The Kier-VolkerFitzpatrick joint venture (JV), has been awarded a £160 million contract to deliver new infrastructure to ready RAF Lakenheath as the first permanent home in Europe of the US Air Force F-35 Fighter Jet.

The F-35 Beddown Programme, which is part of a wider programme of work to support the US Air Force operations in the UK, involves construction and renovation of a number of buildings and infrastructure projects on the Suffolk site, including a six-bay flight simulator, an aircraft maintenance unit, new hangars, and 42 aircraft parking aprons.

Throughout the duration of this project, the JV will be engaging with the local community, creating new jobs, hosting meet-the-buyer events and procuring at least 40% of the supply chain within a 75 mile radius of the site. At the height of construction, it is expected there will be up to 700 people on site supporting the programme.

The JV will address the skills shortage facing the built environment by creating a Skills and Training Academy that will provide training opportunities for local residents and ex armed forces personnel.  In addition, the project aims to host a Shaping Your World™ plaque to allow members of the general public to further understand the details and people behind the project.

Main construction works are set to begin in summer 2019, following extensive enabling works, ready for arrival of the aircraft from November 2021.

Chris Evans, managing director of VolkerFitzpatrick’s Civils division, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this highly significant project with the DIO. VolkerFitzpatrick has been working with the United States Air Force at RAF Lakenheath for over ten years and we look forward to bringing the knowledge we have gained to this new contract.

The project will allow us to build on our substantial experience within the civil airports and defence sector, to deliver the highest quality infrastructure for the new F-35 Fighter Jet.”

James Hindes, managing director of aviation and defence at Kier, said: “We’re extremely proud to have been appointed to deliver another prestigious defence project for the DIO. It builds on our extensive expertise in the defence sector delivering first-class projects within secure environments including facilities at MoD Lyneham and RAF Shawbury.

“We look forward to working closely with the DIO and our local supply chain to provide this crucial infrastructure and deliver this exciting opportunity ready for the arrival of the two permanent squadrons.”

Defence Infrastructure Organisation, Commercial Director, Jacqui Rock, said: “We welcome this investment into RAF Lakenheath.

“This is an incredible opportunity for UK Defence and for the local area and DIO is pleased to be able to support the development of this key infrastructure which will make the beddown of the US F-35s possible.”

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