The 1108th Theater Aviation Sustainment Maintenance Group cut the ribbon on the first phase of a $40 million corrosion control and paint hangar expected to create a faster, more efficient workflow.
Col. Glen Flowers, the unit’s commander, said the new corrosion control and paint hangar has many advantages over the previous one. At 60,000 square feet, the facility is twice the size of its predecessor. Workers will be able to fit a CH-47 Chinook and only have to remove the rotors. In the old hangar, they had to also take off a pylon to fit the helicopter inside, which required a lot of extra time and work.
Another benefit is the hangar is climate controlled. Flowers said South Mississippi weather has long been an issue in causing delays. Now the paint will dry faster because it won’t be subjected to humid conditions. Also a separate component bay will allow the staff to simultaneously paint the components and aircraft.
“The new facility allows us to reduce down time incurred by our customers because we can return their aircraft to them in a more timely manner so they can accomplish their stateside and deployed missions,” Flowers said.
Construction of the second phase will start in October. The project will include the addition of areas for welding, an engine shop, and rotor blade and sheet metal work.
The 1108th TASMG in Gulfport gives maintenance support to more than 300 Army National Guard helicopters in nine states, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. It conducts thorough helicopter evaluations as part of its routine maintenance. Workers try to catch any corrosion problems early so they can remedy the issue and extend the service life of the aircraft, which saves taxpayer money.