Sheffield architects land £160m RAF base​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ contract

Leaders from RAF Lakenheath, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, Air Force Civil Engineer Centre, West Suffolk County Council and Kier VolkerFitzpatrick.
Leaders from RAF Lakenheath, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, Air Force Civil Engineer Centre, West Suffolk County Council and Kier VolkerFitzpatrick.

A Sheffield architects has landed a contract to design a £160m RAF base.

HLM will put together plans for an F-35 flight simulator, maintenance unit, new hangars and storage facilities at RAF Lakenheath.
The Suffolk airbase will be the first permanent site for US Air Force F-35s in Europe.

The investment by the Ministry of Defence will help create 700 jobs at the height of construction.

When complete it will be home to 1,000 new personnel and their families.

The MoD has given the contract to engineering and construction firm Kier VolkerFitzpatrick. It will work with HLM Architects, based in Tudor Square in central Sheffield to design and deliver the new facilities.

Up to 20 members of the HLM team will work on the three-year contract which was won after a national competition.

It is the largest win in the Sheffield office for at least three years, according to Mick Scherdel, director in the Sheffield studio at HLM.

He added: This is a significant success for HLM and the team in our Sheffield studio will be leading this activity.”

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.

James Hindes, managing director of aviation and defence at Kier, 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."

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."

HLM has also designed MOD projects including a £250m Defence College at Worthy Down, a Defence Academy in Swindown valued at £390m and the redevelopment of the Princess Royal Barracks in Deepcut, Surrey.

HLM has offices in Belfast, Cardiff, Glasgow, London, Manchester and Sheffield, as well as Abu Dhabi and Dubai.