"Ideally, we need a three thousand-meter-long runway to be able to operate F-16s to their maximum potential," Alfiandi noted here on Saturday.
He explained that the F-16 type A/B Block 15 OCU cannot operate optimally, particularly with regard to weapons and fuel load, as the existing runway is 2,200 meters long.
"The F-16s can fly but with only a limited amount of fuel and weapons," he remarked.
The air base has been anticipating such problems since the Air Squadron 16 began operations, including coordinating with all sides, such as Angkasa Pura that manages the Sultan Syarif Kasim II Airport, as the air base now shares the same runway.
"Hopefully, within the next four months, the Roesmin Nurjadins runway will be extended to 2,600 meters," he stated, adding that the remaining 400 meters is scheduled to be constructed in 2018 or early 2019.
He explained that increasing the length of the runway to three thousand meters will not only maximize the operational capabilities of F-16s but will also improve the economy of Pekanbaru.
"It will also be beneficial for Riau, as the Hajj and Umrah pilgrims will be able to depart from here. An international airport needs a three thousand-meter-long runway," he pointed out.
Roesmin Noerjadin is the only Type-A air base in Sumatra. There are two air squadrons at the military base. In addition to the Air Squadron 16 with its F16 fighter aircraft, there is the Air Squadron 12 that operates Hawk 100/200.