June 25, 2022

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Record $532M construction contract will launch 11 F-35 facilities at Tyndall

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BAY COUNTY — The largest military construction contract on record will take Tyndall Air Force Base’s rebuild to new heights with 11 facilities for F-35A Lightning II jets arriving later next year.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers last week awarded a $532 million contract to Hensel Phelps for various projects that will support flightline operations for the aircraft expected at Tyndall in September. The contract is part of a $604 million investment in the #BuildTyndallStrong effort.

A F-22 Raptor from the 325th Fighter Wing at Tyndall Air Force Base flies alongside a F-35 Lightning II from the 33rd Fighter Wing over the Emerald Coast on May 15, 2020.

The rebuild will be led by the Air Force Civil Engineer Center’s Natural Disaster Recovery Division. It will partner with the Corps of Engineers to support the 325th Fighter Wing and its F-35 Program Integration Office in rebuilding Tyndall as the “Installation of the Future.”

Checkered Flag takes flight: Tyndall kicks off Checkered Flag training exercise over Bay County

What is the #BuildTyndallStrong effort

When Hurricane Michael laid waste to the base more than three years ago, Natural Disaster Recovery Office officials at Tyndall officials said it inflicted about $4.7 billion in damage. The Category 5 hurricane damaged or destroyed 484 buildings and forced the Air Force to relocate 11,000 personnel and 46 aircraft.

It was then that Air Force and Department of Defense officials started reimagining the strategic base as a 21st-century “Installation of the Future.”

The #BuildTyndallStrong initiative was started, working toward reshaping and redesigning the base to be a model of sustainability, technology and adaptability for the Air Force and the Department of Defense.

The rebuild itself is divided into 12 zones and will cost an estimated $4.9 billion. Each zone consists of multiple facilities with staggered completion dates. Some will be completed as early as this fall, while others will be ready for occupancy in 2025 and 2026.

Here is the list of the zones:

  • Zone 1: F-35 facilities

  • Zone 2: Flightline operations

  • Zone 3: Weapons evaluation group complex

  • Zone 4: Infrastructure (includes gate complexes, site development, utilities and demolition)

  • Zone 5: Industrial facilities (civil engineer, contracting, Army Corps of Engineers, logistics and warehouse facilities)

  • Zone 6: Airfield drainage

  • Zone 7: Munitions storage facilities

  • Zone 8: Administrative facilities (325th Fighter Wing headquarters, emergency operations center, security forces mobility storage and small arms range)

  • Zone 9: Morale welfare and recreation facilities (marina, recreation fields, pool, pavilion and splash pads facilities)

  • Zone 10: Lodging and dormitories

  • Zone 11: Community commons facilities (chapel, child development center and community facilities.)

  • Zone 12: Silver Flag facilities (civil engineer training facilities and gate, and fire station No. 4)

‘Flightline of the Future’

The upcoming flightline facilities will directly support the 325th Fighter Wing and its new F-35 mission, said Natural Disaster Recovery Division chief Col. Travis Leighton.

“The rebuild gives us the unique opportunity to reimagine how we accommodate the needs of the F-35,” Leighton said. “We’re leveraging cutting-edge technology to increase cybersecurity and perimeter defense, enhance base safety and equip airmen to execute the missions of today and tomorrow.”

The facilities being funded by the $532 million contract are part of Zone 1, and include hangar No. 1, hangar No. 2, hangar No. 3, a flight simulator facility, a weapons load training hangar, the Operations Group and Maintenance Group headquarters, an air-ground equipment facility, a fuel cell hangar, a Maintenance Squadron complex, an aircraft parking apron, Logistics Readiness Squadron and aircraft parts store, and a corrosion control facility and wash rack.

This rendering shows one of the 11 facilities included in the $532 million construction contract awarded to Tyndall.

This rendering shows one of the 11 facilities included in the $532 million construction contract awarded to Tyndall.

The hardened and groundbreaking facilities will feature such technology as autonomous lawnmowers, Easy Aerial tethered drones, gunshot detection systems, painted fiber optics and solar microgrids for on-site generation.

Renovation work already is underway on several F-35 support buildings, with the start of Zone 1 construction slated for late summer 2022.

Tyndall gets $357M: Base rebuild sees progress: Contract awarded for infrastructure project

The Air Force agencies, Corps of Engineers “and our team at the 325th are all driving at a shared goal; to ensure our new F-35A mission has the required capabilities for operational readiness,” said Col. Greg Moseley, 325th Fighter Wing commander. “Beginning Zone 1 construction is another step toward that goal, and will ensure Tyndall continues to be the home of air dominance.”

Tyndall Force officials said all facilities will be constructed to a minimum design wind speed of 165 mph, have finished floor elevations that account for up to seven feet of future sea-level rise, and incorporate numerous smart building technologies such as occupancy sensors.

An F-35 Lighting II from the 33rd Fighter Wing approaches a KC-135 Stratotanker from the 97th Air Mobility Wing near Eglin Air Force Base on Feb. 1 during an air refueling mission.

An F-35 Lighting II from the 33rd Fighter Wing approaches a KC-135 Stratotanker from the 97th Air Mobility Wing near Eglin Air Force Base on Feb. 1 during an air refueling mission.

“Tyndall’s reconstruction … is one of many major worldwide Air and Space Force infrastructure efforts underway,” said Brig. Gen. Mark Slominski, chief of the Air Force Civil Engineer Center’s Facilities Directorate. “In partnership with Department of Defense engineer organizations … we will have put $2 billion of construction on contract in just the past six months.”

Officials said the rebuild team was exploring opportunities to turn Tyndall’s flightline into a high-tech resource in March 2021 when the Air Force announced the base would host F-35 squadrons.

“This is what we’re here for,” Leighton said. “To provide the expertise and support installations needed to quickly recover from natural disasters, to help the Air Force transform installations into 21st century-weapons systems and enable commanders to remain focused on their missions.”

With $1.5 billion in construction contracts already in hand, Tyndall officials said they expect construction activity soon will hit full speed ahead.

“The new base will strike a balance between providing powerful air dominance, and a community that takes care of airmen and their families,” Natural Disaster Recovery Office officials wrote in an email. “We are all looking forward to becoming the ‘gold standard’ for Air Force bases.”

This article originally appeared on The News Herald: Tyndall Air Force Base’s $532 million construction contract sets record

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