A full-scale replica of the iconic English Electric Lightning fighter jet has been installed to guard the gates of the BAE Systems Samlesbury site, and Aegis has played a key role in the project.
The life-sized model has replaced the original fuselage which was manufactured at Samlesbury. It has stood at the gates on the A59 for more than two decades, but has become damaged by the Lancashire elements over time. The replica, constructed by a specialist aeroplane renovation and replica manufacturer based in Cornwall, is made of fibreglass to better protect it from the environment.
The project involved the removal of the original gate guardian and replacing it with the replica. The model has a front of house location next to the main site entrance and the busy A59, and is therefore highly visible to passers-by and site visitors.
Work was split into three phases: Groundworks to prepare the site, transportation of the replicas from Cornwall to Samlesbury, and installation of the replica aircraft.
BAE’s Samlesbury site is occupied by the company’s Military Air and Information Division. The iconic Electric Lightning, which has helped lay the foundations of modern day jets such as Typhoon, is an important piece of heritage – not only for BAE but Lancashire as a whole.
Aegis was appointed CDM Co-ordinator on the Gate Guardians Project and has had a continuous involvement in co-ordinating health and safety issues which impacted on the works.
The key benefit to BAE Systems is that Aegis ensured all processes and procedures for the removal of the original gate guardian and the installation of its replacement were implemented effectively and comprehensively. This was also taking into account the busy working site and its proximity to a main road.
The replica English Electric Lightning fighter now stands proud at the site where it first took to the skies in November 1959. It was a turning point in aviation history as the first completely British designed and built fighter aircraft able to fly at twice the speed of sound.
Aegis has been working with BAE Systems at its Samlesbury and Warton sites for more than 18 years, and is a preferred supplier for the Military Air and Information Division there.
We will continue to work with BAE as it enters the second stage of the Gate Guardians project, to erect a second full-scale replica of an F-35 Lightning II alongside the Electric Lightning – parts of which are built at Samlesbury.