June 27 (UPI) — Cherokee Nation Aerospace and Defense has been awarded a $403 million contract for upgrades to the U.S. Air Force’s F-16 fleet.
The deal, announced Tuesday by the Department of Defense, is a firm, fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for F-16 Systems Program Office support at Hill Air Force Base in Utah.
The contract allows Cherokee Nation Aerospace and Defense to provide service life extension program kits for the fleet. It will keep the jets flying until nearly 2050.
The program combines about a dozen structural modifications into the package, from bulkheads to wings and canopy. The jets became operational in 1979 and were originally deemed air worthy for up to 8,000 flight hours. The improvements will increase that up to 12,000 flying hours or more.
Work will be performed in Stilwell, Okla., and is expected to be complete by May 31, 2018. Just over $1.2 million in procurement funds have been obligated to Cherokee Nation at the time of award.