The UK Government continues to invest in its global overseas military facilities, this time across its entire Cyprus estate.
Allocated under DIO’s Overseas Prime Contracts (OPC) programme – which began this time last year, kicking off with a seven-year-long, £155m ($188.8m) investment in its Gibraltar estate – a further £256m will be awarded to Mitie Defence Limited for maintenance, repairs and servicing the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) bases in Cyprus.
This is the second OPC contract to be issued. It covers every part of the MoD estate in Cyprus, including RAF Akrotiri, Episkopi, Dhekelia, Ayios Nikolias, Troodos, Bloodhound Camp and Radio Sonde, as well as Cypriot companies within the supply chain.
Further facilities management contracts will follow in other locations, including Germany and wider Europe, Cyprus Soft FM, and the Falklands and Ascension Islands.
The next contract to be awarded as part of the OPC programme in the coming months will be the Cyprus Soft Facilities Management contract. The final contract under the programme will be the South Atlantic Islands in summer 2024.
The contract is for an initial period of seven years and aims to be more flexible and responsive to the needs of service personnel and staff in Cyprus.
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“This will allow them to focus on their work in the knowledge that they have safe and resilient infrastructure to work from,” an MoD press release conveyed.
Maintaining a global military presence from Cyprus
The demand for adequate military infrastructure is there; now more than ever before as the geopolitical scene falls back into a multi-polar environment.
Located in the Eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus is situated off the coast of the Levant, where the Hamas-Israeli conflict has recently entered what the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has recently labelled, “the second-stage of the war.”
This Government investment also comes a day after the MoD announced that the Royal Air Force will deliver humanitarian aid to Egypt to support civilians in Gaza.
Additionally, the British military presence in Cyprus emulates the military deterrence exhibited by the US with its two Carrier Strike Groups in the region.
Shoring up Britain’s geostrategic assets elsewhere
Only seven months earlier, the DIO also allocated £6.96m to extend the lifespan of the runways and taxiways at the Mount Pleasant Complex airfield in the Falkland Islands.
The refurbishment project involved repainting runway and taxiway markings in reflective paint, replacing airfield signage with new compliant back-lit units, and coating the runway asphalt with a layer of bitumen. This protective layer is expected to extend the life of the treated surfaces until they can be fully re-laid in the coming years.
Britain’s Government has already identified the new “volatile and contested world” today in its Integrated Review Refresh in March; this then places importance on maintaining its global military infrastructure.
A few months later, in the Defence Command Paper Refresh, the Government stated it would build “an estate that is focused on both people and military capability, more resilient, better aligned with the future operating environment, and that connects our domestic and overseas estates.”
Additional reporting from Harry McNeil.