Several construction projects under way at 552nd ACW

  • Published
  • By Brandice J. O'Brien
  • Tinker Public Affairs
Big things are happening within the 552nd Air Control Wing complex. Over the next 18 months, several 552nd ACW Civil Engineering projects will be finished. In fiscal 2014, others will start.

There are currently 16 projects, totaling more than $13 million, in the construction process. They include consolidating the 966th Airborne Air Control Squadron Flying Training Squadron from across base at the Romeo ramp to the Bldg. 201W, repairing the roof of the maintenance complex hangar and repairing two fire suppression systems; plus replacing the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system for AWACS aircrew legacy simulators. In fiscal 2014, a fuel hydrant replacement project costing $27 million is set to begin.

"All of our construction projects are mission-driven to meet mission requirements," said Marybeth Radtke, 552nd ACW deputy civil engineer. "We're not replacing carpets. We're not buying furniture."

The flying training squadron is said to spend approximately 68,000 man-hours each year on traveling between the Romeo ramp and the AWAC Ramp to the aircraft for sorties. The consolidation will cost an estimated $5 million.

Replacing the roof of the maintenance hangar and the high expansion foam systems for Docks 1 and 3 are two other large projects. The roof will cost $3.75 million and $2.5 million will be spent on the high expansion foam systems.

Built in the World War II era, the maintenance hangar has roughly 530,000 square feet, of which 200,000 square feet is used for E-3 maintenance to include administration offices, flightline support, airframe specialists, mission specialists, fabrication, component maintenance, refurbishment, training, and inspection. The Air Force Reserves, the Canadian Detachment, and even the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex personnel are housed in the facility.

"We can repair a lot in this building and get it up to code, but if your roof is leaking on it, it's ineffective," Ms. Radtke said. "These repairs eliminate several fire safety deficiencies and risk-assessment codes."

The legacy simulator project will cost $3 million and will directly affect mission readiness. Ms. Radtke said the air conditioning supports the equipment for training. If the simulators aren't running, the aircrews aren't able to train and keep their certification current. Prior to this project, the last time the equipment was replaced was in the initial installation of the machinery in the 1970s.

"As is, when the air conditioning fails, they have to cancel classes," she said, "and then readiness degrades."

In fiscal 2014, the air control wing community can expect to see construction start on the fuel hydrant project. Presently in the design phase, it is 65 percent complete.

"Currently, we are the only wide-body aircraft that is fueled by tanker truck," Ms. Radtke said. "It takes anywhere from one to three fuel trucks per aircraft to fly. We only have hydrant outlets at six spots of our 18 spots on the flight line. It is the most inefficient way to run operations."

Through the hydrant project, the air control wing will gain an additional 11 spots for refueling on the flight line.

"Hydrant fueling is proven to be a more efficient operation," she said. "That will help with our sortie rates and allow for more maintenance time."

There are five staffers in the air control wing civil engineering office who work the projects. Ms. Radtke said seeing a project through the three phases -- plan, design and construction -- typically takes between one and two years.