RAF Cranwell High G training facility

Client Thales UK

Sector Defence

Location Lincolnshire

Value £9m

A technically challenging project to build the first new High G Training facility for fast jet fighter pilots in the UK since the 1950s.

The project was built for Thales UK on behalf of the RAF and is being used to train RAF and Royal Navy pilots to counter the effects of G‐force while flying jets, including the new F35 Lightning II, on training and combat missions, in a reliable and safe environment.

The building houses a 39‐tonne Human Training Centrifuge (HTC), which simulates sustained g‐forces typical of modern high performance fighter aircraft, by rotating around the ‘drum’ building at speeds of 55mph, creating stresses up to 9g.

Galliford Try designed and built a 1,600sqm two‐storey in-situ concrete frame ‘drum’ building to house the HTC, as well as an adjoining two‐storey block to house briefing, conference, crew and observation rooms, resuscitation area, equipment store and trials lab.

This bespoke project demanded the very highest levels of engineering precision and environmental control. The 10 metre radius centrifuge chamber was formed using bespoke circular formwork to achieve the accuracy and finish specified. The tolerances achieved on the inner drum building  were within 1mm, housing the 20‐tonne centrifuge motor and gear box which were installed into a 4.5m deep basement, excavated from limestone rock.