RAF Lakenheath: MoD announces £160m investment at base

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image captionThe Suffolk airbase will be the first permanent international site for US Air Force F-35s in Europe

A £160m project to build an F-35 flight simulator, maintenance unit, new hangars and storage facilities at RAF Lakenheath has been unveiled.

The Suffolk airbase will be the first permanent international site for US Air Force F-35s in Europe.

The investment by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) will help create 700 jobs.

The MoD said it had given the contract to engineering and construction firm Kier VolkerFitzpatrick.

A spokesman for the MoD said the flight simulator would link to other simulators used by pilots, allowing expertise to be shared and pilots from the UK and US to train together.

'Extensive expertise'

Defence minister Tobias Ellwood said: "This investment will see substantial benefits to the local economy, bringing 1,000 new personnel with their families and we will work hard to ensure that the benefits will last long after construction ends."

Managing director of aviation and defence at Kier, James Hindes, said: "It builds on our extensive expertise in the defence sector delivering first-class projects within secure environments including facilities at MoD Lyneham and RAF Shawbury."

James Waters, leader of Forest Heath District Council, said: "The council will continue not only to help with the F35 programme, but support local businesses being involved and welcome the new personnel to west Suffolk."

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