RAF Akrotiri is a busy British military airfield situated on the Akrotiri Peninsular on the South coast of Cyprus. The Base provides joint support to British Forces Cyprus and Operations in the region in order to protect the UK's strategic interests. It is used as a forward mounting base for overseas operations in the Middle East and for fast jet training. The previous runway had reached the end of its usable life, and this project set out to refurbish the aircraft operating surfaces and to widen the taxiways.
The project also involved the replacement of three dispersals, which are areas off the runway where aircraft can be ‘parked’. This means the whole airfield at Akrotiri can now safely accommodate most wide-bodied aircraft for a number of years to come including the RAF’s new Voyager fleet.
Background to RAF Akrotiri
RAF Akrotiri is the location where the military personnel and supplies for British Forces Cyprus arrive and is in regular use as a base for exercises and operations in the Mediterranean and surrounding area. It’s warm, reliable weather means it also often serves as a winter base for the Red Arrows while they select new team members and practice their displays.
In 2019, British Forces Cyprus will become the largest Permanent Joint Operating Base and permanent deployment of British troops overseas and this latest upgrade has ensured it is more than ready to support operations for the next 20 years and beyond.
Ramboll’s involvement in the advance works for the project
The official opening of the runway project in March 2017 was the culmination of a number of years of hard work by Ramboll in order to successfully deliver this project.
The first stage to the delivery was the project Assessment Study, completed in 2011 and the subsequent Investment Appraisal Stage A Report, delivered in 2013.
Whilst considering the User Requirement for this project, Ramboll initially made technical and financial assessment of different refurbishment options, ranging from on-going maintenance to full refurbishment and upgrade of the airfield pavement and airfield ground lighting (AGL) systems. Also included in the assessment was comparison with the military design standards and level of compliance achieved.
Following identification of the Users preferred option, Ramboll undertook extensive on site surveys during 2013 which included Heavy Weight Deflectometer Testing; Pavement Coring; Geotechnical & Contamination Investigations and the high pressure jet cleaning of blocked surface water drainage pipework in order to conduct CCTV scanning of the surface water drainage system.
In parallel with the survey and investigation works, Ramboll developed the refurbishment project to the scheme design level. This included design of geometry, pavements, AGL, power supply and drainage infrastructure.
Derived Design was completed by mid-2014 and the Tender Documentation, including the Works Contractors Brief, in 2015.
Delivery of the airfield refurbishment project
The contract for the work was awarded in May 2015 to a Joint Venture between Lagan Construction International and Iacovou Brothers Construction Limited, a local Cyprus based company.
Works began in the summer of 2015, and were completed in 21 months. Works were carried out both on day and night shifts: it is a testament to the successful collaboration between Stakeholders, Ramboll and the Works Contractor that night time possessions continued for the duration of the works whilst maintaining operational readiness for fast jets.
The works comprised the overlay of the existing runway; construction of a new taxiway; reconstruction of 3 No Dispersals; 2 No turnpads; installation of a new AGL system; installation of a new drainage network to entire scheme including petrol interceptors and emergency fuel storage tanks to cater for spillages and Runway Hydraulic Arrestor Gear (RHAGs).
During the works 6440m of asphalt was laid; 55,000m3 of earth was excavated; 62,000m3 of old concrete was dug out and reused and 44,000m3 of pavement quality concrete was laid.
Brief history of the Cyprus Office
Ramboll has a long history of working with the British Forces in Cyprus.
The Ramboll Office (formerly Gifford) was set up in 1993, following the demise of the Civil Service PSA International Organisation. Initially the office took on the remaining project work from PSA International, and within a year tendered for, and won, the first DIO Term Commission. In the following years, the Commission developed to its current PSP Commission, and during this time the Cyprus Office was successful in either extending their contract, or winning each rebid. More on the Cyprus office here.
During the history of the Cyprus Office, over 100 projects have been successfully delivered in all 4 British Base areas: Episkopi Garrison; RAF Akrotiri; Dhekelia Garrison and Ayios Nikolaos Station.
Looking forward together
The Ramboll team in Cyprus is currently managing a project portfolio of £120M for the British Forces in Cyprus, including an extension to the runway project, including the refurbishment of the Southern Loop Taxiway, 2 No Dispersals, Engine Running and Compass Swing Platforms.