The U.S. Air Force 412th Test Wing Commander, Col. Matthew Higer, announced that Edwards Air Force Base, California, will be open only to mission essential personnel and residents beginning March 20.
As part of added safety measures, South Gate will be closed to all traffic indefinitely.
All members of Team Edwards are authorized to report to work to gather teleworking provisions or personal possessions. Those who are not able to telework will be placed on administrative leave. Personnel are advised to consult their commander, director or supervisor for specific mission essential clarification.
“The move is in response to the current Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. As of press time, there are currently no confirmed cases on the base and remains in Health Protection Condition B. The added protective measures were taken as a precautionary measure to ensure the health and safety of Team Edwards”, said a statement.
Edwards Air Force Base
Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) is a U.S. Air Force installation located in Kern County in Southern California. It is the 2nd largest base in the Air Force and the 412th Test Wing is the host wing.
The base is the home of the Air Force Test Center (AFTC), Air Force Test Pilot School (USAF TPS), and NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC). It is the Air Force Materiel Command center for conducting and supporting research and development of flight, as well as testing and evaluating aerospace systems from concept to combat. It also hosts many test activities conducted by America’s commercial aerospace industry.
U.S. Air Force Plant 42
The U.S. Air Force Plant 42 is a classified aircraft manufacturing plant owned by the U.S. Air Force in the Antelope Valley, about 60 miles (97 km) from downtown Los Angeles. It is also used by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Plant 42 is owned by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and operated as a component of Edwards Air Force Base, which is 23 miles to the northeast. Most of its facilities are operated by private contractors (Government Owned Contractor Operated, GOCO) to build and maintain military aircraft and their components for the U.S. and its allies.
There are eight production sites specially suited for advanced technology and/or “black” programs. Currently, the most well-known contractors at Plant 42 are Boeing, Lockheed Martin (home of the legendary Skunk Works), and Northrop Grumman.
The new Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider stealth bomber is being built at Plant 42.