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Second USAF facility planned in northern Australia

The site of the planned USAF squadron operations centre at RAAF Base Darwin. (ESRI/Janes)

A United States-Australia infrastructure development plan to support the deployment of United States Air Force (USAF) aircraft in Australia has officially extended to two locations across the country's Northern Territory.

A US government contracting document from July 2023 states that a “United States Air Force squadron operations facility” will be set up at the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) base in Darwin. Janes earlier reported on a programme in 2022 to develop a US “squadron operations facility” and other infrastructure at RAAF Base Tindal in Australia's Northern Territory.

An appropriation request of USD26 million has been made for the new operations facility at RAAF Base Darwin, according to a US Department of the Air Force budgeting document for military construction for fiscal year (FY) 2024. This document was made public in March 2023.

Schematic documents show that the new facility has a floor space of about 648 m 2 and is to be built on the southern side of the airbase. “Space is required for aircrew flight equipment maintenance and care, mission planning, intelligence, crew briefings, crew readiness, and incidental related work,” the contracting document states.

The US Department of Defense (DoD) did not comment on the status of the broad US infrastructure projects in Australia or how the new squadron operations facility would be used. A DoD spokesperson told Janes that Washington is engaging with Australia on airbase developments following the 33rd Australia-US Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) held on 29 July at Brisbane.

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