A ceremony was held Tuesday at the Missouri National Guard Aviation Classification Repair Activity Depot (AVCRAD) to mark the third phase of expansion and to name the facility after Missouri Senator Roy Blunt.
The facility will be known as the Missouri National Guard Roy Blunt Aviation Logistics Facility. The expanded facility will allow for more avionics repair at the site and expansion of their coverage area so that 30% of the nation’s National Guard air fleet will be maintained by the Springfield facility.
Senator Blunt and military officials pointed out the facility’s benefit to the nation’s military budget. When compared to the cost of bidding out aviation repair and maintenance versus the work being done by AVCRAD, the facility saves the military about $170 million a year.
“An incredible investment for taxpayers here at AVCRAD,” Senator Blunt told OI. “[The expansion of this] facility is going to cost in the neighborhood of $30 million, we appropriated $32 (million) and it looks like it’s going to come in below that number. We anticipate the National Guard will save over $40 million dollars that first year [the expansion is operating.]”
Blunt noted that he’s long felt AVCRAD has the ability to be a major cost savings for the military.
“I’ve been arguing for the AVCRAD for over twenty years now,” Blunt said, “through phase one, phase two, and now phase three. The more I think about it, it’s not a very hard sell when you tell someone we’re going to invest $30 million and in the very first year we’re going to save $40 [million] and collectively every year you’re going to save $175 million.”
The new hangar area is just the first part of a three step process that makes up phase three of the expansion project. Blunt said the expansion will bring about 200 new jobs to the area.
Blunt also said he’s proud the nation’s biggest and best rated facility for AVCRAD is located in southwest Missouri.
“I always like to be in the lead,” he said. “I’m a competitive guy and I think it’s always been great having one of what’s called the crown jewels of the National Guard..but now for our facility to soon be the biggest of the four, serving the greatest area [of the country], it tells you about the quality of our workforce.”
The first part of the third phase of expansion at the facility should be completed in 2020.