British Forces take off at Akrotiri
Commander British Forces Cyprus Major General James Illingworth and DIO Chief Executive Graham Dalton have officially launched the new runway at RAF Akrotiri.
Work on the runway has been ongoing whilst Britain continues its operations against Daesh, with RAF Akrotiri providing the main base for missions. Some 1,200 Daesh targets have been hit by RAF missions sent from the base since the campaign began in 2014. Engineers working on the new runway completed the project around the intense pace of air operations, with the RAF working at the highest operational tempo in a quarter of a century.
RAF Akrotiri is located on the southern tip of Britain’s Sovereign Base Area on the island of Cyprus and is a first class operating base.
This 21-month DIO-led project has seen some £46M of investment at the base, which will allow it to support the full complement of current and future RAF aircraft and those of the coalition partners. Some 55,000cu m of earth was excavated at the site, with 44,000cu m of high-quality concrete laid.
Minister for the Armed Forces Mike Penning said: “This project has taken a tired and battered runway and transformed it into a modern, safe, 21st Century facility, capable of supporting operations for the next 20 years and beyond.
“This has been a unique and remarkable achievement. RAF Akrotiri is not just a refuelling spot or training base. This airfield matters. It has been at the forefront of supporting our most important military operations over the last decade and more, including the current campaign against Daesh.”
Defence Infrastructure Organisation Chief Executive Graham Dalton said: “I am delighted that the upgrade to the runway at RAF Akrotiri is complete. This is a crucial asset for Defence and this project has been a huge success. DIO has worked with our customers and contractors to successfully carry out this critical work while minimising the impact on operations.
“In 2019, British Forces Cyprus will become the largest Permanent Joint Operating Base and permanent deployment of British troops overseas and this latest upgrade has ensured it is more than ready.”
Images: © Crown Copyright
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