Being the largest fighter wing in the Air Force has its costs. Everything from school quality, the local economy, crime rates, traffic and climate, to on-base amenities, such as commissaries, are assessed to determine the best Air Force bases in the US. In order to keep the living standards high for all Airmen at Luke Air Force Base, maintenance is required.
The 56th Contracting Squadron signed a $95 million contract Aug. 4 ensuring Luke AFB maintenance and upkeep expenses will be met through July 27, 2019.
“We can do everything and anything with this contract,” said James Sowden, 56th CONS contracting specialist. “From $2,500 to millions, we can conduct any type of construction for the base.”
Finalizing the contract wasn’t easy. For the amount of money that went into the contract, multiple level reviews were done to make sure the right proposal was selected. Twenty-five offers were selected for review. 56th CONS disqualified each proposal that wasn’t technically acceptable or price acceptable. After spending 18 months reviewing potential contracts, four were awarded for Luke Air Force Base. Each contract is a five-year contract, one guaranteed year and four one-year options.
“This is the largest contract Luke AFB has ever had,” Sowden said.
The four contracts execute requirements for the aging infrastructure here on Luke. The advantage of these contracts is that Luke leadership doesn’t have to go out to the public for funding because the contracts will take care of the funds.
In addition, work order timeframes will be reduced significantly through the contract.
“Before the contracts, it would take about four to six months to process work orders,” said Eric Hinsch, 56th CONS contracting officer. “Now with the new contracts, it will take about a month to process work orders.”
The contracts are a game-changer for base leaders. They position the base to be a better candidate for funding from the Air Force. For example, when it’s time for the Air Force to provide funding for the bases, they will look at the bases that are prepared for funding. With the contracts, the Air Force will see that Luke has planned and prepared for the projects they need to fulfill.
For most Airmen and civilians on base, the benefits of the contract won’t be immediately felt. Even though Luke members won’t see the behind-the-scenes work, Sowden believes the contracts will help improve the base’s condition and help achieve Luke’s mission to train the world’s greatest F-16 fighter pilots and the emerging mission of training F-35 Lightning II pilots.
“Overall, every single base wants to improve in some way,” Sowden said. “The contracts that we have will help Luke improve the base in ways we couldn’t before. Renovations and projects that have been on hold for the longest will finally be executed.”