The Air Force’s Acquisition COVID-19 Task Force recently executed a new, $126 million contract to ramp up production of N95 masks in an effort to increase the supply chain for the in-demand masks and resupply the Strategic National Stockpile.
The May 1 contract to 3M uses funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to expand the supply chain to produce 26 million more masks per month beginning in October, with about 312 million masks produced over the next 12 months, according to an Air Force release. The contract, coordinated through the office of the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment’s Joint Acquisition Task Force, was finalized by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center.
“Our past initiatives to empower our acquisition workforce and to accelerate programs have put us in a good position to respond to the present crisis with speed and agility,” said Will Roper, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, who established the service’s COVID-19 Task Force, in the release. “We are proud to be an important part of the solution.”
To increase its production, 3M has placed orders for the raw material and two manufacturing lines.
The contract follows a separate, $133 million contract under the Defense Production Act last month to 3M, Honeywell, and Owens & Minor for masks.