UK: Progress on new helicopter facilities at RNAS Culdrose

UK: Progress on new helicopter facilities at RNAS Culdrose

6-Apr-2010 Source: UK Ministry of Defence

Defence Estates (DE) is overseeing an important project to build bespoke new facilities for the four Sea King helicopter squadrons based at the Royal Navy Air Station (RNAS) Culdrose in Cornwall.

Construction work is well underway on the first of two new buildings at the base, which will co-locate key engineering and maintenance areas with the hangar and office and command accommodation. This will bring significant improvements and efficiencies to day-to day operations at the Station.

The new facilities will replace hangars and squadron office blocks no longer fit for purpose some of which have already been demolished to make way for the new development.

RNAS Culdrose, situated on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall, is one of the most complex and busy military airfields in the UK. It is home to 771 Naval Air Squadron and The Sea King Airborne Surveillance squadrons as well as four Merlin helicopter squadrons, a fixed-wing turbo-prop Jetstream squadron (750), and a Hawk jet squadron (FRADU).

Sea Kings from Culdrose are regularly deployed to the front line and also perform the vital function of Search and Rescue (SAR) for the South West coast and western approaches. The Royal Navy’s Sea Kings are due to be phased out of service by 2016, but the new hangars have been designed to handle the larger Merlin helicopters that will replace them.

Sustainable technologies have been incorporated into the design of the new buildings, including air source heat pumps which draw heat from the external ambient air, an under-floor heating system and fan coil units that transfer wasted heat from the office areas to the domestic hot water system and a rainwater harvesting system.

Graham Martin, the DE Project Manager, said: “We are delighted that the construction phase is now underway. This project has gone through a thorough planning and development phase with much care and attention taken to develop a layout which satisfies both the complex requirements of the end-user, and also budgetary and operational constraints.”

Construction work on the first new building began in August 2009. It is due to be completed in November this year and will be the new home to 771 Squadron.

Captain Graeme Mackay, Commanding Officer RNAS Culdrose said: “The new facilities will greatly benefit 771 SAR Squadron and the three other Sea King Squadrons, and I am grateful for the huge effort and commitment from the whole team over several years of planning to get us to this stage. I am looking forward to a most successful project which will enhance yet further the operational support capability of RNAS Culdrose.”

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