AN immense exhibition tower is set to become an “iconic” centre piece for the Royal Air Force in Colindale, if newly unveiled plans are approved.

The proposed 350ft (116-metre) high monument would house an exhibition dedicated to the Battle of Britain and would be built on the site of the RAF museum, in Grahame Park Way.

As a beacon shaped structure, it would eclipse Big Ben and New York's Statue of Liberty, and would be designed to mark the “collective endeavour of the British people” over the period the defining air battle in 1940.

The £85 million project will be constructed out of steel and glass, and will feature aircraft suspended from the clear ceiling as well as interactive educational facilities and artefacts from the period.

Air Vice-Marshal Peter Dye, the museum’s newly appointed director-general, said the external aspects of the “innovative” design are meant to represent the sky over London in 1940 with the theme of contrails, while the exhibits will encapsulate the spirit that came out of the conflict.

He said: “We're not talking about a memorial here as much as it is a statement of what is important to the nation, to the RAF, and why the values of 1940 continue to be significant.

“It is not just about telling that story, which should not be forgotten. It's not just about doing honour to the veterans, it's about actually why it continues to be important, and therefore the education aspect is fundamental to the project.

“It will represent the values that have an enduring relevance as we realise the Battle of Britain had an enduring impact across the world.”

Mr Dye hopes the building will become as iconic for the RAF as Nelson's Column is for the Navy, and stand as a landmark that will put the Colindale area of the borough on the international map.

The aim is to complete the development by the time of the RAF's 75th anniversary celebrations, five years from now, to ensure it is opened in the lifetime of some of the remaining veterans of the conflict.

“We want to do this now because the number of veterans is rapidly diminishing,” said Mr Dye.

“We really believe the time is right to create a building that celebrates commemorates and educates.

“For the Royal Air Force, as it approaches its centenary I think there is a recognition that the Battle of Britain is not just important to the nation and to the outcome of the Second World War, it is very important in terms of defining the spirit of the Air Force.

“For the RAF it is going to be an extremely important building and the RAF is hugely supportive of the concept.”

The museum is consulting on the plans and expects to raise the funds through private investors.