15 Aug 06. General Dynamics Electric Boat today began the renovation of graving docks 1 and 2 at its shipyard, which will enable the company to build upon its submarine-repair capabilities and help retain its workforce in Connecticut. The two-year project will cost $65m. The docks are used for new submarine construction as well as submarine maintenance and modernization work.
09 Aug 06. RAF West Raynham: Sale of Technical Site. Defence Estates announced (9 Aug 06) the sale of the Technical Site at RAF West Raynham to Hodge Homes for around £9m (nine million). The area in North Norfolk which has been sold covers about 75 hectares(185 acres) and includes 172 houses, barrack blocks, hangars and workshop facilities.
Comment: In its heyday West Raynham housed the administrative and engineering bases of 25 and 85 Squadrons, when they operated Bloodhound missiles from sites around the UK’s East Coast. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0631, 14 Aug 06)
18 Jul 06. RAF Portreath: Cleaning Up. Defence Estates recently (18 Jul 06) reported that work to “clean up” the former Chemical Defence Establishment (CDE) at Nancekuke in Cornwall was well underway. RAF Portreath includes the site of the former CDE, where decommissioning started at five burial sites (Dumps A, B, C, D & E) in May 2006 and is due to be completed by the end of September 2006.
Comment: Defence Estates probably thought it wise to explain what is happening at Portreath since parts of the Station are visible from the North Cornwall coastal path. The former CDE is one of the more chilling MoD sites, evoking a history which started with a Victorian rifle range and continued with the production of chemical agents. Although now only a remote radar-head (RRH), Portreath maintains one runway in good repair as a helicopter relief landing-ground. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0631, 14 Aug 06)
08 Aug 06. RAF Lossiemouth: Base for Space Tourism? Virgin Galactic confirmed (8 Aug 06) that RAF Lossiemouth was being considered as a possible launch site for commercial journeys into space from 2010. The company is investing $220m (£115m) in a six-passenger craft called SpaceShipTwo.
Comment: Lossiemouth’s remote location in Morayshire is one of the main attractions for Virgin. A further bonus is the length of Lossiemouth’s 9,091 feet (2,771 metres) main runway. The Station’s major units are Tornado GR4 Squadrons: 12, 14, 15(R) & 617. Lossiemouth is also a Search & Rescue Station as well as being home to a number of minor units. The Station Commander is on record as welcoming the approach from Virgin. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0631, 14 Aug 06)
11 Aug 06. Boston Properties has acquired two Silicon Valley offices for more than $170m and is on the prowl for more. Bob Pester, senior vice president and regional manager in San Francisco for the Boston-based company, says, “We are very big on the valley, and we see it coming back.” The company has committed to buying a 540,000 square-foot complex of four buildings for $126m. The North San Jose site is being sold by Foster City’s Legacy Partners and a Goldman Sachs real estate investment fund. The buildings are occupied by Lockheed Martin, which has another four-and-a-half years left on its lease, Pester says. Boston believes it will be able to increase the rents on the buildings when that lease rolls, whether Lockheed continues to occupy them or not.
15 Aug 06. Lockheed Martin kicked off construction of a new office building in Huntsville, Ala., with a ground-breaking ceremony today. The new facility will expand the corporation’s Huntsville Operations business unit on Bradford Drive.
MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT
16 Aug 06. MoD seeks 300 WWI soldier pardons. Private Harry Farr was executed aged 25. The Ministry of Defence is to seek pardons for more than 300 soldiers who were shot for military offences during World War I. Defence Secretary Des Browne said he would be