The work forms part of a £250 million DIO programme, which is part of the major investment by the Ministry of Defence to ready the station for the arrival of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force’s new F-35 Lightning fast jet aircraft.
Construction of this kind on an active air field required a ‘no fly’ period to be agreed with the station. In the 3 weeks that flying was halted, DIO’s contractors, a joint venture between Galliford Try and Lagan Construction, had to complete the entire construction of this element of works. The resurfacing forms the third of 9 phases of work on the project, which will also provide hangars for 12 aircraft and an air crew feeding facility.
This phase included removing more than 13,000 tonnes of existing asphalt and installing 23 pits and 1.2km of ducting for aeronautical ground lighting. To resurface the runway, more than 18,000 tonnes of asphalt were laid over an area of nearly 38,000 square metres, equivalent to more than 5 rugby pitches. To achieve this within the required timescale the contractors worked in multiple shifts, 7 days a week.
Rob Dawson, DIO Lightning principal project manager, said:
This was a crucial part of the works being undertaken by DIO and was a vast amount to complete in such a short space of time. It couldn’t have been achieved without the cooperation of the teams from DIO, our contractors, the Galliford Try and Lagan Construction joint venture, our consultants AECOM and RAF Marham. It has been an integrated team effort and fills me with confidence for the hard work ahead of us.
Despite the short space of time available to design, plan and complete the work as well as some poor weather, it was completed a day early. This allowed flying operations to recommence on Friday 29 September.
Wing Commander Phil Marr, Officer Commanding Operations Wing, RAF Marham, said:
This was an immense task to complete in three weeks. With both runways out of action, any failure to deliver within the prescribed timeframe would have directly impacted flying operations at RAF Marham. This added significant pressure to an already taught construction task. In light of this, it was highly impressive to have been handed back such an immaculate new runway intersection, allowing the Station to recommence flying activities ahead of schedule. An excellent achievement all round.
Group Captain Ann Gibson, Lightning Basing Team Leader, RAF Marham said:
I am delighted that all of the teams have risen to the challenge to deliver the intersection in a 3 week period thereby minimising disruption to Tornado and RAF Marham operations.
Notes to editors
The F-35B Lightning II is the world’s most advanced, fifth generation aircraft that the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy will jointly operate from both land and sea. It will form an integral part of the UK’s carrier strike capability from both Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers.