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Aussie builder secures Top End contract with US

darwin afb
Top End based builder Sunbuild has secured a US $1.6 million contract with the US Dept of Defence to construct an Aircraft Maintenance Support Facility (Source Dept of Defence)

Northern Territory-based builder Sunbuild has secured a US$1.6 million contract with the US government to deliver a key aircraft maintenance support facility at RAAF Base Darwin as part of the US Force Posture Initiatives. 

The US$1.6 million ($2.16 million) project is part of the broader $2 billion joint investment in key defence infrastructure in the NT, supported by the Australian and American governments. 

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Key sites include: 

  • RAAF Base Darwin;
  • Robertson Barracks and associated training areas;
  • Kangaroo Flats Training Area;
  • RAAF Base Tindal; 
  • Mount Bundey Training Area; and
  • Bradshaw Field Training Area. 

The Aircraft Maintenance Support Facility (AMSF) project includes the construction of an Aircraft Maintenance Support Facility at RAAF Base Darwin, led by the US Naval Facilities Command Pacific (NAVFAC PAC). 

Defence Minister Marise Payne welcomed the announcement, saying, "This announcement highlights the competitiveness of Australian industry and demonstrates its ability to deliver projects to the world's most technically advanced armed forces. The Force Posture Initiatives are an important part of the Australia-United States defence relationship."

Infrastructure and facility development will be concentrated at Robertson Barracks and RAAF Bases Darwin and Tindal, as well as NT training areas and ranges.

Throughout 2018, Defence will work with the US, state and local governments, and industry networks to share and learn lessons and provide support to Australian industry to mature and grow its business capability.

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Senator for the Northern Territory Nigel Scullion said to support the growing initiatives, Australia and the US would invest around US$2 billion into existing Defence infrastructure and facilities in the Territory.

"This announcement shows that local suppliers will be successful if they meet requirements and can demonstrate value for money," he said. 

The Force Posture Initiatives includes elements of the US Marine Corps and US Air Force. The Marine Rotational Force-Darwin (MRF-D) initiative has grown in size and complexity since the first rotation of 200 US Marines in 2012. Elements of the 2018 MRF-D will include 1,587 US Marines, eight MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and an artillery battery of six M777 Howitzers.

The Enhanced Air Cooperation initiative is designed to strengthen the already close air-to-air relationship between Australia and the US and commenced in early 2017 with US Air F-22 Raptors visiting RAAF Base Tindal for three weeks of training. This has been followed by an activity in March that focused on air field damage repair training opportunities.

This initiative will develop over a number of years and result in increased rotations of US air elements through northern Australia.

Sunbuild has an established history with the Department of Defence, with the successful completion of a $3.5 million facility at the Kangaroo Flats Training Area in the late 1990s. This project provided a 150-person camp to accommodate personnel for training, and Sunbuild delivered generators, septic systems, piping bore water to head tanks, car park, kitchen, toilets, mess and admin building.

The camp also featured five training ranges including sneaker lanes, gallery range, snap range, section defence range and assault grenade range. The ranges were linked together with 8 kilometres of roads, which involved 19 floodways and a steep ridge crossing.

More information about the US Force Posture Initiative can be found here

Aussie builder secures Top End contract with US
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