Last Modified: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 9:07 AM
Northrop Grumman’s Lake Charles Maintenance and Modification Center is looking to hire at least 80 people by January to help perform additional maintenance on aircraft refueling tankers known as the KC-10 Extender, site director Marty Thompson said Tuesday.
“The (maintenance) work is changing,” Thompson said after speaking to Lake Charles Rotary Club members. “For the next two years, starting in January, we will basically be doing double the work that we’re doing now.”
Major inspections are done every two years on the KC-10 planes, Thompson said. Workers at the Lake Charles site have performed maintenance on the aircraft since 2009.
“It’s (like) you taking your car and every 25,000 miles they say go flush the transmission,” Thompson said. “Airplanes are the same way. The things that you look at change over time.”
Thompson said the company will likely interview students who complete an apprenticeship program that Sowela Technical Community College started Monday. He said Northrop Grumman officials have also visited schools in Lafayette that offer technical training.
“Our first focus is to find local workers because there are a lot of talented folks here who can do the work,” Thompson said. “We’ve had issues in the past when you bring in people from outside the local area who are just not embedded into the local area the way you might want.”
Northrop Grumman’s Lake Charles site now has about 530 employees and an additional 200 workers contracted from other companies, according to Thompson.
The Lake Charles facility is housed on 933,000 square feet of land owned by the Chennault International Airport Authority.
According to the Northrop Grumman website, the KC-10 Extender is “the largest tanker in the world” and provides nearly half of all aerial refueling for military in Afghanistan.