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    Stealth Bomber Advancement: Ellsworth AFB’s New B-21 Hangar

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    Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City, South Dakota, a stronghold of American airpower, is set to become the premier home of the B-21 Raider, the Air Force’s next-generation stealth bomber.

    In a significant development, Conti Federal Services has been awarded a $135.5 million contract by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District to build a state-of-the-art B-21 Phase Maintenance Hangar at the base.

    Scheduled for completion in May 2027, this hangar is a key component of the B-21 beddown program and is expected to enhance the operational capacity of Ellsworth AFB.

    The cutting-edge facility will encompass a massive 80,000 square feet area, designed to accommodate two of these advanced aircraft simultaneously. The contract also includes an airfield apron and the necessary site features, utilities, and infrastructure to maintain the bomber’s readiness.

    Ellsworth AFB was strategically chosen as the first main operating base for the B-21 Raider. This decision signifies the Air Force’s confidence in the base’s capability to support long-range strike missions and bolster national security. The B-21, developed to amplify America’s long-range strike capability, is anticipated to replace older bombers such as the B-1 Lancer and potentially the B-52 Stratofortress.

    Ryan Kanzleiter, Vice President of Business Development at Conti Federal, stated, “This most recent award is a critical project to the B-21 mission at Ellsworth Air Force Base as it interfaces with many current and future beddown projects.” He emphasized the company’s commitment to delivering the project with a focus on safety, quality, and mission alignment.

    An F-22 Raptor soars through the air July 1, 2010, on its way home to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. The first two F-22s, the U.S. Air Force’s most advanced fighter jet, were dedicated July 9, 2010, at a ceremony here. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Gustavo Gonzalez)

    The Raider is on the edge of advanced aviation, integrating stealth technology reminiscent of the F-22 and F-35 jets, diminishing its radar presence.

    The U.S. Air Force expects the B-21 to reach operational capability by 2027, around the same time the new hangar is set to open. As tests are underway to ensure the bomber meets its operational targets, anticipation builds for its contribution to America’s aerospace defenses.

    Conti Federal Services, with a history dating back to 1906, has been entrusted with several infrastructure projects at Ellsworth AFB, reinforcing the base’s role in the United States’ strategic defense apparatus.

    Alongside the maintenance hangar, the company is also constructing a Radio Frequency Hangar, a Weapons Loader Training Facility, and a Fuel Systems Maintenance Dock, all of which are integral to the B-21 beddown program at the base.

    The B-21 Raider represents not just an advancement in stealth and combat capabilities but also an evolution in the Air Force’s strategic response to emerging threats.

    As the B-21 prepares to enter service, it will be supported by the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth AFB, commanded by Col. Derek Oakley, a decorated pilot with extensive experience, including as the director of the B-21 Integration and System Management Office.

    Col. Oakley’s leadership at Ellsworth AFB will be pivotal as the base transitions to integrate the B-21 into its operations. His background in managing B-1B and T-6 squadrons, coupled with his strategic involvement in the B-21’s development, will serve the 28th Bomb Wing well as they pave the way for this new era of aerial combat.

    As the Raider’s expected deployment nears, the Air Force and defense enthusiasts alike watch with bated breath. The construction of the B-21 Phase Maintenance Hangar is more than a building project; it’s a commitment to the future of U.S. military prowess and the safeguarding of the skies for generations to come.

    The hangar, once complete, will stand as a testament to the innovative spirit that drives military aviation and a beacon of America’s continued leadership in aerospace technology.

    Relevant articles:
    Conti Federal Awarded $135.5M Contract to Construct B-21 Phase Maintenance Hangar at Ellsworth Air Force Base, Morningstar
    Conti Federal to Build US Air Force B-21 Maintenance Hangar in South Dakota, The Defense Post
    DEREK C. OAKLEY, af.mil

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