The Australian federal government has announced a $4 million critical infrastructure upgrade at Defence’s largest operational air base, Royal Australian Air Force Base Amberley near Ipswich in Queensland.
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The $4 million investment will support Royal Australian Air Force’s F/A-18F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler fleets currently stationed at Amberley, with upgrades to an external fuel tank workshop, communications support works, electrical repairs, and maintenance works.
Assistant Minister for Defence Matt Thistlethwaite said the funding, announced on 10 January, will support Australia’s air combat capability.
“The Albanese government recognises that our Defence sites must be equipped to meet operational and capability requirements, now and in the future,” he said.
“These projects, to be delivered by local businesses, will create opportunities in the trades and construction industries and deliver over 100 jobs.
“We will continue to invest in foundational estate and infrastructure, which is critical to the capacity of our Defence Force to keep Australians safe.”
The upgrades are designed to ensure the Australian Defence Force has modern, fit-for-purpose facilities and infrastructure in place to support its critical capabilities essential to keeping Australians safe, he said.
Work at RAAF Base Amberley is expected to support fuel quality testing for the Hornet and Growler fleets, as well as upgrade electrical infrastructure and deliver base infrastructure in support of deployable ICT communications equipment.
Works are already underway and have been announced to create more than 100 Queensland jobs, providing opportunities for local trades, construction, other businesses and promote the participation of Indigenous companies.
In late 2022, Commander of United States military forces in the Indo-Pacific, Admiral John C Aquilino, visited RAAF Base Amberley as part of the 24th annual Indo-Pacific Chiefs of Defense (CHODs) conference in that year.
The commander has met with senior RAAF representatives, discussing joint training initiatives between Australia and the United States.
ADM Aquilino met with Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) leadership, including Air Commodore David Paddison CSC, Commander of Combat Support Group.
The commander also visited locally stationed US personnel from the 509th Bomb Wing, deployed to Australia as part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation (EAC) program.
The EAC initiative commenced in February 2017, aimed at enhancing joint air exercises and training activities to deepen advanced air-to-air integration between the Australian Defence Force and US air elements.
The initiative also serves to facilitate opportunities for engagement with other regional partner air forces.
The EAC initiative forms part of the United States Force Posture Initiatives.