Power supply work at RAF Lakenheath completed four months ahead of schedule
- Credit: USAF/ALEXANDER COOK
Work to boost the power supply at RAF Lakenheath ahead of the arrival of US F35 fighter jets has been completed four months early.
A £160million contract was awarded to a Kier VolkerFitzpatrick joint venture in November to deliver critical infrastructure at the Suffolk airbase to support the arrival of the new USAF F35s in 2021.
Construction started on the site earlier this month and additional electrical capacity is needed to support new buildings planned as part of the project.
The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), which is part of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), worked with the US 48th 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.
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Ductwork and cabling were completed in early July and power will be available from September - four months ahead of schedule and more than 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.
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This will provide the base with a 15-megawatt power supply equivalent to the energy used to power more than 5,000 homes.
MORE: Demolition work begins at RAF Lakenheath to house F-35 fighter jetsKeith Maddison, DIO USVF programme director, 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 48th 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: "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."
MORE: 'Exciting opportunities' available to ready RAF Lakenheath for F-35sColonel Will Marshall, 48th Fighter Wing commander, added: "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."