Wednesday, June 19, 2024

BL Harbert wins $210M contract for Air Force nuclear weapon facility in Louisiana

by BIZ Magazine

The U.S. military selected BL Harbert International LLC to build a weapons generation facility at Barksdale Air Force Base, Bossier City, La. The construction will need to meet security requirements for protecting nuclear-capable bombers.

Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Southeast, part of the U.S. Navy, awarded a $210.2-million firm-fixed-price contract Sept. 12 to the Birmingham, Ala.-based contractor, according to a U.S. Dept. of Defense contract award notice. The design-bid-build project also includes 11 options which would increase its value to $221.2 million, if exercised, according to NAVFAC.

The project is scheduled for completion by January 2026. The plans call for construction of five buildings and renovations to one existing building on the 28-acre complex, including an 84,000-sq-ft main weapons generation facility building and support buildings totaling 16,000 sq ft, according to partially redacted procurement documents made public by NAVFAC. They describe it as “a hardened, secure, multifunctional bomber-specific facility, designed with a series of security and control features.”

NAVFAC said it received two offers for the work and chose BL Harbert using best value tradeoff source selection procurement considering technical factors in addition to price. A spokesperson for the contractor did not immediately respond to inquiries about the project.

According to the U.S. Air Force, weapons generation facilities are replacing nuclear weapons storage areas built in the 1960s and 1970s. The new facilities consolidate nuclear weapon maintenance and training in addition to storage. The Air Force has plans to build several weapons generation facilities. Fluor Corp. is leading construction of the first at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming. That project is scheduled for completion by July 2025.

The Barksdale facility would accommodate B-52 bombers already assigned to the base, according to Lt. Cmdr. James Keokosal, resident officer in charge of construction at Barksdale. While Barksdale’s B-52s are already capable of carrying nuclear weapons, the aircraft stationed there currently must fly to North Dakota to be armed with them, according to Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.), whose congressional district includes the area around the base.

“The completed complex will be critical to the Air Force Global Strike Command’s mission of providing lethal precision strikes anywhere, at any time,” Keokosal said in a statement.

The project would be the largest undertaken at Barksdale since it was established following World War II, according to NAVFAC. Early site work began last year via a $33-million contract with Galveston, Texas-based SLSCO Ltd.”

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