Niceville contracting company gets $22 million for more Eglin AFB construction work

Jim Thompson
Northwest Florida Daily News

NICEVILLE — A Niceville construction contractor with a long history of work on Eglin Air Force Base has been awarded a $22.1 million contract for the ongoing design and construction of a software reprogramming laboratory for the F-35 Lightning II fifth-generation stealth fighter jet.

The contract award was announced Thursday through the U.S. Department of Defense. 

Speegle Construction Inc. was one of 12 firms that bid on the project, involving a second phase of work on the The Australia Canada United Kingdom Reprogramming Laboratory (ACURL). Like the United States Reprogramming Laboratory immediately next door, and the nearby Norway Italy Reprogramming Laboratory, the ACURL is involved in the ongoing development of “mission data files” for the F-35.

Speegle Construction, a Niceville-based contractor, has been awarded the contract for the second phase of the F-35 Lightning II Australia, Canada & United Kingdom Reprogramming Laboratory (ACURL) on Eglin Air Force Base. Shown here during last year's ribbon-cutting, the ACURL handles reprogramming of mission data files, an important of the F-35 stealth fighter jet.

Mission data files assist the F-35′s massive array of optical, electromagnetic and other sensors in identifying threats. That gives pilots the ability “to (execute) the mission with the jet doing a lot of the work,” Royal Australian Air Force Wing Commander Joseph Bennett, ACURL’s commanding officer for engineering, said in February of last year at the ribbon-cutting for the completion of the first phase of the laboratory.

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The contract award for the ACURL is one of a string of recent contract awards to Speegle at Eglin and Hurlburt Field. 

Speegle has handled an array of civilian and military projects since its founding in 1976. With regard to its military contract work, Troy Speegle Jr., president and third-generation owner, said the company is "fortunate to have a really good base of subcontractors and vendors." The company's use of local skilled-trade workers on its military contracts is "a point of pride for us," Speegle added.

Among Speegle Construction's other recent local military contract awards was a $12.3 million contract announced in November for a 36,800-square-foot special operations maintenance training facility at Hurlburt. The facility is designated to house weapons-loading training equipment along with other training devices, a full-size C-130 aircraft, classrooms and offices.

In October, the company announced the award of a $15.5-million contract for a 39,500-square-foot special operations facility at Hurlburt 

In terms of its work at Eglin, in July of last year, Speegle announced its receipt of an $11.4 million contract for construction of two 7,300-square-foot facilities associated with the Gulf Test Range. The range covers 120,000 square miles of the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Managed by Eglin's 96th Test Wing, the range is used by U.S. military services for an array of munitions and equipment testing and personnel training.

In June of last year, Speegle was awarded a $3.6 million contract through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for renovation of the fourth floor of Building 13 at Eglin, with work including electrical and ventilation system modifications.

Other recent military contract awards with local connections include three "task orders" awarded Tuesday for "advisory and assistance services" for the 96th Test Wing, the host unit at Eglin, and for the 96th Cyberspace Test Group, a component of the 96th Test Wing.

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The task orders, covering work through Sept. 30, 2026, went to Oasis Systems LLC in Burlington, Massachusetts, at $543.3 million for work with the 96th Cyberspace Test Group; $475 million to Torch Technologies Inc. in Huntsville, Alabama, for work with the 96th Test Wing, and $213.6 million to Canvas QuantiTech/Joint Venture LLC, also for work with the 96th Test Wing.

None of the companies returned telephone calls seeking comment on exactly what its work with the 96th Test Wing and the 96th Cyberspace Test Group will entail over the next five-plus years.

On its website, Oasis Systems LLC bills itself as a provider of engineering services including human factors engineering, along with information technology and cybersecurity services. Torch Technology's website notes that the company provides "research, development, and engineering services," and Canvas QuantiTech/Joint Venture's website describes its mission as providing "integrated and innovative technical engineering and software/product development solutions" to the military and other federal government customers.

Other contract awards, according to the Department of Defense

March 26

Raytheon Missiles and Defense, Tucson, Arizona, was awarded a $518.4 million contract through the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, for advanced medium-range air-to-air missile production, associated guidance and telemetry systems, spare parts and engineering support hardware and activities. Work will be performed in Tucson and is expected to be complete by Dec. 31, 2023.

March 31

Global Connections to Employment, Pensacola, Florida, was awarded a $67.9 million contract for dining facility attendant services at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Washington, through 2026. The contract was awarded through the U.S. Army Field Directorate Office, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. The bid from Global Connections to Employment was the only bid received for the work.

April 2

Raytheon Missiles & Defense, Tucson, Arizona, was awarded a $79.4-million contractthrough the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, for work including testing of a small-diameter bomb. The contract covers addressing multiple engineering challenges, according to the DoD contract award announcement.

April 6

Gauss Management Research And Engineering Inc., South Ogden, Utah, has been awarded a $86.6 million task order through the Air Force Test Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida for advisory and assistance services for the 412th Test Wing at Edwards Air Force Base, California through Sept. 30, 2026.

Schmidt-Prime Group LLC, Pensacola, Florida and Bullock Tice Associates Inc., Pensacola, Florida were announced to be are among the firms that will compete for separate orders within a $249 million contract for architectural and engineering services being handled through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile, Alabama. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of March 5, 2026, according to the DoD contract award announcement.