Expanding Bagram airfield’s power capabilities under aggressive deadlines

Once the largest and busiest American military base in Afghanistan, Bagram Airfield housed 40,000 military personnel and civilian contractors at its peak.

To address growing power demands of the base, the U.S. Forces Afghanistan and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Philadelphia District, selected Louis Berger to operate and maintain Bagram’s base-wide power generation, electrical distribution and lighting infrastructure.

Louis Berger assumed operations and maintenance of an existing 56 MW gas turbine power plant, its largest power plant project in Afghanistan to date. Louis Berger is also responsible for operations and maintenance of the base’s medium voltage overhead and underground distribution system — greater than 100-kilometers in total length and comprised of more than 600 substations. Turbine engine replacements were also accomplished to minimize the downtime of the individual units, while providing maximum power generating capability to the base.

Contract mobilization activities involved the successful completion of a challenging and intense 30-day phase-in period. These activities included:

  • Setting in place various technical support agreements with the original equipment manufacturer.
  • Purchasing of specialty tools and equipment to include pole and auger trucks.
  • Leasing an Antonov-124 charter for air transport directly into Bagram.
  • Conducting specialized gas turbine training for key personnel.
  • Hiring and in-processing of new staff.

All this was accomplished while the adjacent Louis Berger 30 MW lease plant was demobilized during the same 30-day period, which independently involved more than 1,250 tons and 70 truck-loads of equipment.