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Kier JV starts Lakenheath tear down

21 Mar 19 Demolition work has started at RAF Lakenheath as part of a Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) project to prepare the base for the arrival of two squadrons of US F-35 combat aircraft.

Nibbling away at reinforced concrete
Nibbling away at reinforced concrete

A total of 18 buildings are being brought down to make way for construction of a flight simulator facility, a maintenance unit, new hangars and storage facilities.

DIO awarded a £160m contract in November 2018 to Kier VolkerFitzpatrick to deliver infrastructure to prepare RAF Lakenheath for the aircraft arriving in late 2021. 

The Suffolk airbase will be the first permanent international site for US Air Force F-35s in Europe and continues the base’s history of supporting US Air Force capability in the UK.

Many of the old buildings were built with heavily reinforced concrete; demolition subcontractor Anglian Demolition & Asbestos has to use hydraulic excavators equipped with specialised attachments.

Demolition work will make the site ready for the start of construction this summer.  At the height of construction, it is expected that there will be up to 700 contractors on site.

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DIO programme director Keith Maddison said: “The demolition of these 18 buildings is an important step in preparing the site, to allow the enabling works to be completed in preparation for construction to begin in the summer of this year. We are all working to a single goal of having the first aircraft arrival in late 2021.

“The US Visiting Forces Infrastructure Programme is an incredibly exciting series of projects to work on and is strengthening the historic military ties between the two nations and the operating partnership between the RAF and US Air Force.”

James Hindes, Kier’s managing director of aviation and defence, said: “The start of demolition is a major milestone at RAF Lakenheath. These works are vital in allowing us to prepare the site for construction on this prestigious defence project from this summer.

“This is a crucial piece of infrastructure for the RAF and US Air Forces, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with the DIO and our local supply chain to deliver this.”  

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