Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Harper Construction has been awarded a contract from the Navy to design and establish F-35 aircraft maintenance hangar and flight lines at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California.
The deal, announced Wednesday by the Department of Defense, is valued at more than $127.9 million under the terms of a firm-fixed-price contract.
The contract includes an "aircraft maintenance hangar, an aircraft parking apron, and aircraft parking apron expansion for the first wave of incoming F-35 aircrafts," along with additional buildings that are designed to maintain classified information and other construction services.
The contract includes eight additional work options that, if exercised, could bring the total value of the contract to more than $131.5 million.
Work on the contract will occur in San Diego, Calif., and is expected to be completed in January 2020.
The full amount of the contract has been obligated to Harper Construction from the Navy's fiscal year 2017 military construction contract funds, and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.
Miramar spokesman Capt. Kurt Stahl told the San Diego Union-Tribune in early 2017 that F-35Cs are planned to arrive at the base in late 2019 or early 2020, with the F-35Bs expected a few months later.
"Several construction projects are expected to be completed over the next several years to include a new hangar for the F-35C and F-35B squadrons, an F-35 simulator facility and vertical landing pads," Stahl said.
The Marine Corps plans to retire all of its F-18 aircraft by 2030, with the F-35B and F-35C set to replace them. The first F-35s have recently been deployed for the first time, and the Marine Corps is working to establish the capabilities of the aircraft.
While the Pentagon has been unhappy with efforts to improve reliability of the aircraft, calling them "stagnant" -- including long waits for spare parts -- Bloomberg News reported that the F-35 is expected to enter combat testing in September. Once the 12-month process is complete, Lockheed Martin is expected to go into full-rate production of the aircraft.