Mayor G.T. Bynum, Adjutant General of Oklahoma (Brig. Gen.) Louis Wilham, and 138th Fighter Wing Commander (Col.) Raymond H. Siegfried III broke ground today for the Air National Guard Mission Training Center at the Tulsa Air National Guard Base, 9100 E. 46th St. N. This was the first groundbreaking held for a Vision Tulsa economic development project.
“The City of Tulsa and the 138th Fighter Wing have an important relationship, and you see that reflected in these Vision Tulsa funds which were approved by voters to improve upon the Oklahoma Air National Guard's facility,” Mayor Bynum said. “We are proud the men and women of the 138th Fighter Wing call Tulsa home, and we want to do our part to ensure they have all the tools they need to defend our country.”
The 20,000 square-foot Mission Training Center (rendering attached) will house four state-of-the-art flight simulators to provide realistic combat training for fighter pilots. The 138th Fighter Wing in Tulsa will be the first Air National Guard unit in the country to receive this cutting edge technology. Only installed at a select few Air Force bases, the Mission Training Center will be a regional training facility – the only one of its kind in the area, with the closest similar facility being in Las Vegas.
“The City of Tulsa has provided us a tremendous opportunity to expand our combat capabilities,” Col. Siegfried said. “Our relationship with our community is like none other. Their patriotism and support will allow us to maintain air superiority for years to come.”
This project has been made possible through a federal, state and city partnership. The building will be constructed using $9.4 million in Vision Tulsa funds; road improvements for the Mission Training Center will be provided with $608,000 from the State of Oklahoma, and federal funding will provide the $25 million F-16 Combat Air Force Simulators. Cockpits for the simulators, worth $5 million, will be manufactured locally in Broken Arrow at L3 Technologies.
Oklahoma architecture firm LWPB (from Norman) has been chosen to lead the design for the Mission Training Center, and Crossland Construction Company (from Tulsa) has been chosen as the Construction Manager. The Mission Training Center is scheduled for completion in December 2018.
“The Mission Training Center is good news for Oklahoma,” Governor Mary Fallin said. “Once it’s in operation, the overall payroll and benefits will be between $2 million and $3 million annually for 11 to 15 full-time employees. An added benefit is that the Mission Training Center will not only train the 138th Fighter Wing’s pilots, but will be used by F-16 pilots throughout the Air Force, bringing in pilots from across the country.”
Fighter pilots require great preparation to become mission ready; however, various types of required training are seldom conducted at Air National Guard bases due to limitations such as lack of available simulated adversaries, lack of low level training missions and engagements, and the lack of supersonic airspace.
Simulator capability allows fighter pilots at their home station – such as Tulsa Air National Guard – to exercise and train at the tactical and operational levels of war before actually going into combat. Simulators in Tulsa will allow Tulsa pilots to train with other pilots flying actual planes at various locations worldwide and with pilots at other mission training centers. This training provides continuity between live and virtual scenarios.
Also at the Tulsa Air National Guard Base before the groundbreaking, the 138th Fighter Wing expressed its appreciation for the City of Tulsa and this Vision Tulsa project by unveiling a “tail flash” – or vertical tail – of an F-16, with “Spirit of Tulsa” and the skyline of Tulsa painted on it (see attached photo). Mayor Bynum’s name was painted on the side of the cockpit.
About Vision Tulsa
Vision Tulsa, an $884 million sales tax renewal package approved by voters in 2016, will make substantial investments in economic development, education, public safety, streets and transportation needs citywide. With citizen priorities providing the driving force behind the creation of Vision Tulsa, transformative projects and enhancements will set the stage for a bright future for Tulsa.