UK invests £135m in new F-35B hangar

The UK defense ministry announced it has awarded a £135million contract for the construction of a new hangar for its F-35B aircraft.

The hangar will be located at RAF Marham and will house 12 of the new fast jet aircraft which will deploy from there to the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.

It will improve existing facilities, including resurfacing two existing runways and taxiways, while the Station remains operational. Vertical Landing Pads will also be added to RAF Marham, accommodating the F-35B’s ability to land vertically, a capability previously covered by the Harrier jets.

“Flying from our new Queen Elizabeth-class carriers, the F-35B aircraft will provide the UK with the ability to project our influence globally,” Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said. “This contract will ensure that RAF Marham has the facilities to match this world-class aircraft when it arrives next year.”

The major investment in RAF Marham is the last of seven projects worth £250m undertaken to ready the station for the arrival of the aircraft in 2018. The contract has been awarded to a joint venture of Galliford Try and Lagan Construction Ltd.

The F-35B Lightning aircraft is an advanced, 5th generation aircraft that the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy will fly from Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers or from operating bases such as RAF Marham.

It will be operated initially by 617 Squadron, Royal Air Force, followed by 809 Naval Air Squadron. Initial flight trials for F-35 jets from HMS Queen Elizabeth-class are on track to begin in 2018, building towards delivering a Carrier Strike capability for the UK from 2020.