By Preston L. Chasteen, Tulsa District
Construction of a new air traffic control tower takes shape on Tinker Air Force Base, as U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District personnel work with Air Force partners to keep the project on track for completion in 2019.
In preparation for the project, Air Force Civil Engineering Center provided a scope of work to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District, to construct a new 130 foot tower which will also include a 500 square foot air traffic control simulator facility. The new facility will be modern, efficient, and appropriately-sized to house system components directly supporting the mission.
Initial civil site layout on the tower began in January 2018, with the overall facility size established at 8,900 square feet upon completion.
Physical completion is expected to be early 2019. Once complete, the 85th Engineering Installation Squadron from Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi will install all airfield communications, cable antenna, and translators needed to control aircraft approaching, departing, and transiting.
“It’s exciting for the Corps to be able to build this control tower for Tinker Air Force Base. We had a lot of lessons learned on the Vance AFB tower and we were lucky to have some of the same personnel working on this project”, stated Kendrick Adams, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District, project engineer, “This control tower will be the most modern structure possible and will closely resemble the tower that the Tulsa District recently completed at Vance AFB near Enid, OK.”
The new air traffic control tower will be equipped with a storm shelter which will be located on the 1st floor and may be of interest to many due to the fact Oklahoma sits in the heart of what is known as, “Tornado Alley.” The design meets sustainable requirements and provides for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) “Silver” certification.
Final construction costs after executed modifications will be around $14.5M.
The existing air traffic control tower was designed and built in 1970 and provides less than 50 percent of the required space to support today’s mission. The tower cab, by today’s standards, is too small and cramped to accommodate all of the occupants. The old 100 foot tall tower and simulator building will be demolished after the new tower has been certified for functionality.
Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City employs more than 26,000 military and civilian personnel. The installation is the largest single-site employer in the state of Oklahoma with an annual statewide economic impact of $3.51 billion, creating an estimated 33,000 secondary jobs. The Air Force owns 4,048 acres, leases 810 acres and has 642 acres of easements with 458 total buildings.
The 72nd Air Base Wing at Tinker provides base installation and support services for the headquarters, Air Force Sustainment Center, the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex and 45 associate units assigned to six major commands, including the largest flying wing in Air Combat Command.
Tinker is also home to the 507th Air Refueling Wing which currently flies KC-135’s aerial refueling aircraft and the 552nd Air Control Wing which flies the E-3 Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) aircraft.
Tinker’s largest organization is the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex which houses depot maintenance for Air Force, Navy, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve aircraft.
This depot is the largest most expansive of three depot repair complexes in the Air Force Materiel Command and provides depot maintenance on the C/KC-135, B-1B, B-52 and E-3 aircraft, expanded phase maintenance on the Navy E-6 aircraft, as well as maintenance, repair and overhaul of F100, F101, F108, F110, F118, F119 and TF33 engines for the Air Force, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, Navy and foreign military sales.