£27m contract awarded to build new squadron headquarters at RAF Marham in west Norfolk

Pictured is the first of the UKs F-35B Lightning II jets to be flown to the UK. Crown copyright.

Pictured is the first of the UKs F-35B Lightning II jets to be flown to the UK. Crown copyright. - Credit: MoD/Crown copyright 2016

A contract worth £27m has been awarded to Wates Construction Ltd to build squadron headquarters in support of the new F-35B Lightning II aircraft at RAF Marham.

The contract forms part of the £250m programme of works, part of the major investment by the Ministry of Defence to ready the station for the arrival of the aircraft.

Under the contract, Wates Construction Ltd will deliver new squadron headquarters to support the new aircraft, scheduled to come in to service at the station in mid-2018.

The overall project will create 300 new jobs with work set to start early next year.

Rob Dawson, Lightning II Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) principal project manager said 'This award is great news. We look forward to working collaboratively with Wates to ensure the successful delivery of this important MoD project.'

The building will become the squadron headquarters for mission planning, administration and maintenance for the next generation of RAF operational fast jet aircraft.

Wates Construction Ltd said: 'We are delighted to be chosen for this exciting project at RAF Marham, which is our first success on the DIO framework. 'We look forward to working with the client and its team in the delivery of the new squadron headquarters and bringing local opportunities for training and employment.'

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The fifth generation F-35B jets are the most advanced aircraft ever built for the UK and will be operated initially by 617 'The Dambusters' Squadron, Royal Air Force, followed by 809 'The Immortals' Naval Air Squadron, in 2023.

Combined, they will transform the UK's ability to project UK influence overseas. They will have the ability to operate from land as well as the Queen Elizabeth Class carriers, the first of which is due to accept Lightning II onto her deck in 2019.

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) plays a vital role in supporting our Armed Forces by building, maintaining and servicing what the men and women who serve our country need to live, work, train and deploy on operations.

DIO is part of the Ministry of Defence (MOD). It is responsible for managing and maintaining land and properties, as well as providing related support services, to meet the current and future needs of the MOD and personnel at home and abroad, and to support current operations.