25th February 2014
An 8,300 mile round trip to Ascension Island. A little-known but strategically critical island is what faces a UK security fencing manufacturer.
That’s the distance there and back from RAF Brize Norton to Ascension Island. Part of a British Overseas Territory together with St Helena and Tristan da Cunha under the British sovereignty. Sited in the South Atlantic just south of the Equator.
The MoD awarded Interserve an extension two years ago to deliver support services on the island until 2017. As part of a £300m single strategic UK-based management structure and bundled package of services for Ascension Island, Cyprus, the Falkland Islands and Gibraltar.
Ascension Island is an isolated volcanic island in the South Atlantic. Around 1,000 miles from the coast of Africa and 1,400 miles from the coast of South America.
The island hosts an RAF station with a US Air Force presence. A European Space Agency rocket tracking station. An Anglo-American signals intelligence facility and the BBC World Service Atlantic Relay Station. Used extensively by the British military during the Falklands War, with Operation Black Buck. The long-range bombing raid, being carried out from there.
Ascension Island is also the site of one of just five ground antennae that assist in the operation of the Global Positioning System navigational system.
Zaun’s survey consists of erecting 150 metres of new fencing around Bowser Park and designing, manufacture and fit the vehicle and pedestrian access gates. The park has slightly inclined approaches at both ends, which, combined with the position and size of the gates, suggests that the gates might need bespoke.
Copyright of Sqn Ldr Mel James, Commander of the Vulcan Engineering Detachment on Ascension Island in 1982.