MCAS New River, Duke Energy combine efforts to enhance mission capabilities, safety standards with flight line improvements

23 Feb 2021 | Cpl. Ginnie Lee Marine Corps Air Station New River

Marine Corps Air Station New River has collaborated with Duke Energy, to complete two projects to enhance the base’s mission capabilities and ensure the highest safety standards for the Marines maintaining the aircrafts.

According to Amanda Renjifo, energy engineer for MCAS New River, a lighting energy audit of facilities was conducted across Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and MCAS New River in 2018. During the audit, many facilities were identified as having inadequate or inefficient lighting, including the hangars on MCAS New River.

In mid-2019, a $2.5 million contract was awarded to Duke Energy to complete improvements, which began later that year.
“Inadequate lighting is detrimental to maintenance and operations,” said Renjifo. “Additionally, retrofitting existing fluorescent tubes with LED presents an energy reduction and a significant cost savings for the Marine Corps.”

According to Kirk Kropinack, deputy of the Installation and Environment Department for MCAS New River, the previous lighting system in the hangars created a challenge for Marines who maintain the aircraft during night time shifts. One Marine would have to hold a light to allow another Marine to work on the aircraft, turning a one-man-job into a two-man-job and thus decreasing productivity. The new lighting system allows ample lighting for Marines to conduct their maintenance more effectively.

“I believe these renovations are going to greatly improve the morale of the Marines conducting maintenance operations in the hangars,” said Kropinack. “They will be able to perform their work in a timelier manner, with more precision, which will ultimately improve the readiness of the aircraft.”

In addition to the hangar lighting upgrades, an updated Lightning Warning System was added to replace the outdated system that was inefficient in alerting Marines of inclement weather conditions in a timely manner.

In March 2020, 25 4x4 Light Emitting Diode (LED) panels were installed on the hangars as a part of the new system. With these new panels, Marines who work on the flight line are now notified when there is lighting within five nautical miles of the airfield. At this distance, everyone is required to evacuate the flight line into the hangars for their safety.

When lightning is within five miles, personnel are now able to flip a switch that will cause the LED lights to blink. The lights are visible from anywhere on the fight line and can easily warn Marines to exit the flight line.

The project was completed in September 2020.

”Being able to keep the technology of the air station current allows us to support technologically advanced aircraft that we have today and allows us to look at the horizon to see what is coming tomorrow,” said Lt. Col. Roger Holliday, director of Installations and Environment for MCAS New River.