Assistant Minister for Defence David Fawcett has announced the construction of additional facilities to support Army's CH-47F Chinook helicopters as part of LAND 4502.
Project LAND 4502 will provide the additional facilities and infrastructure required to support the recently acquired three new CH-47F Chinook’s under LAND 4502 Phase 1 to the 5th Aviation Regiment (5 AVN REGT) precinct at RAAF Base Townsville.
Senator Fawcett said the new facilities would ensure the 5th Aviation Regiment continued to effectively support Australian Defence Force operations, training, other government tasking and humanitarian operations.
"The Chinook capability is critical to supporting Australians, both in the field and at home. This was highlighted by the recent mobilisation of the 5th Aviation Regiment to support the Townsville flood relief effort by flying fuel to remote refuelling stations," Senator Fawcett explained.
The 5th Aviation Regiment Precinct is positioned within the 'Operational Support Zone' and 'Operational Zone' of RAAF Base Townsville. The proposed development is situated on a brownfield site within the existing precinct at RAAF Base Townsville and provides new fit-for-purpose facilities to enhance the operational capability and supports functional requirements of the unit’s existing facilities. The proposed development is consistent with current use and the RAAF Base Townsville Zone Plan.
The Army's CH-47F Chinook is a a versatile, twin-engine, tandem rotor heavy-lift helicopter. Its top speed of 170 knots (315km/h) is faster than many contemporary utility and attack helicopters.
The Chinook's primary roles include troop movement, artillery emplacement and battlefield resupply. There is a wide loading ramp at the rear of the fuselage and three external-cargo hooks underneath. With more powerful engines, larger composite rotor blades and advanced avionics systems, the latest Chinook is faster than many attack helicopters.
"Through the successful implementation of the Local Industry Capability Plan, previous Chinook infrastructure projects at RAAF Base Townsville injected around $33 million into the local economy, with 76 per cent of subcontract packages being awarded to businesses within a 50-kilometre radius of RAAF Base Townsville," Senator Fawcett added.
Northern Queensland-based senator Ian Macdonald said the government was committed to ensuring that the ADF was well equipped to perform their operations.
"This project will ensure that the ADF is best equipped to go about its duties, whether operationally, in training or providing humanitarian support as we have seen recently in the north Queensland floods," Senator Macdonald added.