Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Navy's Largest P-3 Hangar Takes Flight

By Miriam S. Gallet, Naval Air Station Jacksonville Public Affairs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- The acting secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) joined community leaders and hundreds of guests May 5 for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of Hangar 511 built at Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville to increase the Navy's aviation community's warfighting readiness.

"The opening of this hanger brings us one step closer to getting our critical P8 capability to the fleet. This facility is state of the art and incorporates many environmental enhancements which will make operations here safer for our Sailors as well as the environment," stated Acting SECNAV B.J. Penn.

Hangar 511, the largest structure of its kind in the Navy, is a $127-million facility designed to accommodate the P-8 Poseidon, the replacement aircraft for the P-3 Orion.

NAS Jacksonville Commanding Officer Capt. Jack Scorby Jr. expressed his pride on the important role his base is playing in supporting this new capability.

"As commanding officer of the finest naval air station in the world, I could not be more proud of the hard work that went into making this day a reality. Hangar 511 represents the future of naval aviation.

"The $127 million invested in this project will serve the Navy's maritime patrol and reconnaissance community for decades to come," said Scorby. "This facility also rings in a new era of construction design and environmental sustainability that provides our warfighters with the very best in modern infrastructure that includes being the first 'green' aircraft hangar in the U.S. Navy."

Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing (CPRW) 11 Commanding Officer Capt. Kyle Cozad quoted author Victor Hugo when he told the audience, "There is nothing like a dream to create the future."

He also noted the symbolism of the new hangar's number (511) that represents the upcoming merger of CPRW-5 from NAS Brunswick with CPRW-11 at NAS Jacksonville.

"Today's ceremony brings Hangar 511 to life and reminds us of how our maritime patrol and reconnaissance community has evolved and adapted to remain relevant for the past 50 years. Without question, it's our people who have not only dreamed but taken action to turn those dreams into reality," added Cozad.

The new hangar is a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Committee (BRAC) that ordered the closure of NAS Brunswick, Maine. On April 13, 2007 officials broke ground for the project designed to accommodate approximately 37 P-3C Orion aircraft. At a length of 333 yards, the structure is longer than three football fields placed end to end.

Local military, political and business leaders attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony and recognized Sailors' important contributions and service to the Navy, nation and local community.

"Jacksonville is proud to be the location for the new P-3 hangar and the additional squadron members who will be living and working in our community. Currently, more than 250,000 Jacksonville residents are active members of the military in addition to the more than 150,000 veterans who call Jacksonville home. This city has enjoyed a true partnership the military and with NAS, in particular," said Mayor John Peyton.

"Members of this community influence Jacksonville's culture, leadership and economy. As always, the military continues to be an incredible asset to the North Florida region, and we are committed to meeting their needs."