AN aircraft hangar larger than three football pitches has been opened at RAF Brize Norton to make it easier for servicemen to fly missions around the world.

New Defence Minister, Guto Bebb, opened the facility yesterday, calling it ‘phenomenally impressive.’

The hangar will be the new home for the Airbus A400M Atlas fleet, which recently took part in missions to the Caribbean after hurricane Irma last autumn.

The hangar covers 24,000sq m, is 28m tall and cost approximately £70million.

The base, near Carterton, currently has 18 Atlas aircraft – which are large enough to carry armoured vehicles – with four more due by 2022.

Maintenance of the aircraft will now be carried out inside the hangar, making it easier and safer for personnel.

Mr Bebb, who was made Minister for Defence Procurement three weeks ago and was on his first visit to an RAF base, said the hangar would be ‘crucial’ in ensuring the fleet that can work in many different scenarios.

He added: “It is a state of the art facility, and everything you’d expect from a country that takes defence seriously.

“Our commitment to Brize Norton has been made very clear with this investment."