Transformation, Modernization Underway for F-35

Transformation, Modernization Underway for F-35

May 18, 2020

 

UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point
COMMUNICATION STRATEGY AND OPERATIONS _____________________________________________________________________________________
ADVISORY No.: 20200514-001

MCAS Cherry Point: Transformation, modernization underway for F-35

MARINE CORPS STATION CHERRY POINT, NC (May 14, 2020)–Major military construction (MILCON) is underway to transform and modernize Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point into a key base for the future of Marine Aviation and its next-generation fighter aircraft.

More than one billion dollars of MILCON is planned through 2027 to make way for six F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) squadrons. The MCAS Cherry Point F-35 Program will require the complete recapitalization of antiquated aviation operations and support facilities to accept the squadrons over an eight-year period. The modernization program will entail projects to construct new aviation facilities, renovate outmoded facilities, overhaul installation infrastructure, upgrade utilities, improve roadways and enhance airfield security.

“The improvements planned along the flight line will endure for decades and provide the infrastructure and facilities necessary to support Marine Aviation,” said Facilities Asset Manager Don Elliott.

Planning, design and contract negotiation and awards for the program have been underway since 2009. The overall plan includes details such as:

  • Design and construction of three state-of-the-art, two-module aircraft maintenance hangars. Each hangar can support two squadrons. New construction of an air traffic control tower, range support facility, airfield operations building, F-35 simulator facility and aviation maintenance support facilities;
  • Demolition of a number of obsolete airfield and station facilities;
  • Construction and renovation of supporting facilities that will support maintenance personnel and functions; and
  • In depth enhancement of training capabilities;

Elliott stated, there have been three major projects awarded to date including improvements to flight line security, utility and infrastructure improvements along Sixth Avenue and the first two-module F-35 hangar. The projects will be closely followed by the construction of the new airfield operations facility, or air traffic control tower, and the F-35 Simulator Facility this summer.

The facilities asset manager added, there have been other smaller projects underway to help make room for those major projects, which include the planned relocation of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Communication Strategy and Operations, 2nd MAW Air Combat Intelligence, Marine Air Logistics Squadron 14 Individual Material Readiness List (specialized equipment storage facility) and Marine Wing Support Squadron 271 Supply. The relocation of the Central Issue Facility and subsequent demolition of warehouse 144 was also in support of the planned new facilities.

Three of the oldest flight line hangars (Buildings 130, 1700 and 1701) that once served as aviation operations and support facilities were demolished during the first and second quarter of fiscal year 2020, and has left a gaping, noticeable change to the flight line landscape.

According to the ROICC, the demolition project is complete and the cleared area is the future site for the new F-35 hangars.

“It is the first visible evidence a period of transformation is underway,” said MCAS Cherry Point Commanding Officer Col. Mikel Huber.

“The view along Sixth Avenue is wide open,” said MCAS Cherry Point Resident Officer In Charge of Construction (RIOCC) Lt. Cmdr. Dave Dreyer. “The $5.3 million demolition project has cleared the site for construction of the first of the F-35 hangars.”

The first hangar project, has been awarded and is currently in the design phase and construction is scheduled to start in the fall — a $105 million project.

“We’re planning for construction of the hangars and affiliated paraloft facility, which will bring a flurry of additional construction vehicle traffic,” said Dreyer.

Utilities upgrades and road construction

Next is an extensive construction project to upgrade a substantial amount of infrastructure and reconstruct one of the installation’s well-traveled streets. The contract has been awarded and construction is underway to upgrade the utilities along Sixth Avenue and to widen a portion of C Street.

The project will go in phases to lessen the potential impact on the community, said Huber, which begins with the extension of Fifth Avenue as a detour route once Sixth Avenue closes. The ROICC said work is already underway to clear the wooded area at the point where the extension will connect the two streets.

When Sixth Avenue closes, current parking options along the way will be inaccessible. The first of three parking lots in the plan will be added to support tenants of various buildings along Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

C Street will be widened from its intersection of Second Avenue to Sixth Avenue. The street’s widening is aimed at mitigating the effects of the changed traffic pattern and the anticipated increase in traffic volume along the route. According to the ROICC, a turning lane will be added to facilitate optimal traffic flow.

“The reality is there will be a period of inconvenience the air station will endure in order to achieve this significant step forward in capability,” said Huber. “We are hopeful that the phased approach to accomplishing the utility project will lessen the impact to the community.”

Transformation and modernization of MCAS Cherry Point is projected through 2027. Installation leaders and managers will provide periodic updates and applicable information as things progress. Find more information HERE.