DE&S has played a key role in the fast-paced construction of a new headquarters for Typhoon pilots based at RAF Coningsby.
Construction of the structure at the Lincolnshire base began in June 2019 under a £35.2-million contract with industry partner BAE Systems (BAES).
The 2,780 sq m building will house 12 Squadron, a unique joint RAF/Qatari Emiri Air Force partnership and despite the restrictions of COVID-19 the build continued uninterrupted, achieving a transfer of ownership to RAF Coningsby in June 2020.
The project was overseen by the DE&S Force Growth & Qatari Joint Squadron team in consultation with 12 Squadron, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation and sponsor 38 Group, delivered in partnership with BAES.
Using modern modular construction techniques, the joint team was able to fast-track the design and build of these facilities, ensuring they are ready for the first Qatari pilots and ground crew arriving at RAF Coningsby to continue their training.
The project took around 60 weeks to complete and, under the direction of BAES, involved a team of 30 sub-contractors from both national and local supply chains using nearly 1,500 tonnes of concrete and more than 1,000 tonnes of steel.
The building has been designed to deliver both the immediate needs of the joint squadron, accommodating specific cultural/ religious requirements of Qatari colleagues, but it is also multi-functional and flexible, therefore able to react to longer term requirements of the RAF.
“This project has been successfully delivered because of the close working relationships across all stakeholder groups, but particularly that fostered between DE&S and industry”
The completion of the project in such a short timeframe was particularly impressive given the fact that before construction could commence a Cold War nuclear shelter had to be demolished and the site cleared.
In addition, a significant amount of preparatory work had to be undertaken to secure and preserve all underground utility ducts and cables that ran beneath the site and serve the entire station. This had to be hand dug.
DE&S project manager Maggie Garrison-Parker said: “This achievement in itself was remarkable but made more so by the challenges faced by the contractor working through the extreme weather conditions of last winter, securing a build site adjacent to Typhoon manoeuvring areas and during the COVID-19 restrictions.
“Ultimately, this project has been successfully delivered because of the close working relationships across all stakeholder groups, but particularly that fostered between DE&S and industry.”
Since its formation, the team has been fundamental to the meeting of the 12 Sqn milestones; with delivery of the Ready to Operate Corporate Management Information System strategic milestone four months early in October 2019. Working in conjunction with their industry and Typhoon Force counterparts, the team is managing a range of Defence Lines of Development activities, covering training both aircrew and groundcrew, equipment, personnel, infrastructure and logistics as well as contributing to other areas. This support will continue until the squadron is detached to Doha in 2022 and will resume when the RAF element returns in 2023.