Corpus Christi Army Depot, the core of Army aviation's maintenance, repair and overhaul for helicopters, engines and components, broke ground on a new modernized helicopter facility that will house painting operations for Army helicopters, this December.
When complete, this $34.2 million Aircraft Corrosion Control Facility will meet the painting requirements for the Army's UH-60 Black Hawk, CH-47D Chinook and AH-64 Apache. It will also improve corrosion control and the working environment.
"The Army and the American taxpayers will get their money's worth out of this facility and, most importantly, will be able to provide even better support for the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen who get to do their job better because of the work that's done here," said John Nerger, the executive deputy to the commanding general of Army Materiel Command.
Depot artisans have been working in the same paint hangar since 1970. The hangar was only designed to paint the Army's smaller helicopters: the UH-1 Huey and AH-1 Cobra, and the larger Chinook aircraft. The hangar has 57,280 square feet of space and is equipped with four dated down-draft water-wash paint booths.
Over the last two decades, however, Corpus Christi Army Depot's workload has expanded to include newer and larger weapon systems, most notably the UH-60, and its Air Force variant, as well as the AH-64.
Army aviation's modernization workload requirements are substantially greater now than they had been in the past. Corpus Christi Army Depot's existing smaller booths cannot keep pace with the Army's production needs. Corpus Christi Army Depot's paint shop must also strive to meet current environmental standards that are not possible in its existing location.
Without this new facility, Corpus Christi Army Depot will continue to experience maintenance backlogs due to inadequate, hazardous and substandard facilities. The continual deterioration of the facility may expose personnel to hazardous working conditions.
The Aircraft Corrosion Control Facility is part of the Military Construction Army program for fiscal year 2013. Completion is scheduled for 2016, and will significantly increase the painting capacity for the organic industrial base at Corpus Christi Army Depot. The 77,765 sq. ft. building's six cleaning and paint bays will be large enough to accommodate the U.S. Army's newest and largest helicopters for the next several decades.
It will allow the depot to take on additional workload, continue to meet the state's air permit requirements by consolidating paint operations under one roof, and minimize costly downtime associated with aircraft movement.
The Aircraft Corrosion Control Facility will also incorporate environmentally friendly processes. New environment-conscious equipment will enable the depot to service not only more aircraft while producing fewer pollutants and using less energy.
"A few assignments ago I used to manage military construction for the Army back in the Pentagon, and I know the advanced planning, the environmental assessments, the designs, the continuing articulation of the requirement before various boards up and down the chain, and defending this project and budgets multiple times over multiple years," said Nerger. "Just because this building needed to be built was no guarantee that it would be built. The Army's military construction program budgets are declining and headed to historic lows. It really is very appropriate to single out how significant it is for Corpus Christi and the Army to get approval to move forward on this new facility."
Source: US Army
Date: Dec 23, 2013