ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Kirtland Air Force Base is building a simulator facility to train pilots and crews for a new helicopter model.

The Albuquerque Journal reports construction on the $14.8 million project began Monday at the base in Albuquerque.

The three-bay simulator facility will be used train personnel from the 58th Special Operation Wing on the new HH-60W, a combat rescue helicopter that will replace the HH-60G Pave Hawk.

Air Force officials say the first of the aircraft to be stationed at the Albuquerque base is expected to be delivered by March 2020. The simulator facility is expected to be completed by June 2019.

Officials say the new helicopter model can be deployed for evacuations, search and rescue missions, humanitarian aid, disaster relief and insertion or extraction of combat troops.

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