Work has started on buildings that will be home to two US Air Force F-35 squadrons at RAF Lakenheath, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) awarded the contract worth £160m to the Kier VolkerFitzpatrick joint venture
Ground was broken on the site which will include the construction of a flight simulator facility, a maintenance unit, new hangars and storage facilities.
Building work has begun so that the base will be ready to welcome the first of the new aircraft in late 2021.
At the height of construction, it is expected that there will be up to 700 people on site supporting the programme. The investment will also provide wider benefits both to the project and to the local economy.
Construction materials from the demolished buildings have been reused on site for subbase for carparks, roads and other hard standing areas. There will also be a concrete plant on site reducing carbon miles and traffic in the community.
DIO is also working closely with Forest Heath District Council and Kier VolkerFitzpatrick to ensure that the opportunities to create employment and training are maximised and that they last beyond the end of construction. In the first 6 months of the project, 6 apprentices were taken on and 22 new jobs were created.
A ‘meet the buyers’ event was held recently for local companies to understand what work opportunities are available in the project.
RAF Lakenheath will be the first permanent international site for US Air Force F-35 squadrons in Europe.
managing director of aviation and defence at Kier, James Hindes, said: “We are very pleased to be delivering this prestigious project with VolkerFitzpatrick on behalf of the DIO. Throughout the project we will be working closely with the local supply chain to deliver this crucial infrastructure, allowing RAF Lakenheath to become the first permanent home in Europe for the US Air Force F-35 Fighter Jet.”