The new runway at RAF Akrotiri cost £46million
The runway at RAF Akrotiri on the island of Cyprus took 21 months to renovate.
Today it was officially opened so Britain’s Sovereign Base Area can be better equipped than ever before to combat threats to national security, the Ministry of Defence said.
The refurbished runway will be used by RAF aircraft as well as Britain’s coalition partners as they fly on missions to Syria to fight ISIS.
Mike Penning, minister for the Armed Forces, said: “This project has taken a tired and battered runway and transformed it into a modern, safe, 21st Century facility, capable of supporting operations for the next 20 years and beyond.
“This has been a unique and remarkable achievement.
"RAF Akrotiri is not just a refuelling spot or training base. This airfield matters.
"It has been at the forefront of supporting our most important military operations over the last decade and more, including the current campaign against Daesh.”
Engineers worked for 21 months to renovate the runway
Since 2014, the base has played a major role in aiding the fight against the terror group, with more than 1,200 strikes on ISIS targets over the past three years.
The new multi-million pound runway was renovated by engineers who completed the work as air operations took place, with the RAF working at the highest operational tempo in a quarter of a century.
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Led by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), workers excavated 55,000 cubic metres of earth and laid down 44,000 cubic metres of high-quality concrete.
Graham Dalton, DIO’s chief executive, added: “I am delighted that the upgrade to the runway at RAF Akrotiri is complete.
RAF Akrotiri is the main base for coalition forces heading on missions to Syria
The base has played a major role in fighting ISIS since 2014
“This is a crucial asset for Defence and this project has been a huge success.
“DIO has worked with our customers and contractors to successfully carry out this critical work while minimising the impact on operations.”
The new runway has been built in anticipation of British Forces Cyprus become the largest permanent joint operating base and permanent deployment of British troops overseas in 2019.