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Law Co. awarded $20 million Army hangar contract

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, at 9:05 a.m.

The Law Co., based in Wichita, has been awarded a $20.1 million contract from the Army Corps of Engineers to build an unmanned aerial vehicle maintenance hangar for Gray Eagle drones at Fort Riley.

The contract includes a 40,000-square-foot hangar with administrative offices, two smaller buildings, parking, access aprons, a holding apron and taxiways, according to the Law Co. and the Department of Defense.

“We’re extremely excited,” Law Co. president Dennis Kerschen said of the contract. “It was great news. It’s a really nice project for us. It’s something that will set the table for us moving forward in 2014.”

The project will be staffed with current employees and subcontractors, Kerschen said.

The Law Co., which employs more than 50, has done a number of other projects at Fort Riley over the years, Kerschen said.

Fort Riley’s Company F, 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division is the unit responsible for the Gray Eagles at Fort Riley.

More than 100 soldiers are assigned to the unit, which is responsible for operating, flying and maintaining the Gray Eagles.

The company was activated in April 2012.

Four Gray Eagles are on hand, but more are expected, said Monte Volk, director of public affairs at Fort Riley.

They have a 50-foot wingspan and weigh 4,300 pounds.

Fort Riley is one of several Army aviation brigades to receive the Gray Eagles.

“The 1st Infantry Division is the second unit to receive the medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft system, and … the first to fly it from a home base in the United States,” Volk said in a statement.

The General Atomics long-range MQ-1C Gray Eagle is part of the Army’s aviation modernization plan.

“They are the ‘eye in the sky,’ ” Volk said.

The Gray Eagle is an advanced derivative of the Predator designed for surveillance and target acquisition, reconnaissance, convoy protection, improvised explosive device detection and defeat, close air support, communications and attack operations.

According to General Atomics’ website, it has an endurance of 25 hours and speeds of up to 192 mph.

It can operate up to 29,000 feet and carry multiple payloads, such as Electro-optical Infrared with laser designation, Synthetic Aperture Radar communications relay and four Hellfire missiles.

Completion of the hangar is expected in July 2015.

The Law Co. was one of seven bidders for the contract.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @mmcmillin.

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