MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. -- Construction is underway on an F-35B Lightning II hangar aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.
Slated to be completed next year, the new hangar will be utilized by future F-35 squadrons in the coming years.
Until future aircraft arrive, Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 is the only F-35 squadron aboard the air station training pilots and mechanics from across the Marine Corps and around the world.
The facility is designed to be an aircraft maintenance hangar able to accommodate F-35 aircraft that will consist of high bay space, crew and equipment space, administrative space, data network areas and pilot brief and debrief rooms.
“This hangar is the newest addition to the F-35 program,” said Pete Robson, the supervisory construction manager with public works aboard MCAS Beaufort. “It is the second F-35 hangar built aboard MCAS Beaufort to support the program and both hangars will operate simultaneously”
The construction project includes aircraft parking near the building and an aircraft access apron. A three-level parking garage is being constructed adjacent to the brand new hangar.
“This is a brand new, state-of-the-art facility with all the workings of a modern F-35 hangar,” said Robson. “It will have an updated electrical system to support the power needs of the mechanics.”
The construction started with laying the foundation of the hangar last year. Now the frame of the finished product has begun to take shape on the flight line.
“The contract was awarded in August 2014 and the hangar is scheduled to be completed in October of 2016,” said Robson. “We are currently about 50 percent of the way through construction.”
According to Sgt. Maj. Daniel Moore, the sergeant major of VMFA-115, the F-35 program is growing every day and this new hangar will give Marines a chance to expand, learn and grow when their mission towards the F-35..
The F-35 Lightning II is referred to as a 5th generation fighter, combining ad¬vanced stealth capabilities with fighter aircraft speed and agility, fully-fused sen¬sor information, network-enabled opera¬tions, and advanced logistics and sustain¬ment, according to Lockheed Martin, the company who designed the jet.
“This hanger will help the F-35 program by supplying pilots and mechanics with a work space that suits the needs of the jet,” said Moore. “I have no doubt the hangar will be put to good use.”
The new hangar will bring the air station one step closer to being entirely F-35 capable.
“The F-35 is not only the future of MCAS Beaufort, but also best thing for Marine Corps aviation as a whole,” said Moore.