Local contractor to begin work at Whiting Field

Special to
The TH-119 is the Leonardo Helicopters entry for replacing the aging TH-57 Sea Ranger helicopters now used in initial helicopter pilot training at Naval Air Station Whiting Field. Two other companies, Bell Helicopters and Airbus, have also developed helicopters that could replace the 130 Sea Rangers now in the Whiting Field fleet. [COURTESY PHOTO/LEONARDO HELICOPTERS]

JACKSONVILLE — Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southeast awarded a $30 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract to Schmidt-Prime Group LLC of Pensacola Nov. 20 for professional architectural and engineering services in the NAVFAC Southeast area of operations (AO).

An IDIQ contract provides an indefinite quantity of supplies or services during a fixed period of time. Task orders are then issued from the IDIQ for architecture and engineering design, and other related services.

"IDIQ contracts are great acquisition tools that speed up the process when awarding multiple projects with similar scope," said NAVFAC Southeast Contract Specialist Nicole Jackson.

An initial task order was awarded at $441,467 to provide engineering services to update Naval Air Station (NAS) Whiting Field in support of the Advanced Helicopter Training System (AHTS). The work for this task order is expected to be completed by March 2020.

The AHTS is the U.S. Navy's planned replacement to address the capability and capacity gaps of the current aging TH-57 Sea Ranger helicopter training platform. The current rotary training system is a 1980s platform and is no longer representative of fleet aircraft.

“We're excited to receive the TH-73A at NAS Whiting Field,” said Training Air Wing 5 Capt. Douglas Rosa. “This upgraded rotary-wing trainer will replace our 35 year-old training system, a key part of the Navy's effort to completely modernize the Advanced Rotary Wing Pilot training program.

“The TH-73A includes a modern avionics suite and improved performance characteristics over the TH-57 Sea Ranger and will enable our student naval aviators to gain proficiency using a single platform rather than transitioning from the TH-57B to the C model, which will allow greater emphasis on training mission-relevant skills,” he added.

AHTS is more than just the helicopter airframe. It includes the infrastructure, curriculum, maintenance and training tools to produce world-class training for our future aviators. It provides the tools needed to produce the next generations of rotary and tilt-rotor pilots for the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and selected allied nations with current and relevant training platforms through 2050.