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Runways ready for F35 Lightning jet at RAF Marham

PUBLISHED: 12:06 09 October 2017 | UPDATED: 12:06 09 October 2017

Runway intersection resurfacing progession part of Project ANVIL, the infrastructure construction work for the RAF's new F-35 lightning aircraft due to arrive RAF Marham summer 2018. Picture: Sgt Nik Howe

Runway intersection resurfacing progession part of Project ANVIL, the infrastructure construction work for the RAF's new F-35 lightning aircraft due to arrive RAF Marham summer 2018. Picture: Sgt Nik Howe

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RAF Marham’s runways are ready for the latest stealth fighter.

The first Tornado GR4 lands back at RAF Marham after 3 weeks away whilst the runway intersection was being resurfaced. Picture: Cpl Ashley KeatesThe first Tornado GR4 lands back at RAF Marham after 3 weeks away whilst the runway intersection was being resurfaced. Picture: Cpl Ashley Keates

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) has finished resurfacing work as part of a £250m upgrade.

New hangars, repair works and a command centre are also being built at the Norfolk base for the arrival of the RAF and Royal Navy’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.

Contractors Galliford Try and Lagan Construction had three weeks to complete the works.

They involved 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 equivalent to more than five rugby pitches. Contractors worked in multiple shifts, seven 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 plan and complete the work and poor weather, it was completed a day early. Flying has now recommenced.

Wg Cdr 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 would have directly impacted flying operations at RAF Marham. This added significant pressure to an already taught construction task. 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.”

Gp Capt Ann Gibson, Lightning basing team leader, said: “I am delighted that all of the teams have risen to the challenge to deliver the intersection in a three week period thereby minimising disruption to Tornado and RAF Marham operations.”

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