The Ministry of Defense announced on Thursday that it has awarded a 600 600 million contract to the Belgian-Dutch-American Federation to build the infrastructure needed to operate a future F-35 fighter jet expected in Belgium from April 2025. The Belgian company Jan De Nul nv will develop the new infrastructure at the Florence (Namur) and Klein-Brockle (Limburg) airports in collaboration with Dutch – but also Belgian branch – design companies Arcadies and American. Burns & McDonald’s Directorate General of Material Resources for Security (DG-MR) said in a statement on the Internet.
A high-security complex dedicated to the F-35s will be built on each site.
The first F-35As, the regular take-off and landing version of the Lightning II fighter jet from the American group Lockheed Martin, are expected to be delivered to Florence’s 2nd Tactical Division in 2025 and its sister division 10th Division in 2027. Tactical Division of the Klein Brooklyn.
Belgium ordered 34 copies of this fifth-generation Stealth Fighter in October 2018, for around 6 3.6 billion. This amount did not take into account the required infrastructure work, the total cost of which was previously estimated at between 300 – and 600 million euros.
The panel of ministers awarded the deal on April 1, but the bidders of the failed auctions (two federations are running, according to informed sources) had 14 days to appeal to the state council. None of them did.
According to Defense, a new infrastructure is needed to accommodate and maintain the new F-35 armament system, replacing existing weapons that do not meet the requirements of modern fighter aircraft from the 1950s and 1960s.
DG-MR said each F-35A complex is manufactured according to the “Design, Build & Maintenance” (DBM) formula.
The Jan De Nul-Arcadis-Burns & McDonnell consortium is not only responsible for the design and construction, but also for the maintenance of the infrastructure for a period of ten years after temporary supply.
The first temporary area distribution of buildings in Florence is scheduled for the summer of 2024.
Security chose to build an almost identical centralized F-35 campus at each site. The campus is divided into four main areas (administration, logistics, security, dedicated to operations and “airway” with sixteen accommodations, with four planes ready for departure with caution).
To carry out this project, Defense has chosen the formula for Public-Private Partnership in the form of “Design, Build & Maintain” (DBM, French Draw, Develop and Maintain).
According to the DG-MR, the selected concept “will not only meet the technical and operational requirements for the operation and maintenance of the F-35, but will also pay particular attention to the well-being of the staff”. In addition, the project also contributes to the fight against climate change: security argues that the new campus will be better heat-insulated and generated by heat pumps based on geothermal energy.
Considering the arrival of four male drones (“Medium Altitude Long Endurance”) MQ-9B SkyGuardian, the Florennes site will benefit from another investment of 24 million. The first two of these aircraft, also known as “Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems” (RPAS) and the American company General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI), which is expected in the Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse. The first quarter of 2023.
The area dedicated to the SkyGuardians will orbit the B-Hunter’s 80th Brigade (aircraft) used until recently, the hangar used by the UAV. Construction of new hangar and new administrative buildings is also planned.