, it will see the arrival of more personnel and the installation of new technology that can support night operations, a Defense Department official said. The U.S. will set up a new “instrument landing system,” which will cover the airfield with radio signals that help pilots to land safely in conditions when they cannot see the runway, such as at night or in bad weather, the official said.

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