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New hangar to shield Dover Air Force Base’s largest aircraft during bad weather

Expected completion is December 2021

Emily Lytle
Dover Post
Representatives of Dover Air Force Base, Delaware’s congressional delegation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the construction company Archer Western broke ground at the site of the new $41.2 million maintenance hangar July 31.

After two decades of waiting and planning, Dover Air Force Base celebrated the groundbreaking for a new $41.2 million maintenance hangar July 31. 

The enclosed hangar will allow for indoor maintenance on the Air Force’s largest aircraft, the C-5M Super Galaxy. Col. Matt Jones, 436th Airlift Wing commander, said hangars are most often built to house new weapons systems, “but, this hangar is the exception.”

“On behalf of all Team Dover, I am grateful that the … investment is not always reserved for the new kid on the block, but today, the world’s reigning heavyweight champion of airlift,” Jones said.

Engineers expect to complete the new hangar by December 2021. With the ability to perform all kinds of maintenance on C-5 aircraft and smaller, the hangar will be one of the base’s most versatile. It will have necessary lighting and ventilation for fuel cell maintenance, which Jones said is some of the most sensitive maintenance work on base. 

Col. Matt Jones, 436th Airlift Wing commander, talked about the history of this project that has been in the works for 20 years.

As rain fell more and more steadily during the ceremony, Jones said this weather is a good example of why the enclosed hangar is so important. “We lose the opportunity to generate airlift at the tune of at least a month a year due to cold weather, hot weather or [other] temperatures,” he said. 

Each member of the congressional delegation was represented at the ceremony. Sen. Chris Coons said it was great to see the project come to fruition after being a high priority for so long.

“The men and women who service these great machines have been [cutting] their productivity because of a lack of a closed-in hangar,” Coons said. “As a member of [the U.S. Senate Committee on] Appropriations, this is the sort of work I take real delight in doing, and it doesn’t happen by one person alone.”

Attendees sat through a rainy ceremony to see the historic groundbreaking for Dover Air Force Base’s newest indoor maintenance hangar July 31.

Michael Baker International designed the project, and Archer-Western will construct it. 

Representing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Philadelphia district, Lt. Col. David Park said the hangar is expected to have a 25-year life cycle before renovations and 50-year life cycle before replacement. 

Beyond improving maintenance capability, “it is something that will allow us to be better stewards of our national resources and our environment,” Park said.

The base has had five hangars, and the newest one was built in 1983, Jones said.