Pease one step closer to KC-46 with hangar construction

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Curtis J. Lenz
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Contractors hoisted an 80 ton steel truss into position today at Building 253, Pease Air National Guard Base, New Hampshire. 

The trusses are support features for the hangar modernization project. The intent of the project is to remodel Buildings 253 and 254 to maximize the operational space in order to promote efficiency and productivity in preparation for the arrival of 12 KC-46A tankers in February 2018.

The hangars, built in the 1950s, were originally built to support Strategic Air Command's B-47 Stratojet bombers and KC-97 Stratofreighter tankers.

In total, eight trusses will be installed, the first two of which will be installed in a single lift. Each truss is approximately 186 feet long and 16 feet high.

Maj. Alex Bull, 157th Maintenance Squadron commander, noted the significance of this milestone.

"To see something take place where it's big, new and exciting gives all the maintenance personnel a feeling that they are a little bit closer to getting a new home, with new offices and facility to welcome home the KC-46," he said. "The revamped maintenance facility will be bigger and better than ever before."

Tech Sgt. Jeremy Delong, 157 MXG fuels system craftsman, and responsible for the fuel systems repair on the KC-135R Stratotanker, discussed the impact of the project's milestone.

"The installation of the truss is another step forward in having a stable home," said Delong, whose 13 person team had to relocate to Building 251 during construction. "Being temporarily relocated has been challenging."

Delong, a 10 year veteran in the N.H. Air National Guard, is looking forward to having a permanent repair facility with one floor because Building 251 is multilevel.

Instead of constructing entirely new buildings, the hangar improvement/renovation project offers substantial cost savings to American taxpayers. The current estimated completion date of Building 253 is March 2017.

"It makes me proud of the Airmen here in the maintenance group, and the efforts they put to in to help get the KC-46 here," said Bull.

Air Force officials announced in 2014 that Pease ANGB was selected as the first Air National Guard-led KC-46A main operating base because of its highly successful existing active-duty association, which would lead to lower active-duty manpower requirements. Its location in a region of high air refueling receiver demand was also a key consideration.

Construction for Building 254 is scheduled to begin soon.

"Some work within Building 254's shops and offices will begin in the next couple months, however, work on the hangar bay of Building 254 cannot begin until the hangar bay in Building 253 is turned over to the government, so we always have one functional hangar bay," said Captain Daniel Trembley, 157th Civil Engineer Squadron construction project manager.

Work is due to be complete in Building 254 in February 2017,  however current projections put completion around April 2018, according to Trembley.

As this project continues, more information will be provided in future articles.