On behalf of Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), Lagan Aviation and Infrastructure has completed work on a £25m project to resurface taxiways and aircraft parking stands for the US Air Force at RAF Fairford.
While it is owned by the UK Government, RAF Fairford is used by the US Air Force as a bomber forward operating base. The works were required to accommodate larger aircraft and upgrade or replace aging facilities.
DIO’s Major Programmes and Projects, United States Visiting Forces (MPP-USVF), awarded the contract to Lagan Aviation and Infrastructure with construction commencing in June 2021. The specialist team had to remove the top layers of over 1,200m of tarmac taxiway to the north-east of the runway before relaying the new surface on top, as well as removing two concrete aircraft stands and replacing eleven others. The stands, also known as ramps, are larger than usual at RAF Fairford to accommodate the size of aircraft.
Alongside this, the taxiway drainage system was upgraded and the airfield ground lighting was replaced with an entirely new environmentally sustainable LED system, improving visibility for pilots. Two new rainwater holding tanks were installed to resolve surface water flooding issues.
Lagan, working with DIO’s Technical Support Provider for the project, TetraTech, encountered several difficulties which made progress slower than originally hoped. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic caused delays, as did the unearthing of a number of unrecorded and abandoned electrical and fuel systems dating back to the Second World War which had to be removed.
Unfortunately, these delays meant the project was not completed before the Royal International Air Tattoo, which takes place at RAF Fairford every July. However, the construction team worked tirelessly to provide a large area of taxiways and ramps for the aircraft displaying at the show to use. This allowed DIO to pause works so the air show could go ahead.
Steve Rix, DIO’s MPP-USVF Director, said:
“The success of this project, despite the challenges faced by the team, has been in no small part thanks to the dedication of all involved to work collaboratively. When necessary, the team worked extended hours and weekends to achieve our joint goal. We are very pleased to hand over the resurfaced taxiways and ramps, as well as the supporting infrastructure, to our partners in the US Air Force.”
Colonel Lisa M. Wildman, Vice Commander 501st Combat Support Wing, US Air Force, said:
“The expertise and professionalism displayed by the project team was nothing short of sensational. Their work has been instrumental in supporting our US and NATO objectives and our ability to generate air power. We are very pleased with the results.”