June 22 (UPI) -- The British Ministry of Defense announced Wednesday it issued the last of seven contracts to enable a Royal Air Force base for F-35 Lightning II aircraft beginning next year.
The award for the infrastructure upgrade at RAF Markham is worth more than $170.6 million, and was given to a joint venture of British companies Galliford Try and Lagan Construction Ltd.
"Flying from our new Queen Elizabeth Class carriers, the F-35B aircraft will provide the U.K. with the ability to project our influence globally," Sir Michael Fallon, the British secretary of defense, said in a press release. "This contract will ensure that RAF Marham has the facilities to match this world-class aircraft when it arrives next year."
Covered under the contract is the construction of an aircraft hangar capable of housing 12 of the new jets, from which they will deploy to Queen Elizabeth Class carriers.
Existing facilities will be improved, runways and taxiways resurfaced, and vertical landing pads added.
The F-35B Lightning II aircraft will be flown by the Royal Air Force and Navy from Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers or from operating bases such as RAF Marham, the defense ministry said.