Construction begins on USAF F35 campus at RAF Lakenheath in UK

WCN Editorial Team 16 Jul 2019 EUROPE BUILDINGS

The Kier-VolkerFitzpatrick joint venture (JV) has started work on buildings that will house two US Air Force (USAF) F35 squadrons at the RAF Lakenheath station near the town of Lakenheath in Suffolk, England.

As part of the £160m contract awarded by the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) in 2018, the JV has commenced construction on the flight simulator facility, a maintenance unit, new hangars and storage facilities at the Suffolk airbase.

USAF 48th Fighter Wing Commander Colonel Will Marshall said: “This ceremony is an exciting milestone for the Liberty Wing as we prepare this installation to welcome two squadrons of F-35A Lighting II aircraft and supporting personnel.

“Breaking ground on this project takes us one step closer to becoming a more lethal and ready force as U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa’s premier combat wing.”

The base is scheduled to welcome the first of the new aircraft in late 2021.

The contract represents the first in a wider programme to support US Air Force operations in the UK. More than $1bn is planned to be invested in the country over the next seven to 10 years.

DIO USVF programme director Keith Maddison said: “The infrastructure being delivered will benefit the local economy by providing a range of training and employment opportunities as well as demonstrating our long and proud history of supporting US Air Force capability in the UK.”

MOD is also working with Forest Heath District Council and Kier VolkerFitzpatrick to maximise the opportunities to create employment and training.

Kier aviation and defence managing director James Hindes said: “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.”

The Suffolk airbase will be the US Air Force’s first permanent international site for F-35s in Europe.

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Image: Officials during the ground breaking ceremony of F35 infrastructure at RAF Lakenheath in the UK. Photo: courtesy of VolkerFitzpatrick.

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