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Minister Approves Construction of New DARA Facility

23 February 2003

The UK’s Defence Aviation Repair Agency (DARA) will proceed with the construction of a new state-of-the-art £77m facility at the Agency's headquarters base in St Athan, South Wales.

The leading-edge repair and maintenance facility will be constructed within a 100-acre site on the existing RAF St Athan base. It consolidates DARA's interests and replaces the present facilities, currently spread around the 1000-acre site. The new building will provide 20,000 square metres of support workshops and office facilities, and 45,000 square metres of hangar accommodation. With a roof span of 66 metres and a working height of 14 metres, the hangars have been designed to allow for flexibility and can accommodate up to 48 Tornado size aircraft, or a number of alternative larger aircraft if required.

The new DARA development will also be the focus for wider plans by the Welsh Development Agency (WDA) to create an Aviation Centre of Excellence at St Athan. The reorganisation will allow the military presence to continue whilst allowing the WDA and MoD future flexibility in its use of the site.

Armed Forces Minister, Adam Ingram said: ""DARA plays a crucial role in delivering support to our Armed Forces. It is clear that, if the Agency is to bid effectively and successfully for future aircraft repair and maintenance work, then it must have facilities that will enable it to be competitive in the international market place.

""The new facility is designed to the highest standards to help DARA achieve quality and productivity. This substantial investment is a major vote of confidence in DARA and our defence capability in Wales.""

The Defence Aviation Repair Agency (DARA) was created in April 1999 with the amalgamation of the RAF's Maintenance Group Defence Agency (MGDA) and the Naval Aircraft Repair Organisation (NARO). It is the largest Government owned aerospace repair and maintenance organisation in Europe.






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