A MULTI-million-pound upgrade of BAE Systems’ Walney Airfield has been hailed as a key investment in contributing towards keeping Britain’s shores safe.

At an official ceremony yesterday Rear Admiral Paul Methven unveiled the completion BAE Systems’ £7.2 million upgrade of Walney Airfield.

The work, which included a new control tower and hangar, will support flights connecting Barrow with locations across the country used by BAE Systems, MOD and Royal Navy personnel, and representatives of industry partners.

Admiral Methven, director of submarines acquisition for the submarine delivery agency, said: “The nuclear submarine programme in the UK and the Dreadnought programme underneath that is a national endeavour.

“It’s centred around Barrow, but to get us to be able to design, build and commission the most complex artefacts on the planet really needs the total capability of the UK and if you think of it like that we really need to be able to connect everybody together and that means that all the partners in this highly complex programme, be it Ministry of Defence, Rolls-Royce Submarines, BAE Systems’ staff across the UK, and more broadly an immense, vast supply chain, need to be able to come and go to Barrow on an efficient basis.

“When you consider in 2018 almost 3,500 flights transported nearly 14,000 personnel here you realise the scale of what we do in order to enable these programmes. The connectivity for a genuine national endeavour is really the big issue and if you want to do that correctly and safely then you really need modern facilities to do it.”

The improvements mean infrastructure that had, in some cases, been little altered since the Second World War, is now comparable to any modern airfield. The new equipment is compatible with the latest avionics systems and construction of a new hanger ensures aircrafts can be stored and maintained properly.

At the ceremony two of their King Air 250 aircrafts were revealed as part of the investment and there was also a flypast of a Typhoon fighter.