Vital work for the airforce: Upgrading critical airfield lighting at RAF Brize Norton
Minster Group has been busy upgrading and installing critical new airfield LED lights at RAF Brize Norton.
Airfield Ground Lighting (AGL) is formed by a number of specialised airfield ground lights arranged in precise patterns to serve as visual aids to aircraft pilots. The lights provide crucial guidance to pilots during landing and takeoff at night, or in low visibility conditions.
Carrying out maintenance to an RAF airfield like this is always a challenge because it has to remain operational, with military operations unaffected by the works. Our teams have been working overnight weekend shifts at RAF Brize Norton to replace worn joints and swap old AGL’s with new LED centre lights. The work ensures the busy runway can operate continuously in all conditions and that it meets the ICAO standards (compliant with international aviation regulations).
RAF Brize Norton is the central hub for military flights from the United Kingdom to many different theatres of operation around the world. With its mixed fleet of aircraft, the base provides rapid global mobility in support of UK overseas operations and exercises, as well as AAR support for fast jet aircraft both on operations and in support of UK Homeland Defence. It is the largest and busiest RAF base in the UK, home to around 5,800 service personnel.
We regularly carry out work at this important RAF station, with the capability to provide 24/7 maintenance at a moment’s notice. Last year, we also carried out airfield repairs shortly before the historic evacuation of Afghanistan, Operation Pitting.
Importance of AGL’s
For this task, our teams repair the station’s AGL’s, as they form a critical part of all operational and aviation activity at RAF Brize Norton. AGL’s are formed of a number of different sets of lights which identify the beginning and end of a runway, touchdown point and location of a runway for pilots flying in low visibility.
‘Approach Lights’ are the first lights that pilots will ‘reach’ during landing; their main function is to ‘show’ in what direction the runway is. ‘Runway End Identification Light’, is a white flashing light that identifies the beginning of a runway, and ‘Threshold lights’ are green coloured and located at the beginning of the part of a runway where aircraft can do touchdown.
The most important set of lights on the airfield – the ‘Runway edge light’, are located on the left and right sides of a runway and illuminate the part of the runway safe for landings. The ‘ Runway End Light’ on the other hand, identifies the end of a runway.
As trusted suppliers for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) since 2007, we provide a 24/7 runway repair service at the RAF Brize Norton, and have worked at the Oxfordshire base on a number of runway projects over recent years. Our teams are proud to have played an important role in keeping airfields operational year-round and take great pride in supporting Britain’s armed forces.
You can find out more about our work here.