SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - In preparation for one of the most advanced fighter jets in the world, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar is planning security upgrades to its airfield perimeter fence.
10News discovered it’s one of nine large-scale construction projects that Miramar will be doing over the next decade.
"These construction projects here are what enables, that is what brings our national defense policy and strategy to reality," said Public Works Officer Lt. Commander Travis Brinkman.
Currently being built in the heart of MCAS Miramar is a 160,000 square foot hangar is designed to hold up to 12 F-35s.It's the first of three hangars planned for the location.
"The need to provide modern facilities as well as the F-35 has specific requirements, specific systems that need different maintenance, different capabilities within the facility itself to provide that maintenance,” said Brinkman.
According to a post on the Federal Business Opportunities website, MCAS Miramar is also looking to replace more than 24,000 feet of existing chain link fence, vehicle gates, and swing arm barriers.
According to the site, “The project magnitude is $3,000,000 to $5,000,000.”
"We're upgrading the fence line around the airfield itself, and it’s simply to ensure that our fence line is complying with the security requirements for the F-35,” said Brinkman. "This brings Miramar, puts it on the forefront of national defense and national defense strategy,” said MCAS Miramar Director of Communications Capt. Matthew Gregory.
According to officials, the Marine Corps will eventually transition its entire tactical air fleet to F-35 to include three legacy platforms: the AV-8B Harrier, the F/A-18 Hornet, and the EA-6B Prowler.
They tell us the aircraft combines next-generation fighter characteristics of radar-evading stealth, supersonic speed, fighter agility, and advanced logistical support. It also has a different sound, one anyone nearby will notice.
"Once they get out here to California, most notable to the community, one you're going to see a different plane flying but two its going to sound a little different,” said Gregory. “It's not necessarily louder than the F-18’s, but it's got a different pitch because it's got a different engine on it.”
The price tag for all the projects scheduled in the next decade is around half a billion dollars.
Military officials believe it will save money in the long run and offer a longer lifespan.
The hangar should be ready to receive the new aircraft around January 2020.