Chennault welcomes special aircraft for refurbishment

Updated: Jan. 29, 2021 at 8:43 PM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Spirits are flying high at Chennault International Airport, as the U.S. Government P-3 Orion Aircraft landed as it prepares for maintenance and repair.

Chennault International Airport has been a staple for Lake Charles since World War II, securing jobs and investments for the region since its rejuvenation in 1986.

Kevin Melton, the Executive Director at Chennault International Airport, says “my focus as the executive director, is community development, and to grow this portion of Lake Charles, to produce further jobs.”

With that legacy in mind, the airport continues that same history as the Northrop Grumman Corporation brings yet another project to the area.

The project is the refurbishment of the P-3 Orion fleet, comprised of 14 P-3 aircraft.

Northrop serves as one of the largest employers at Chennault International Airport, maintaining roughly 1,000 employees.

Melton explains that the P-3 Orion refurbishment project will help to increase the area’s economic diversity.

“So what that means is it rains, obviously jobs for this community, it means increased economic diversity, so that this region has more opportunities for growth and more opportunities for economic development with regard to jobs.”

The $900 million government contract, awarded to Northrop back in June 2020, will bring around 50 jobs over a 10-year period in Calcasieu Parish.

“When we talk about bringing jobs, we’re you know, we’re talking about high tech types of jobs in many, many cases. And as we’ve seen with our current tenants, we have clients from all over the world that come here to Lake Charles to get work done on various types of aircraft.”

The P-3 will undergo several months of maintenance and repair work before heading back to the skies.

Among its many uses, the P-3 is designed to detect submarines that can’t be seen with the naked eye.

The hurricane hunters which we prominently feature during hurricane season are also P-3′s.

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