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DIO powers growth at RAF Lakenheath

Posted 12 August 2019 · Add Comment

Work is about to begin at RAF Lakenheath to renovate the United States Visiting Forces (USVF) security forces facilities as part of ongoing improvements, following the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) having worked with partners to boost the base's electrical supply, four months ahead of schedule.

Above: A transformer and switch gear recently installed at RAF Lakenheath.
Courtesy DIO/MoD Crown Copyright 2019

This project is the first of a wider programme to upgrade various support facilities on the base in order to accommodate the arrival of approximately 1,200 additional personnel now expected on the base as part of the arrival of two new F-35 squadrons in 2021.

DIO recently awarded a contract worth £4.296 million to Henry Brothers to deliver critical upgrades to key buildings on the base.

Construction will officially begin in the coming weeks. This initial project is a USVF requirement to repair and renovate the existing office building to provide a state of the art Security Forces Operational Facility including a Day Armory, Guard Mount, and associated support, command and administration offices.

The use of existing infrastructure will reduce waste and ensure the project is as cost effective as possible. The building work is scheduled to be completed by summer 2020 and occupies 2,200m2 over three floors, the equivalent of approximately 10 tennis courts.

The re-design includes disabled access to each floor via the provision of a new lift to assist wounded or disabled military and civilian staff.

DIO Project Manager, Ken Withers, explained: "This is a really important project which will create a more efficient and effective security operation for the base.

"We are using highly advanced technology in the build and re-using existing infrastructure where possible. This means that the project is not only technically advanced but remains cost effective with a reduced carbon footprint."

Lt. Col. Kevin Eberhart, 48 Security Forces Squadron commander, commented: "Improving the work environment for our military and civilian personnel is also about ensuring we are ready to execute the mission and meet future demands.

"This centralised facility will do just that and will help strengthen collaborative relationships within the squadron. As we work to modernise facilities for our Defenders, we appreciate the working relationship we have with our partners.

Henry Brothers Managing Director, David Henry, added: "We are delighted to be continuing our relationship with DIO and the USVF at RAF Lakenheath with another project award. We recognise the importance of the programme to support base facilities and we look forward to delivering this phase of works, which on completion will provide a state-of-the-art Security Operations Facility."

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) has also worked with partners to boost the electrical supply at RAF Lakenheath, four months ahead of schedule.

DIO awarded a contract worth £160 million to a Kier VolkerFitzpatrick joint venture in November to deliver critical infrastructure at the Suffolk airbase to support the arrival of the new US F-35s in 2021.

Construction started on the site earlier this month and additional electrical capacity is needed to support new buildings which are planned to be delivered as part of the project.

DIO worked with the US 48 Fighter Wing Civil Engineering Squadron (48CES), based at RAF Lakenheath, to determine the additional capacity required. The upgrade work, which involved installing a 24km cable route across a railway, river and roads, was then carried out by UK Power Networks.

Ductwork and cabling were completed in early July and power will be available from September, 4 months ahead of schedule and over one year before it is required. UK Power Networks coordinated the work with two county highways departments and worked with other utility providers on the route to minimise disruption to road users and residents. This will provide the base with a 15 megawatt power supply equivalent to the energy used to power more than 5,000 homes.

DIO USVF Programme Director, Keith Maddison, said: "This work has gone incredibly smoothly. We are pleased that this complex power upgrade has been completed ahead of schedule so that all other construction can continue as planned.

"This is an excellent example of how DIO works well with its partners, how we can be agile and respond innovatively to challenges.

"We are grateful to 48 Fighter Wing Civil Engineering Squadron and to UK Power Networks for working together to minimise disruption both to local residents and to those on the base."

Mark Adolphus, director of connections at UK Power Networks, said: "Work is progressing well with the Ministry of Defence to deliver a safe and reliable 15 megawatt power supply needed for buildings that will accommodate US Air Force F35 squadrons at RAF Lakenheath.

"Construction work on a new substation, housing essential equipment, is nearing completion and the majority of the new cabling is now in place. The project is on track to be delivered months ahead of schedule, while minimising the impact on the base and the local community."

Colonel Will Marshall, 48th Fighter Wing commander said: "We are truly thankful to our local community for their patience and understanding during high traffic congestion periods associated with this upgrade,

"Preparing the base for the future comes with some challenges, which can affect our local communities, and we appreciate our partners working diligently to complete the project ahead of schedule."


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