Yesterday on a trip to Anglesey the defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon unveiled a newly restored runway at RAF Valley.
The station is primarily used for advanced fast jet training for pilots and, whilst the previous infrastructure was strong enough for the Hawk aircraft, it has been restored to support pilots training in the likes of Tornados and Typhoons.
Sir Michael said: “This famous runway has been an integral part of the careers of generations of fast-jet pilots who have seen action across the world and are currently leading RAF strikes against Daesh. I’m delighted that this investment will see the runway play that vital role for at least another 25 years, training new pilots in the skills they need to help keep us safe when flying the next generation of aircraft.”
The existing runway was ageing and so a £20 million contract was awarded to refurbish it as well as the link taxiways in addition to providing a new section airside perimeter road, new visual aids, aeronautical lighting and signage.
All new UK fighter pilots pass through RAF Valley before they reach the fast jet frontline. In the last 3 months, 4 graduates have gone on to fly the world’s most sophisticated fighter, the F-35 Lightning II, in the United States.
The UK already has 11 F-35B jets being flown in the US, and 120 UK personnel being trained there. By the end of the year the UK will have 14 aircraft, with initial flight trials from the brand new Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carrier’s deck planned for next year.