Firm gets contract for 167th hangar, upgrades

August 20, 2005|By CANDICE BOSELY

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A construction contract for more than $64 million has been awarded to a Bethesda, Md., company to build a hangar and other improvements needed to bring C-5 jets to the 167th Aiflift Wing's base in Martinsburg, U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd announced Friday.

The first C-5 - a jet far larger than the C-130 cargo planes currently used by members of the West Virginia Air National Guard unit - should arrive sometime in 2007, West Virginia Adjutant Gen. Allen Tackett said.

Of the $64 million-plus contract awarded to Clark Construction, $28.37 million will be used to build an aircraft apron and a hydrant loop, and $35.8 million will be used to build a maintenance hangar and shops facilities, Byrd, D-W.Va., said in a press release.


Ten C-5 jets eventually will be located at the base, replacing the unit's fleet of 12 C-130s. Some of the C-130s already have been transferred to other bases.

To accommodate the C-5s, a new air traffic control tower is being built and the runway will be extended. The size of the base will nearly double, Col. Bill Burkhart has said, and nearly all of the base's existing buildings will be torn down after new ones are built.

The price tag for the construction will exceed $220 million, Burkhart said.

Byrd recently gained approval from a Senate committee for $60 million for C-5 preparations, along with $43 million for C-5-related upgrades at adjacent Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport and $17 million for runway improvements, the release said.

Byrd has been working with the Department of Defense to bring the C-5s to the base since 1999, the release said.

As opposed to the C-130s, which fly constantly over the area, when a C-5 leaves, its destination likely is overseas. Far fewer flights will take off and land, with most training taking place in a simulator, 167th officials have said.

Officials have compared a C-130 to a local delivery truck, and likened a C-5 to a long-range tractor-trailer.

A C-5 can carry 11 pieces of Army equipment that no other plane is capable of holding, retired Brig. Gen. Wayne "Speedy" Lloyd has said.

The Herald-Mail Articles