Just before midnight there was an almighty roar on a tiny island in the middle of nowhere; the roar of two RAF Vulcan bombers taking off at 103 per cent thrust.

That was 30th April 1982. The Vulcan was designed to drop nuclear bombs on Eastern Europe and had been destined for the scrap heap but became essential in the Falkland Islands war to drop conventional 1,000lb bombs on targets including the Port Stanley airfield used by the Argentines.

Wideawake airfield was used by the flight refuelling Victor tanker aircraft and Nimrod recognisance aircraft during the campaign. Troops from the Canberra troop ship trained there en route to the Falklands and in the words of the marines ‘Ascension was a bonus as it was the real thing in terrain in contrast to the flat decks where there are no hills’.

Recent works carried out to upgrade the drainage network, fuel storage facilities and runway parking/preparation area included two SPEL Puraceptor Class1 NS 100 separators. These where supplied to cater for fuel spillages, pollutants from wash down operations and, in a worst case scenario, a tanker leaking 24,000 litres of fuel.

Two further SPEL Stormceptor NSB 160 by-pass separators were designed to work in parallel to avoid the use of one large unit. This was to save transportation costs and to minimise the depth of dig for installation due to the islands strata.

With the recent construction works Ascension remains a valuable staging post in the vast Atlantic Ocean.

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