The $90 million contract will include a new hangar, supplementary infrastructure and maintenance equipment to support the rollout of the AIR 7000 Phase 2B (Maritime Patrol Aircraft Replacement) project.
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The contract comes as part of the government's $5.2 billion investment in the country's Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft, which aims to phase out Australia's ageing fleet of P-3C Orions by early 2024. The Darwin upgrades are slated for completion in late 2021, which would add significant capability to RAAF north-facing surveillance capability at a relatively early stage of the broader project. Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price also spoke in favour of the economic boosts provided by the upgrades.
“The P-8A Poseidon capability enhances Australia’s maritime domain awareness of the Indian Ocean region and southern Asia," she said.
“The project will provide direct benefits to the Darwin economy by prioritising local suppliers and creating local employment opportunities for the duration of the works.”
Sitzler, which is also based in the Top End, has committed to maximising local industry engagement on this project, citing a target rate of 100 per cent. NT senator Dr Sam McMahon agreed that the investment would provide a welcome employment boost for the region, saying, “The project will create 230 local jobs for Territorians during the construction phase, plus further benefits for local businesses and suppliers."
The works to be delivered under the contract will include:
- An extension to the military hardstand;
- New apron hardstand;
- New fuel hydrant line extension;
- New aircraft rinse facility;
- New and relocated floodlighting towers;
- Flexible and rigid pavements;
- Aeronautical ground lighting;
- Below ground services and infrastructure including high voltage; and