First Set of F-35 Hardened Aircraft Shelters

As the Prime Contractor, Conti Federal delivered the first of several F-35 beddown reinforced hangars and supporting facilities for USACE Europe. The facilities consisted of reinforced concrete facilities, blast resistant steel sliding hangar doors, utilidors (underground utility corridors), complex mechanical and electrical systems, and a specialized, site-specific Building Management System (BMS). The work was completed by following strict security requirements, addressing logistical challenges, and managing multiple subcontractors while coordinating operations on an active military base adjacent to an active flightline.

The project scope delivered a total of 133,112 square feet in new facilities, containing more than 20,000 square feet of aircraft maintenance support spaces including hangars totaling 43,000 square feet; auxiliary facilities totaling 23,900 square feet; a 500 square foot waste area; a 21,500 square foot two-story secure planning and operations squadron administrative building; a 21,500 square foot utility tunnel extending to each reinforced hangar; and renovation of a 22,712 square foot ammunition storage area. Conti Federal also constructed approximately 247,600 square feet of concrete taxiways. Work also included site development (sidewalks and water culverts), parking spaces, roads, and junctions.

Electrical systems feed from the base low- and high-voltage electrical network. Base personnel control these systems with a complex, specialized, site-specific Building Management Control Monitoring System. This system includes a Human-Machine Interface (HMI) for the display screens, with each screen customized by discipline. Delivery of the system required close coordination with end-users and the system providers to develop and design the software and to integrate multiple building systems.

Conti Federal also installed a 1,000 kilovolt-ampere (kVA), 6.3/0.4 kilovolt (kV) transformer, a 630 kVA isolation transformer, uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system, 270 direct current volt (Vdc) power converters and hatch pits for the F-35s. Additional work elements included connections to the main feeding from the base medium voltage network, electrical system according to each building requirement and the end-user’s needs, taxiway lighting, outdoor lighting and infrastructure, and very low voltage systems (fire detection system etc.), and electrical gates.

Each hangar included multiple utility systems such as water, compressed air, oil waste, fuel, and sewage. Conti Federal constructed approximately 1,300 feet of underground tunnels to house electrical, mechanical, fuel, compressed air, fire detection, and telecommunication systems and provide a pathway for utilities to service all structures.

Conti Federal installed a 600 gallons-per-minute (gpm) fuel separator and complex mechanical control systems to operate the hangars’ blast gates. A lightning protection system and an equipment grounding system was also installed on all reinforced hangar structures, fuel rooms, and pumping stations. Permanent solar powered hot water heaters/boilers (solar panels and boiler) were placed on all building roofs requiring hot water.

Water, sewage, and compressed air systems included the supply and installation of a water system, hot water systems, oily waste system, sewage system, sanitary fixtures, storm drainage system, and compressed air system. We also installed jet fuel and cathodic protection systems.

Conti Federal constructed components in compliance with ICD 705 specifications and fitted out secure operations planning and administrative spaces within the squadron administrative building. These facilities are used by authorized personnel as fully functional secure spaces to store, discuss, and/or electronically process classified data. ICD 705 components included: perimeter construction, acoustical protection, communications, interior utilities penetrations, and an access control system.

Conti Federal also applied means and methods that comply with UFC 1-200-01 and UFC 1-200-2. For UFC 1-200-01, these included, Physical Security – Construction of physical security measures, Site Grading – grading and storm runoff does not affect surrounding sites, and Use of Materials – materials, coatings and protective measures that are durable in the corrosive environment. For UFC 1-200-2 these included, Integrated Planning to meet project quality goals, Waste Diversion of at least 60% nonhazardous construction debris waste from landfills by re-using or recycling materials, and Integrated Pest Management – use of environmentally friendly pest deterrents, i.e., noise, netting and spikes.

Base access security requirements presented a multitude of challenges. Constraints included the restriction on the number of material delivery trucks in each escorted convoy, a single contractor gate used by all USACE and non-USACE projects and coordination areas designated on bid drawings outside the construction site fenced area, and entry to the site across an active runway. These constraints all created schedule and planning challenges. To address these issues, we worked in these areas only on “no-fly” days.
Site access regulations posed complex logistical issues for deliveries, particularly during large concrete placements, which involved several dozen trucks arriving within a short work window. Conti Federal mitigated this challenge through careful planning and management to get materials to the site on schedule while always complying with base security requirements.
There were multiple operations underway on the base, and Conti Federal needed to carefully work around these other users. To avoid conflicts, we coordinated with interfacing projects to detail work windows, deliveries, and utility shutdowns, among other work elements. This approach helped to keep work progressing as planned while also ensuring other projects could proceed smoothly. Conti Federal also coordinated with base administration end-users to avoid interruptions to base operations, especially as the work was performed adjacent to existing structures and between two active runways. For example, Conti Federal’s crews needed to cross existing taxiways to access the site. To facilitate these crossings, we installed remote controlled arm barriers operated by the base’s air traffic tower. Our presence and activities on site did not impact any base operations.

The Highlights


Hardened Aircraft Shelters

Each Hardened Aircraft Shelter includes heavily reinforced concrete walls, steel sheds, shelter gates, custom-designed door types, and HVAC systems.


Shelter Blast Gates and Doors

The custom fabrication and installation of the blast gates and doors had to be sequenced with the cast-in-place concrete walls with each gate weighing over 60 tons. 


Square Feet

The project scope delivered 133,112 sq ft in new facilities, including more than 20,000 sq ft of aircraft maintenance support spaces. 

ICD 705


Conti Federal constructed components in compliance with ICD 705 specifications and fitted out secure operations planning and administrative spaces within the squadron administrative building. 

In this image: The first phase of construction was to build the tunnels.

In this image: USACE Europe was excited for the successful completion of the project.

“This specific project entailed multiple aspects and facets of original and unique design, especially within the structural discipline. Conti Federal’s ability and experience in the steel and concrete works allowed for solid partnering on site leading to an overall better product for the customer.”

USACE Europe Authorized Contracting Officer