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Australia upgrades airstrip for joint training operations

The enhancement of the Nackeroo Airstrip will allow Australia and the United States to land numbers of Boeing C-17As and Bell Boeing MV-22s at the site. (Commonwealth of Australia)

Australia's Nackeroo Airstrip has been upgraded to support the operations of large transport aircraft for training exercises, the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has said.

Nackeroo Airstrip is located within Australia's Bradshaw Field Training Area in the Northern Territory. The Australian DoD said on 31 May that upgrades to the airstrip include the “extension of the runway and adding parking positions for aircraft, including [Boeing] C-17A Globemaster and [Bell Boeing] MV-22 Osprey aircraft”.

Satellite imagery from April 2021 shows that Nackeroo initially comprised a 1,700 m-long dirt strip. DoD photographs from May 2024 show that the runway area has now been concertised with a 500 m-wide apron. Janes assesses that this apron supports the parking of up to 10 MV-22s or six C-17As at a time.

“Australia and the United States will now have greater training opportunities in Northern Australia,” the DoD said, adding that the airstrip “will increase the capacity and capability for Australia and the United States, as part of our force posture co-operation, to conduct enhanced land and air operations out of the Bradshaw Field Training Area”.

Janes assesses that Australian companies were involved in the upgrade project. One company, Coffey Testing, said on its website that it provided soil and concrete testing services for the project. According to the company, the lengthening of the runway also included strengthening to allow “C-17s to take off at an increased weight”.

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