RAPID CITY, S.D. (AFNS) --
The assistant secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment, and Energy, the Honorable John W. Henderson, provided keynote remarks at a virtual B-21 Industry Day, Jan. 11. The virtual event, hosted by the Rapid City Military Advisory Coalition, was held to increase industry awareness about potential construction opportunities that will support the beddown of the newest Air Force stealth bomber.
In his opening comments, Henderson emphasized the importance of industry partnership, “We can’t do this without you. We can only be successful when we proactively work as a team with our industry and community partners to ensure a common understanding of our plan, our timeline, potential environmental impacts, and the assistance that we’ll need from the private sector once the Record of Decision is signed by the secretary of the Air Force.”
The Air Force Civil Engineering Center and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers explained the types, quantities and scale of projects anticipated, including a low-observable restoration facility, a wash rack and general maintenance hangar, and a mission operations planning facility.
Also, the government shared how industry can respond to upcoming construction opportunities via the U.S. government’s System for Award Management website.
As announced by the secretary of the Air Force in March 2019, Ellsworth Air Force Base is the preferred location, and Dyess AFB, Texas, the reasonable alternative, for the first B-21 main operating base. The Air Force selected these bases to minimize impact to operations and communities, maximize reuse of existing infrastructure and reduce overall costs to base the B-21.
Actual B-21 beddown construction will not begin until the Air Force completes an Environmental Impact Statement and makes a final basing decision, expected in fiscal year 2021. The draft environmental statement can be viewed here.
Due to the significant amount of new construction and existing facility modernization anticipated, early industry engagement and transparency is an Air Force priority. Future B-21 industry days are expected to further support industry awareness about future B-21 beddown construction opportunities.