Mercer awarded $12.4 million Air Force contract

wcrenshaw@macon.comSeptember 24, 2013 

The Department of Defense has awarded Mercer University a $12.4 million contract to help the Air Force keep its aging helicopters flying.

The Mercer Engineering Research Center, a nonprofit unit of Mercer University located in Warner Robins, will perform a wide range of analyses to identify and solve structural and mechanical integrity issues, according to a Department of Defense news release.

All Air Force helicopters are managed by the Life Cycle Management Center at Robins Air Force Base. The contract calls for examination of the TH-1H, a training helicopter; the UH1N Huey, which provides security for nuclear missile sites; and the HH-60G Pave Hawk, which is used for combat search and rescue and is the Air Force version of the Army’s Black Hawk.

According to the release, the Mercer effort will include engineering services and research to identify “issues associated with the increasing age of the aircraft, such as fatigue cracking, damage tolerance and corrosion.”

The expected completion date is Sept. 19, 2014.

“This effort benefits the Air Force by helping increase aircraft availability and reducing maintenance downtime,” the release states.

Kyle Sears, Mercer’s director of media relations, said the school had no comment on the contract at this time but may issue additional information next week.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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