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Sunday, 25 February

Atlas Rules The World

Atlas Rules The World
Atlas Rules The World

A £70 million hangar large enough to contain three of the RAF’s new Atlas transport aircraft at the same time has opened.

Minister for Defence Procurement Guto Bebb did the official opening honours at RAF Brize Norton on Feb 1.

The Atlas maintenance, repair and overhaul facility, which covers 24,000sq.m and is 28 metres high, is now fitted out and fully operational in support of RAF transport operations all over the world.

Bebb said: "From deploying troops and armoured vehicles to a war zone, to getting vital support to humanitarian disasters, our Atlas fleet plays a global role and it needs a home to match. This huge hangar provides exactly that."

The hangar was built under Defence Infrastructure Organisation contracts and has cost approximately £70 million including fit-out work, with activity on the facility ramping up since late 2016 when it was handed to Defence Equipment and Support, the MOD’s procurement organisation.

The hangar is designed to make Atlas maintenance easier, safer and more efficient. The internal layout is the result of extensive feedback from support delivery teams and has been designed to be highly adaptable with easy access to specialist tools and equipment.

 

Additional information on Atlas

Support for the UK’s Atlas fleet is enabled through a £410 million agreement between DE&S and Airbus Defence and Space – part of the UK’s ongoing commitment to the Atlas programme which is sustaining 8,000 jobs across the national supply chain.

RAF Atlas aircraft, a familiar sight in the skies above RAF Brize Norton where they are based, recently formed part of the UK’s relief response to Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean where they made shuttle flights from Barbados to destinations across the region to deliver key support, including to the British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos and Anguilla.

The aircraft can carry up to 37 tonnes over a range of 2,000 nautical miles. It is able to deploy troops and equipment between and within theatres of operation either by parachute or by landing on short, potentially unprepared airstrips.

Atlas can also carry armoured vehicles, drastically reducing the time it takes for a deploying force to be ready to fight. For humanitarian roles, it is capable of deploying mobile cranes, excavators and large dump trucks for disaster relief operations– for example clearing earthquake sites.

The UK has ordered 22 Atlas aircraft for the RAF, 18 of which have been delivered. The entire fleet is due to be delivered by 2022.

 

New Shetland radar

A new RAF radar facility will be powered up ready to operate soon. Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, visited the site of the new £10 million Remote Radar Head facility, at Saxa Vord, Unst, Shetland, to inspect its progress.

The radar will improve RAF and NATO understanding of the airspace north of Britain and further out across the Norwegian Sea, improving the UK’s sovereign capability at a time of heightened Russian military activity. It will see the island return to the role it performed during the 1960s and 70s, when the site was used as an early warning radar on NATO’s northern flank.

Defence, Equipment and Support, the MOD’s procurement organisation, managed the redevelopment of the site and delivered the new infrastructure and capability for the RAF, commissioning the works through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Services. The Saxa Vord remote radar head will be operated remotely by RAF personnel and contractors will only attend the site for maintenance.

Pictures: A massive Atlas maintenance, repair and overhaul facility, which covers 24,000sq.m and is 28 metres high, is now fitted out and fully operational in support of RAF transport operations all over the world. And the new £10 million Remote Radar Head facility, at Saxa Vord, Unst, Shetland

Article written by Brian Shillibeer

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