$15 million secured for renovation of Malmstrom hangar in preparation for new helicopters

Funding has been awarded for another military construction project at Malmstrom Air Force Base related to the incoming MH-139 Grey Wolf helicopter that is replacing the UH-1N Huey.

According to U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, $15,077,162 was secured on March 10 for the renovation of the existing 3-bay hangar on base to house the new helicopters.

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The contract for the project, at that dollar figure, was awarded in January as a firm-fixed-price contract to James Talcott Construction, a Great Falls company, according to Sen. Jon Tester’s office.

The award was the result of a 100 percent small business set-aside competitive acquisition and five bids were received, according to Tester’s office.

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In a release, Daines said, “This is good news for Montana and will help modernize our defense infrastructure at Malmstrom. We must ensure that our men and women serving in uniform have access to the best equipment available for our national security. I’m proud to have helped secure resources and push for this important project for Malmstrom.”

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Renovation of the 3-bay hangar is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2021, according to Tester’s office.

In am email to The Electric, Tester said, This contract is exciting news for the men and women of Malmstrom Air Force Base who fight each and every day to keep our country safe. Renovating the 3-bay hangar is a key investment that will not only create jobs in Great Falls, but also provide Malmstrom the capability to field new helicopters needed to carry out their critical mission well into the future.”

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Daines visited Malmstrom in February and met with 341st Missile Wing Commander Col. Jennifer Reeves to discuss needed infrastructure upgrades including the 3-bay hangar, according to a Daines release. In September, he met with U.S. Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett and discussed the program to replace the Huey and associated infrastructure projects, according to the release.

Barrett is visiting Malmstrom Air Force Base and the Montana Air National Guard this weekend at Tester’s invitation.

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In January, Reeves told City Commissioners that Malmstrom is slated to receive two to four MH-139 Grey Wolf helicopters in April 2021 and that the base would receive the first of the operational helicopters.

Eventually, the base will receive 11 MH-139s, Reeves said. The base currently has 8 Hueys.

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In January, Reeves said the 3-bay hangar renovation was included in the current fiscal year budget for the base. The federal fiscal year runs Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.

During the January presentation to the city, Reeves said the tactical response force alert facility, a $17.4 million project, is nearing completion and expected to be finished in May.

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Last year, the base broke ground on an $18.7 million missile maintenance dispatch facility. In June 2019, the Army Corps of Engineers awarded a contract to a joint venture between WHH Nisqually and Garco for the 43,500 square feet of new construction.

The new missile maintenance facility is being built because the functions that would occupy that building are being displaced from their current location in the existing three-bay hangar, which will now be renovated.

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Part of the funding for the $237 million weapons storage facility project is also included in this year’s budget. Reeves said the facility at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming was already under construction.

She said the same design would be used at Malmstrom with modifications for site specific conditions in Great Falls.

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