Building a Home for the MV-22
Creative collaboration, innovative techniques and a strong quality control program delivered the largest U.S. Marine Corps facility in the world, ahead of schedule and within budget.
By Kimberly Cutlip, M.SAME
The design of the MV-22 Mega-Hangar at Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., varied from the traditional triangular-shaped cantilevered frame to a square cantilevered frame system. This allows for longer span distances and eliminates nearly 50 percent of the main cantilever frames. Multiple maintenance operations can proceed simultaneously without conflict. PHOTOS BY ANTONIO VALDIVIA, HASKELL
Some say the MV-22 aircraft is unsurpassed in its capabilities. The Osprey gets Marines in and out of an objective faster and farther than ever before. Its vertical take-offs and landings, coupled with speed, range and efficiency allow for safe, timely delivery of troops and supplies on the ground.
In spring 2015, a state-of-the art MV-22 Mega-Hangar entered service at Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C. The new facility is the largest U.S. Marine Corps building in the world and the largest Department of Defense cantilever hangar.
While the existing MV-22 Tilt-Rotor Squadrons’ maintenance system was working, the Marine Corps knew it could streamline these operations by moving closer to storage facilities located 50-mi away. The Marine Corps turned to Haskell to design and build the new aviation facility. Having a new hangar would reduce the turnaround time on aircraft maintenance from eight to approximately two hours.
Previously, the air station also was home to six squadrons, but with only room for five of them permanently. This meant one squadron always needed to be deployed. The new MV-22 Mega-Hangar accommodates all the squadrons, enhancing the family life of the military community.
Delivery of this high-performance, specialized project required creative collaboration between the contractor, the architects and engineers, and the Resident Officer in Charge of Construction Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River staffs. The work involved the supervision of over 200 trades and more than 1.1 million man-hours. The expansive aviation complex was spread over 437-acres with multiple projects ongoing simultaneously, which required constant coordination with base security and safety personnel. Only through the use of innovative construction techniques, a strong quality control program and exceptional teamwork could this facility have become a reality.
Four football fields could fit inside the new 263,000-ft² hangar. It contains multiple bays, advanced briefing and ready rooms, shop and flight operations space, an aircraft wash rack, and maintenance functions. There are multi-story crew, equipment and administrative areas at the rear of the hangar bay.
Built-in equipment includes two elevators and four 7-T bridge cranes with a 42-ft hook height. The unique cantilevered hangar design provides a column-free 1,300-ft opening utilizing fabric hangar doors. This can accommodate the widest wing spans and maximize operational flexibility.
The facility also includes a 1,250 space net zero precast concrete parking garage with a photovoltaic farm, access ramps and pile supported reinforced concrete foundations. Construction of 4.2-mi of roadway, 66,000-yd² of asphalt parallel taxiway, a 1.8 million-ft² concrete parking apron expansion, a sports complex, and an Aircraft Compass Calibration Pad (compliant with UFC-3-260-01 -Airfield and Heliport Planning and Design) completed the project.
The rooftop placement of a photovoltaic farm on the parking garage for the complex will provide excess electricity to the hangar. PHOTOS BY ANTONIO VALDIVIA, HASKELL
INNOVATIONS AND ENHANCEMENTS
The new MV-22 hangar is nearly twice the size of any existing hanger on the installation, yet was required to meet the base architectural standards while remaining cohesive with nearby hangar aesthetics and adjacent runways.
The design team, with approval from Naval Facilities Engineering Command, varied from the traditional triangular-shaped cantilevered frame to a square cantilevered frame system. This allows for longer span distances and eliminated nearly 50 percent of the main cantilever frames. This alternate design reduced the steel tonnage used. Fewer erection pieces compressed the schedule and provided the added feature of bringing the structure down to a more human scale in alignment with the other hangars on base.
Tilt-up concrete was used on the exterior walls in lieu of concrete masonry units on the office portion of the project. This improved the overall project schedule, increased durability and also will minimize future maintenance.
The aviation complex’s net zero parking structure will provide energy savings to the base and community for years. The rooftop location of the panels enhances sustainability by creating on-site energy in an attractive and aesthetic manner without requiring additional green space.
The multi-level, precast parking structure will provide excess energy to the hangar, enhancing the overall energy performance of the facility. The system can generate 1.28 million-kWh of power annually. Annual carbon dioxide offset from the system is in excess of 1,300-T.
The project utilized building information modeling for innovative layout technologies, pre-construction clash detection and construction sequencing. The team also coordinated all mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems in clash detection software to resolve conflicts virtually prior to start of work. This increased opportunities for pre-fabrication.
Modular formwork was optimized through modeling and simulation of the construction schedule sequence. The process allowed for a better understanding of formwork needs and the minimum components necessary to build the concrete trenching and oil water separator basin.
The MV-22 Mega-Hangar has an unprecedented opening that can accommodate the widest wing spans while maximizing flexibility of operations. Clear story windows and clear fabric in portions of the hangar doors allow for additional aesthetics and added natural lighting for better energy performance. PHOTOS BY ANTONIO VALDIVIA, HASKELL
Speed of construction, a vast, complex site, one of the wettest summers in North Carolina history, utility and environmental conditions, as well as the base’s seven-day-a-week, 24-hours-a-day operations, presented numerous challenges.
For instance, since the project’s 437-acre site was adjacent to an operating military airfield, constant radio contact with the control tower was required. Additionally, as work on the taxiway and apron expansion began, it was determined the soil underneath was an unsuitable construction foundation. Collaboratively, a solution was found that included cement stabilization and installation of an underdrain system without compromising the location. Multiple delivery sequences were employed to complete this work without impacting the active runways.
Another challenge was the discovery of unexploded ordinance. Areas had to be isolated, resulting in a seven-month delay in site work to await an ordinance explosive contractor to survey and mitigate the site. To accommodate for this delay and keep the project moving, Haskell re-sequenced and rescheduled work.
Despite the project’s challenges, the final contract price remained 13 percent below the originally allocated government budget of $180 million and beneficial occupancy was achieved three months ahead of the scheduled completion date. Involvement of the design-builder’s in-house architecture and engineering staff was paramount to the overall quality. Design professionals were intimately involved, providing onsite quality checks from design through construction and closeout. NewformaPlans, a tablet based construction application, provided real-time punch list management and enhanced quality control. Already, aircraft operational availability and troop morale has improved markedly for all six MV-22 squadrons assigned to the installation.
The processes, techniques and design concepts used for the MV-22 Mega-Hangar at Marine Corps Air Station New River will set the future standard for Type II hangars.