The British Royal Air Force (RAF) has officially opened its new £70m hangar to accommodate the new Atlas transport aircraft at RAF Brize Norton air station in the UK.

Designed to accommodate three of the RAF’s new Atlas aircraft, the hangar is built over a total area of 24,000m2 and has a height of 28m.

The Atlas maintenance, repair and upgrade facility, which has been constructed under Defence Infrastructure Organisation contracts, is fully operational to support the transport operations of the UK airforce across the globe.

The RAF has built the new hangar with an aim to make the maintenance of the transport aircraft easier, safer, and more efficient.

The airforce’s Atlas fleet is supported by an agreement signed between the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) as well as the Airbus Defence and Space.

The deal is part of the country’s on-going support to the Atlas programme, which has been capable of retaining 8,000 job opportunities across the national supply chain.

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UK DE&S director air support Adrian Baguley said: “The Atlas programme is delivering a world-class fleet for the RAF, offering the UK next-generation transport and airlift abilities for operations all over the world.

“This new facility will ensure that work continues for decades to come.”

“Expert support on the ground in the UK is an essential part of that capability and this new facility will ensure that work continues for decades to come.”

Capable of carrying up to 37t over a range of 2,000nm, the aircraft can deploy troops and equipment between and within theatres of operation either by parachute or by landing on short and potentially unprepared airstrips.

Atlas can also accommodate armoured vehicles, which can help significantly reduce the time required for a deploying force to be ready to fight.

The aircraft is also capable of performing humanitarian roles, which include deployment of mobile cranes, excavators, and large dump trucks for disaster relief operations.

The UK MoD has ordered a total of 22 Atlas aircraft for the RAF.

Of the 22, 18 have already been delivered and the remaining aircraft are scheduled to be delivered by 2022.