Golden bolt time for Lightning preparations at Marham

Air Commodore Harv Smyth Lightning Force Commander inserting the Golden Bolt. ANL-160112-123814001

Air Commodore Harv Smyth Lightning Force Commander inserting the Golden Bolt. ANL-160112-123814001

An important landmark in the delivery of the infrastructure required to support the F-35B Lightning aircraft at RAF Marham took place on Friday.

The steel structure of one of the new buildings that is vital to the operation of the new fighters was completed.

Part of Project Anvil, which will deliver upgrades to 90 per cent of the airfield and which since starting in April has progressed rapidly, when finished, the National Operating Centre (NOC) will provide office space for over 100 personnel who will be involved in the overall running and sustainment of the UK Lightning Force. 

To mark the occasion, the last steel bolt was sprayed gold and added to the structure during a contractors’ ‘Golden Bolt’ ceremony. The ceremony is derived from naval folklore which suggests every new ship built contained a single commemorative golden rivet.

Air Commodore Harv Smyth, the Lightning Force Commander, said “Today’s ceremony represents RAF Marham moving another step closer towards the stand-up of our Lightning Force. 

“The Lightning infrastructure redevelopment programme at Marham is a major undertaking, involving people from across Defence and Industry.”

Group Capt Rich Davies, the Station Commander, said: “It is great to see the infrastructure build take shape across the Station in preparation for Lightning’s arrival in 2018. 

“Marking this first milestone really brings it home that it will not be long until we welcome 617 Squadron back to the UK and see the dawning of a new era at RAF Marham.”

Neil Smith, Balfour Beatty Freedom of Action Project Director, said: “Today’s Golden Bolt Ceremony was an opportunity for Balfour Beatty to celebrate the end of the steelworks on the NOC with our partners BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and RAF Marham and also to look forward to the beginning of an exciting new stage in the building’s development. 

“We at Balfour Beatty feel incredibly privileged to be part of this important stage in the development of the F-35B Lightning and its onward journey to the UK in 2018 andwould like to thank all of those who have helped us achieve all we have so far, namely BAE Systems,Lockheed Martin, RAF Marham Base, Lightning Basing Team and Lightning Project Team.”