NAS LEMOORE (February 26, 2020) – NAS Lemoore and Harper Construction Company Inc. leadership participated in a groundbreaking ceremony aboard NAS Lemoore, marking the official start of construction on a new F-35C Lightning II hangar.
Ceremonial Groundbreaking Kicks-Off Construction of New F-35C Hangar
Building 360, known as “Hangar Six,” will be the second F-35C hangar at NAS Lemoore. This construction project began roughly four months after Harper Construction Company Inc., from San Diego, Calif. was awarded a $95 million dollar, firm-fix price contract for the new facility last September.
“We’re just finished up an F-35 hangar down in Miramar and most of our crew is moving up to Lemoore or this project,” said Ronald D. Harper, founder and chairman of Harper Construction Company, Inc. “We’re very happy to be here. We very much like the base and the people we work with and it’s a good place to be.”
Hangar Six will be the first new hangar built at NAS Lemoore since the late 1970s. It will be the first NAS Lemoore hangar built, from the ground up, specifically for the 5th Generation strike fighter: the F-35C Lightning II and will be located just north of Hangar Four aboard the operations portion of NAS Lemoore. The project includes construction of a two-module aircraft maintenance hangar with flight pre-planning operations spaces as well as work bays with cranes, shops, offices and associated airfield pavements, operational and munitions storage. It also includes renovation of an existing battery shop and the addition of a new tool room. When complete, Hangar Six will be a total of four modules. It is being constructed in a phased approach of 2 modules (expected completion November 2021), and then another 2 modules (expected completion February 2024). When Phase 2 is complete, Hangar Six will be complete.
“It’s impressive to take stock of the momentum this program has gained since the Navy decided on NAS Lemoore as the home of the F-35C back in 2014,” said VFA-125 Commanding Officer, Adan Covarrubias. “The F-35C community at NAS Lemoore is actively and consistently moving the needle forward as we bring this incredible, game-changing asset to the carrier air wing of the future.”
The new F-35C hangar joins the list of buildings that have been added or remodeled at NAS Lemoore to accommodate the program, including the newly-remodeled Hangar Five, a Pilot Fit Facility (PFF), Centralized Engine Repair Facility (CERF), Pilot Training Center (PTC) and current construction on the Tactical Combat Training System (TCTS) facility. Future projects are sequenced to provide additional operational capability as additional Navy squadrons transition to the F-35C. Marine Corps F-35C squadrons will be based at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, CA.
NAS Lemoore was established in 1961 as the master jet base for the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet. It was purpose-built to support Cold War aviation missions and was chosen because of its location, access to ranges, congestion-free air-space and good weather that supports unimpeded flight training and operations. To date, the installation remains the newest and largest U.S. Navy jet base and maintains a busy flight schedule, holding on to its master jet base distinction. NAS Lemoore is currently home to 16 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet strike fighter squadrons and is the only home to U.S. Navy F-35C Lightning II Fleet squadrons: VFA-147 “Argonauts” and VFA-125 “Rough Raiders,” the F-35C Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS).
“When we assessed the requirements to establish and mature the F-35C community, NAS Lemoore was the right place to home-base our Sailors and aircraft. Home-basing the F-35C at NAS Lemoore also gives Sailors the flexibility to move from ‘sea’ to ‘shore’ billets without leaving NAS Lemoore,” said U.S. Navy F-35C Wing Commodore, Capt. Max McCoy. “The F-35C is part of the Navy’s Strike Fighter community. Co-locating 4th and 5th generation aircraft accelerates carrier air wing integration, making our carrier strike groups more lethal and survivable. NAS Lemoore is a catalyst for how we will train, maintain and sustain future carrier air wing capability.”
The mission-ready F-35C is the latest addition to U.S. Navy’s Carrier Air Wing. With its stealth technology, state-of-the-art avionics, advanced sensors, weapons capacity and combat radius, the aircraft carrier-based F-35C provides unprecedented air superiority, interdiction, suppression of enemy air defenses and close-air-support as well as advanced command and control functions through fused sensors. These state-of-the-art capabilities give pilots and combatant commanders unrivaled battlespace awareness and lethality.
Commander, Joint Strike Fighter Wing, headquartered at Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif. ensures that each F-35C squadron is fully combat-ready to conduct carrier-based, all-weather, attack, fighter and support missions for Commander, Naval Air Forces. VFA-147’s safe-for-flight brings the squadron and the U.S. Navy one step closer to fully bringing this platform online. With its stealth technology, advanced sensors, weapons capacity and range, the F-35C will be the first 5th generation aircraft operated from an aircraft carrier.