The Desert Rock Airport’s runway pavement was recently crack sealed to eliminate concerns about damage coming from water intrusion. The runway was also painted to adhere to current Federal Aviation Administration guidelines and standards.
Former NNSS Project Manager Kirby Ward led the team who accomplished the work and enabled it to be completed on time. His team wishes he was still here, rather than retired, to congratulate him for successful completion of this important project.
In addition, NNSS Senior Principal Scientist Rick Maurer and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)/NA-81 Nuclear Incident Policy and Cooperation Program (NIPC) were instrumental in the funding and opportunity to upgrade Desert Rock Airport to current standards. The mitigation strategies they authorized and funded have extended the life of Desert Rock for another 10 years and allow for the continued use of this national asset.
The NIPC project at the NNSS is run by the Remote Sensing Laboratory (RSL) and provides radiological emergency response training for international partners. Desert Rock Airport is used as part of this program to provide international Aerial Measuring System workshops utilizing the NNSA Bell-412 helicopter based at RSL to conduct radiological survey mission training on radiation sources at the Site. It is also used for other national security missions supported by NNSA/NA-80 for radiological emergency response teams.
These upgrades will improve the safety of day and night operations and significantly reduce the possibility of pilot landing and takeoff error.