US Air Force to spend £15m on RAF Mildenhall taxiways

USAF KC-135 Stratotanker
Image caption The KC-135 aerial refuelling plane is stationed at RAF Mildenhall

The US Air Force is to spend £15m to improve the runways at one of its Suffolk air bases.

Taxiways linked to the main runway at RAF Mildenhall are being extended in a project that should be completed in April 2013.

The project will mean heavy aircraft will not have to reverse, or back-taxi, when using the runway.

The USAF said it would reduce noise and allow swifter aircraft movements.

Maj Glenn Cameron, of the USAF, said: "With this infrastructure update it allows us to get the aircraft on and off the runway a little bit faster and not put more wear and tear on both the aircraft and the runway.

"It'll be all contained within the base perimeter and, if anything, it'll reduce noise by virtue of reduced amount of thrust required to turn these big aircraft around when they have to do a back-taxi."

The aircraft include the KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refuelling plane and the C-5 Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster cargo planes, which are the largest aircraft used by the USAF.

The USAF said it was a sign of its continued commitment to RAF Mildenhall.

"It's one of those opportunities to find a good partner and build with them and I'd say we're here for quite a while," said Maj Cameron.

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