Officials of the Army Corps of Engineers in Seattle awarded an $11.3 million contract Thursday to Walsh Group Ventures in Chicago to build a new control tower and supporting facilities at Gray Army Airfield on Joint Base Lewis-McChord southwest of Seattle.
The new 13,700-square-foot, 20-person tower should be finished by April 2017, Army officials say. It will replace the airfield's existing 3,300-square-foot tower located on the west side of the airfield's main 33/15 runway.
The existing tower will be demolished because it is within the runway clear zone and is considered an obstacle, officials say. The new tower will be built to last at least 50 years.
The new tower will be a tall, windowed structure on the airport, in which air traffic controllers coordinate the movement of aircraft and ground vehicles on the airfield taxiways and runways, as well as helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles in the air out to five to ten nautical miles from the airport runways.
The tower will have surveillance displays to assist with controlling air traffic, as well as for secondary surveillance radar for airborne traffic approaching and departing the airfield.
Tower displays include maps of the area, the position of aircraft, and data tags that include aircraft identification, speed, altitude, and other information.
Tower controllers generally handle local air control, ground control, and flight data and clearance delivery. Tower controllers typically control aircraft and ground vehicles operating on the airport taxiways and runways visually from high windows, or with airport ground-control radar systems in bad weather.
Gray Army Airfield is one of two large airports on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The airfield primarily supports Army CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters, as well as other Army rotorcraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, and fixed-wing manned aircraft. Its 6,121-foot main runway also can handle relatively large military cargo jets like the Boeing C-17.
The other airport at Joint Base Lewis-McChord is the Air Force's McChord Field about 10 miles northeast of Gray Army Airfield. McChord Field's 10,108-foot main runway 16/34 handles C-17 cargo jets of the Air Force's 62nd Airlift Wing.
For more information contact Joint Base Lewis-McChord online at www.lewis-mcchord.army.mil, Walsh Group Ventures at www.walshgroup.com, or the Army Corps of Engineers Seattle District at www.nws.usace.army.mil.