The structure of a 3 bay hangar for in-depth maintenance of the RAF’s new transport aircraft, the A400M or Atlas, has been completed.
The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) contracted Balfour Beatty to complete the work at a cost of £42 million. RAF Brize Norton is the Royal Air Force’s largest station and is home to its air transport and air-to-air refuelling fleets.
The RAF will operate 22 A400M Atlas aircraft, replacing the versatile C130 Hercules, in support of the deployment of the Joint Rapid Reaction Force. The tactical and strategic airlift aircraft will enable the RAF to support all 3 services and be interoperable, whilst having the ability to operate from short, unprepared landing strips and also performing at both low level (150 feet (ft) above ground level) and high altitude (up to 40,000ft); ensuring the deployment of conventional and high readiness forces and equipment directly into the operational area.
Since coming into service in March 2015, the A400M has already provided mission support by flying operational cargo to RAF Akrotiri.
The 45 metre long aircraft can carry 25 tonnes of cargo for more than 2,000 nautical miles and has a wingspan of nearly 42.5 metres.
The hangar can house 3 A400M Atlas aircraft as well as the C17 Globemaster and the A330 Voyager when static. At 28 metres high, the hangar covers 24,000 metres squared (m2) and used 3,200 tonnes of steel to construct. The roof houses 600m2 solar panels to provide up to 70 kilowatts of electrical power.
Early stages of the project included levelling the site, diverting underground pipes and cables and installing emergency water storage tanks.
The finished structure includes 3 separate bays to hold 3 individual aircraft, a ground equipment store, engine and tyre bays and a 3 storey office and amenities block.
Denis Williams, DIO Project Manager, said:
The A400M Atlas will be the mainstay of the RAF’s air transport fleet so this hangar is a vital facility which will enable the aircraft to be maintained and repaired. I’m delighted to mark the completion of DIO’s role in this pan-defence project.
Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) will now complete a 6 month ‘fit out’ of the interior before the building becomes operational early next year.