Australia upgrades RAAF airbase at Tindal

The Australian government has announced an AUD 1.1bn upgrade to the existing royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) airbase at Tindal, located in the country´s Northern Territory, the company said.

Tindal has served as Australia´s primary northern air-power projection installation for three decades (though it has been in use on and off since 1942). Since Australia´s shift to the north for much of its military units and capabilities from the late 1980s, Tindal has been the home to Australia´s first line for its strike and reconnaissance aircraft as well as serving as host to rotational US and allied aircraft for joint exercises and steady state operations.

The upgraded base and facilities, once complete, will be the new home to elements of the RAAF´s 72 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters (the first of which are now operational) as well as hosting US long-range bombers on a rotational basis, including B-52s. The upgrades will extend existing runways to enable U.S strategic bomber operations and Australian air-to-air refueling aircraft capabilities, build new fuel facilities, and create additional housing for personnel.

The action is a step towards bettering Australia´s own air-combat capability and toward further interoperability with the United States, as well as for closer operations with emerging allies and partners like Japan and perhaps in time, India and Indonesia or South Korea.

In addition to the already allocated half a billion dollars previously committed to base upgrades (announced in Australia´s 2016 Defence White Paper), this new additional investment would bring the government´s commitment to the base to almost AUD 1.6 billion.