ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — Construction for the new tail enclosure on hangar 285 was completed, Feb. 11, 2016. The addition is in preparation for the arrival of the U.S. Air Force KC-46 Pegasus refueling aircraft at Altus Air Force Base.
Soil samples began in April 2015 and construction lasted approximately seven months.
With the KC-46 scheduled to arrive March 2017, the addition to the hangar will improve the working environment for maintainers. “Adding the enclosure will enable Aircraft Maintenance personnel to perform both routine and unscheduled maintenance functions in a fully enclosed and climate controlled environment in all weather conditions,” said Tom Harrison, 97th Maintenance Directorate support flight chief. “This new structure means a safe, reliable maintenance environment for the KC-46 and all assigned aircraft, ensuring sustained employment and jobs for generations of Altus area community members both in aircraft maintenance and in various support functions around the base and community.”
Along with the safety to maintainers, the enclosure helped save millions of dollars. “Building this addition to the existing structure cost 10 percent of the price of building a new two-bay hangar,” said Harrison. “It also eliminated the need for a two to three year demolition and construction project, potentially saving the Air Force and taxpayers an estimated $50 million whereas the total cost came out to $5.2 million. Building a new hangar also would have had a tremendous negative mission impact, as the A-Team would have been without this critical resource while being rebuilt.”
“Throughout the process of construction there were many modifications to be done,” said Harrison, “including the removal of existing fuel and compressed air lines imbedded in concrete, relocating a fire hydrant nearby, removing and replacing concrete and taxi areas, all while ensuring the structure is up to safety standards.”
Although the structure was built in preparation for the KC-46, it will be a great benefit to maintainers for the other aircraft as well. “The enclosure provides a completely sheltered work area for maintainers by adding approximately 12,000 square feet,” said Harrison. “The structure stands 99 feet tall, 120 feet wide and 81 feet long and fit both the KC-46 and the U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft.”