News story

RAF Waddington runway repairs

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) is to invest £35.4 million to extend the life of RAF Waddington's runway for 25 years.

Aerial view of RAF Waddington's airfield [Picture: Sergeant Laura Bibby, Crown copyright]

Aerial view of RAF Waddington's airfield

The rebuilding and extension of RAF Waddington’s runway will be the first major upgrade work carried out at the Lincolnshire airfield since the 1960s.

Alongside airfield design improvements, the work will help the base, which is the home of the ‘eyes and ears’ of the UK’s armed forces, to continue to provide vital surveillance and reconnaissance in support of military operations.

RAF Waddington uses a range of airborne intelligence systems to achieve its mission. These include the E-3D Sentry and Sentinel R1 as well as the most recent addition to the ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance) fleet which is soon to enter service – the Boeing RC-135V/W Rivet Joint intelligence aircraft

This is the first major runway project in Europe to incorporate a major recycling strategy. The runway upgrade is the first project to be tendered through DIO’s next generation estates contracts national capital works framework.

DIO’s national framework is for design-and-build contracts, each valued up to £50 million, across the UK defence estate. It allows for delivery of high value, technically complex construction projects, including those delivered across regional boundaries.

E-3D Sentry aircraft taking off
An RAF E-3D Sentry aircraft taking off at RAF Waddington [Picture: Crown copyright]

Dan Willmott, DIO project manager, said:

DIO’s priority is to support our armed forces as they prepare for operations. This is the first major piece of work tendered through our new capital works programme. The upgrade will deliver state-of-the-art airfield infrastructure and house a brand new ISTAR capability.

RAF Waddington’s station commander, Group Captain Rich Barrow, said:

The existing 9,000-foot-long runway has reached the end of its lifespan. For RAF Waddington to continue to deliver on its mission to generate world class expeditionary surveillance and intelligence capabilities, the runway infrastructure must be modified to support our aircraft, and our highly qualified pilots and ground staff.

This project will use new ‘greener’ construction practices, which DIO experts identified and adopted during a major rebuild of the southern taxiway at RAF Marham in Norfolk 3 years ago. Some 100,000 tonnes of materials will be excavated and recycled on site.

This will dramatically reduce the amount of waste transported from the base for disposal. It will also cut the project’s capital cost by not having to import new aggregates.

The waste materials will be recycled as hard core and reused on site to extend the existing perimeter track, which will further enhance airfield safety. This solution will significantly cut the emission of planet-warming greenhouse gases during the work.

Work on upgrading the runway starts in July and is expected to be completed by late summer 2015. During the rebuild period the station’s aircraft will temporarily relocate to alternative operating bases across the country.

Published 7 March 2014