RAF Fairford is the US Air Force’s only European airfield for heavy bombers. The 9,993 ft long runway is rated as ‘unrestricted’ meaning that it can support any aircraft type. Fairford is also home of the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT), one of the largest annual air displays in the world.


Gleeds is responsible for several confidential projects to upgrade facilities for the US Air Force including explosives handling facilities and multi-purpose hangarage.


The works are being procured on behalf of the USAF by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO).


The project team has hosted a number of design charrettes with key stakeholders from the USAF and DIO present at which the underlying end-user requirements have been explored and defined.

Innovation and added value

The munitions handling facilities have a requirement for significant earth berms. An opportunity was identified by the team to use surplus arisings from other projects happening on the site to minimise the overall cost to MOD. This reduced both the cost of disposal and the cost of importing material.

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Suzanne Tearle

Suzanne Tearle
UK Defence Lead