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Australia to redeploy 1st Aviation Regiment to Townsville

Australia will likely use the AH-64E Apaches with its Canberra-class Landing Helicopter Docks. In this photo, a US Army AH-64E lands on HMAS Canberra during a training activity at Sydney in February 2023. (Commonwealth of Australia)

The Australian government has announced plans to redeploy the army's 1st Aviation Regiment to Townsville and support the unit with infrastructural improvements at the new site.

The 1st Aviation Regiment is set to be equipped with the 29 new Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters ordered by Canberra in 2023. The Apaches will be based at Townsville from 2025, the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) said.

Janes understands the army’s 1st Aviation Regiment will commence relocating from Darwin to Townsville from early 2025, in advance of AH-64E Apache aircraft deliveries commencing. This relocation will be incremental.

According to Janes data, the 1st Aviation Regiment is currently based at Robertson Barracks, Holtze, in the country's Northern Territory. The redeployment of the unit to Townsville, 1,850 km southeast of Holtze, is part of Australia's plan to “posture the majority” of its battlefield aviation assets at Townsville to enhance the “country's air-mobile capability”. This aligns with the findings of Australia's 2023 Defence Strategic Review (DSR).

“The relocation of the 1st Aviation Regiment to Townsville will help defence sustain the new Apache helicopters more efficiently and effectively and will mean more high-skilled, secure jobs in Townsville,” Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy said in a statement on 1 July.

The Australian government said it is investing AUD700 million (USD467.92 million) for new infrastructure at Townsville to support the deployment.

Janes understands the investment will accommodate the 1st Aviation Regiment and meet AH-64E Apache-specific requirements. The facilities in Townsville will include working accommodation, aircraft storage, and maintenance facilities. It will comprise new construction and upgrades to existing infrastructure.

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