TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Personnel at Travis Air Force Base have started the demolition of five buildings to make way for a new three-bay maintenance hangar which will be used for the incoming inventory of the KC-46A Pegasus aircraft.
The project, which was delayed in March due to COVID-19 mitigation measures, is projected to be completed in February 2023, six months ahead of the slated delivery of the first of 24 KC-46s in August 2023.
The construction itself is made up of many moving parts, requiring the help of several squadrons at Travis AFB, said 1st Lt. Alexander Bellows, KC-46 Program Integration Office bed-down project manager.
“The 60th Civil Engineer Squadron, the 60th Operations Support Squadron, the 60th Maintenance Group and the Naval Facilities Engineering Command are all assisting in bringing this hangar to fruition,” Bellows said. “In order to clear the footprint for the hangar, we also had to relocate certain units from the 60th Aerial Port Squadron and the 60th and 349th Maintenance Squadrons to different facilities around base, so their cooperation has also been a big boon to the project.”
The KC-46 is the newest aerial refueling aircraft in the Air Force’s tanker fleet, bringing with it the capability to refuel two fixed-wing aircraft simultaneously and an increased aeromedical evacuation capacity.
These enhancements will allow Travis to succeed in remaining the premier power projection platform for rapid global mobility and continue to project American power anytime, anywhere.
The initial groundbreaking for the hangar was on December 18, 2018, with March 2019 being the projected start of demolition, but the construction project was delayed until May 2020.
The PIO team wanted to ensure they found the right contractor to build a quality product that aligns with the Air Force’s vision of a state-of-the-art maintenance hangar that can last long as the KC-46s it houses, said Capt. Phillip Norman, 60th Civil Engineering Squadron engineering flight commander, who joined the project last year.
Since May, the team has demolished three buildings and has made headway on the last two. They most recently started on the largest building, an aircraft hangar, which is the target area for much of the new three-bay hangar.
“We have a good team here made up of people who are all committed to the same level of excellence we want as the staple of this project,” Bellows said. “The contractors, likewise, have a calendar they reference for what work they hope to accomplish within a set time, down to the day.”
All this contributes to satisfying the project’s four main priorities: finish on-time, on-budget, create a quality product and ensure the safety of all the workers involved, Norman said.
“At the end of the day, this hangar represents a step forward for not just aerial refueling, but the Air Force too,” Norman said. “So it’s important for us to do it right. From the aircrew to the maintainers, we owe everyone who’ll be working on this airframe a quality facility that’ll make their jobs easier and keep them as effective as possible, and that’s exactly what we’re working to do.”
Groundwork for the new hangar is expected to begin this fall after the completion of the demolition.