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US-funded fuel facility built at RAAF Base Darwin

RAAF Base Darwin often hosts US and allied aircraft as part of Enhanced Air Cooperation or for bilateral training exercises. This November 2018 photo shows a US Air Force Boeing B-52H Stratofortress of the 96th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron. (USAF/Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

The United States has funded a new fuel facility at Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Darwin in northern Australia to support the planned deployment of US military aircraft at this location as part of Enhanced Air Cooperation (EAC) between the countries.

The new fuel facility was initially announced in a joint statement by US President Joe Biden and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on 25 October. Biden and Albanese framed the completion of a new fuel facility at RAAF Base Darwin as progress in support of “strategically significant defence announcements made at AUSMIN 2023”. They added that the new fuel facility will “support [EAC] between the United States and Australia”.

In a statement on 30 October, the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) added that construction of the new fuel facility was completed in June 2023.

“The newly completed fuel facility enhances operational capabilities and support for training exercises … and is a significant investment under the United States Force Posture Initiatives (USFPI) infrastructure programme,” the DoD said.

With a value of USD76 million, the fuel storage project was managed by United States Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command, Pacific, according to the DoD. The construction contract was awarded to Nova Nacap JV, a United States/Australian joint venture. “The project aligns with the government's response to the Defence Strategic Review (DSR) to increase preparedness, invest in our northern infrastructure network, and deliver resilient fuel solutions,” the DoD said.

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