Pacific Wrecks
Pacific Wrecks    
  Missing In Action (MIA) Prisoners Of War (POW) Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)  
Chronology Locations Aircraft Ships Submit Info How You Can Help Donate
    Kiriwina Airfield (South Drome, Losuia) Milne Bay Province PNG
Click For Enlargement
RAAF October 1943

Click For Enlargement
USAAF October 24, 1943

Click For Enlargement
RAAF January 31, 1944
Lat 8°30' 21"S Long 151° 4' 52E  Kiriwina Airfield is located at an elevation of 27' above sea level in roughly the center of Kiriwina Island in the Trobriand Island Group (Trobriand Islands) in the Solomon Sea. To the east is Muiau Bay and to the south Losuia. Initially known as Kiriwina Airfield, after the completion of Kiriwinia North Drone, this airfield also became known as Kiriwinia South Drome, South Drome or Losuia Airfield for nearby Losuia. Prewar and during the Pacific War located in the Territory of Papua. Today located in Milne Bay Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

During July 1943, the U.S. Army engineers with assistance from calvary troops began construction of an airfield at this location. A single coral surfaced runway was built measuring 6,000' x 150' single runway for fighters and bombers.

On August 2, 1943 the first aircraft to land was a C-47 Dakota. At the request of the U.S. Army, during September 1943 a detachment of U.S. Navy (USN) Seabees from Woodlark arrived to expand the runway, building a 7,000' fighter taxiway, completed as of October 12, 1943 plus 25 fighter hardstands. Also a 5,300' taxiway and 16 bomber hardstands were finished a week later. By October 28, 1943 construction was completed and the Seabees returned to Woodlark.

Wartime History
Kiriwina Airfield was used by both American and Australian aircraft. During the middle of 1943, Kiriwina was the most forward Allied airfield to Japanese occupied New Britain and Rabaul, allowing fighter aircraft the shortest flight distance to the target and back. During October 1943–November 1943 used as a forward base for U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) 5th Air Force (5th AF) P-38 Lightnings escorting bombers over Rabaul.

Starting in the middle of August 1943 targeted by Japanese planes that bombed Kiriwina until the end of December 1943. The Japanese air raids failed to inflict significant damage.

Japanese missions against Kiriwina
August 11, 1943–December 20, 1943

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) units based at Kiriwina
No. 76 Squadron (P-40)
No. 78 Squadron (P-40) December 1943–January 1944 departs Nadzab
No. 79 Squadron (Spitfire) Vivigani arrives August 18, 1943March 16, 1944 departs Momote

Spitfire "Tasmanian Devil" A58-178 Tail UP-G
Abandoned at the airfield, recovered in 1973

Spitfire A58-213 Tail UP-G
Abandoned at the airfield, recovered in 1973

In the 1970s, other aircraft wrecks reported at the strip included a Vultee Vengeance and P-38H Lightning.

Still in use today as the only airfield servicing Kiriwina Island, used by light aircraft and secondary airlines including Airlines PNG and missionary aircraft. Today, known as "Losuia Airport". Airport codes: IATA: LSA, ICAO: AYKA.

Contribute Information
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
January 22, 2023


MapMap 1943

Map Fallingrain

Google Earth
View in Google Earth
  Discussion Forum Daily Updates Reviews Museums Interviews & Oral Histories  
Pacific Wrecks Inc. All rights reserved.
Donate Now Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram