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Walney Airfield upgrade unveiled

Typhoon flying past the new control tower

A £7.2 million upgrade of BAE Systems’ Walney Airfield has been completed.

The investment, which includes a new control tower, provides infrastructure that will effectively support UK submarine programmes for years to come.

The upgrade will support flights connecting Barrow with locations across the country used by BAE Systems, MOD and Royal Navy personnel, and representatives of industry partners.

BAE Systems Chief Infrastructure Officer Steve Cole and Rear Admiral Paul Methven

Malcolm Sewell, who is Head of Flying of BAE Systems Submarines, said: “Flight Operations from this historic airfield has always played a vital role in supporting the shipyard’s ability to design and deliver submarines for the Royal Navy, and without this facility the complex programmes we run in Barrow would be even harder to deliver.

“We can all be proud of the investment that we have made with the MOD in upgrading the facility which has secured safe, reliable and efficient flight operations on Walney for the next generation of programmes.”

The improvements mean infrastructure that had, in some cases, been little altered since the Second World War, is now comparable to any modern airfield. The new equipment is compatible with the latest avionics systems and construction of a new hanger ensures aircraft can be stored and maintained to ensure a high degree of readiness.

As well as the new control tower and hangar, the investment has created new crew facilities, garaging for emergency vehicles and a new passenger lounge improving the experience for those using the airfield. In 2018 almost 3,500 flights transported nearly 14,000 personnel working on the Submarine programmes.