Bechtel-led National Aerospace Solutions LLC (NAS) has received a $1.5bn contract from the US Air Force (USAF) to carry out key operations for the Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC) at the Arnold Air Force Base in Tennessee.

The contract is for one year and has seven one-year options. These will allow NAS to handle test operations and sustainment duties at Arnold and other USAF facilities in Maryland and California, US.

Bechtel Nuclear, Security & Environmental global business unit president Craig Albert said: "The air force is working hard to ensure the long-term viability of the complex, while maintaining reliable and cost-effective mission success.

"AEDC is a national asset for both the government and commercial sectors, and its potential to meet the needs of future ground test programmes is even greater.

"AEDC is a national asset for both the government and commercial sectors."

"We’re ready to partner with the air force and the team at AEDC to help realise that potential."

Members of NAS include Bechtel National, Sierra Lobo, and GP Strategies Corporation. Chugach Federal Solutions and nLogic will be subcontractors for the project.

NAS will be responsible to manage the operations of 43 wind tunnels, rocket and turbine engine test cells, ballistic ranges, space chambers, and other specialised testing units.

In addition, the team will be handling technology development, equipment and facility sustainment, capital improvements to the sites and other services for the AEDC.

The test operations and support is part of the six contracts for the missions at AEDC. The USAF announced an acquisition strategy for these contracts in 2013.