Pioneering facility opens at RAF Marham
RAF Marham Station Commander, Group Captain Jim Beck has officially opened a pioneering new battery bay which is the first of its kind in the Royal Air Force.
The arrival of the new F-35B Lightning aircraft at Marham meant that the existing facility needed a significant upgrade to support its battery requirements.
The Lightning’s control surfaces and actuators are electrically driven by Lithium-ion batteries rather than the more traditional hydraulic methods. Power demands for this are met by a 270VDC battery that weighs in at over 40Kg plus a 28VDC battery for traditional ancillary power.
Although both batteries contain a host of fail-safe features designed to reduce the risk of thermal runaway and fire, the storage, charging and maintenance requirements for Lithium-ion batteries required a significant upgrade to the station’s existing bay.
Maintenance support squadron engineers worked closely with Amey, Defence Infrastructure Organisation, the fire safety officer and industry partners to develop a future proofed facility that could, if required, support over 40 batteries and make them available 24/7.
The new Lithium-ion bay features a temperature controlled storage area, separate charging area with sophisticated fire suppression and extraction systems and a secure storage for assets critical to aircraft maintenance.
The new bay has been in use for a number of months now but had not been officially opened until Thursday due to the Covid 19 restrictions.
Station Commander Group Captain James Beck said: “It's fantastic to open this pioneering facility today which is another addition to the amazing infrastructure that we now have at RAF Marham to support a world class fifth generation aircraft.
"The work that the personnel do within the battery bay is an essential part of the process that keeps us at the forefront of air power.”