The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) has awarded a contract worth $205 million (£160 million) to Kier VolkerFitzpatrick to deliver infrastructure to ready Royal Air Force (RAF) Lakenheath for two squadrons of U.S. F-35 fighter jets.
The Suffolk airbase will be the first permanent international site for US Air Force F-35s in Europe and continues the base’s long and proud history of supporting US Air Force capability in the UK.
Co-locating U.S. and UK F-35 capability in the UK will help strengthen the historic military ties between the two nations as well, as the partnership between the RAF and US Air Forces.
The contract awarded to Kier VolkerFitzpatrick includes the construction of a flight simulator facility, a maintenance unit, new hangars and storage facilities.
The flight simulator will have the capacity to link to other simulators used by UK pilots across the UK and beyond, allowing expertise to be shared and pilots from the UK and US to train together on a regular basis.
At the height of construction, it is expected that there will be up to 700 contractors on site. The investment will also provide wider benefits to the local economy with over 1,000 personnel and family members living at the base.
MOD is also working closely with Forest Heath District Council and Kier VolkerFitzpatrick to ensure that the opportunities to create employment and training are maximised to ensure they last beyond the end of construction.
A ceremony, attended by representatives from DIO, US Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa (USAFE- AFAFRICA), Air Force Civil Engineer Center (AFCEC), Kier VolkerFitzpatrick and Forest Heath District Council, was held at the base to celebrate the award of the contract.